Lifestyle Tips for Nurses: Staying Healthy and Improving Your Future

As a professional nurse, it is very difficult to have enough free time to pursue or even care about other things than the job itself. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just that you can’t find time for any of that!

This is especially true when you are starting out or if you work in emergency care, but in a general nurse’s career, free time is an extremely rare commodity. Unfortunately, but quite expectedly, that neglect towards personal life often has serious consequences on health, relationships, and even the future career prospects of a nursing professional as well.

How Losing Personal Time has Negative Effects

While that time is certainly well spent since it goes towards the care of patients who need it the most, the constant lack of time for one’s own self can create a whole range of issues for a nurse’s personal life. Unless they are mindful, it is perfectly possible for a nursing professional to fall sick or lose their health due to the physical and mental stress of working through ungodly hours for a prolonged period of time.

Then, of course, there is the question of not having any time left for pursuing hobbies, interests, relationships and even better career opportunities. If you can relate to everything we discussed, then you possibly have even more to add to this list! It is for that reason we recommend going through the following tips, where we discuss how even busy nurses can lead a healthier lifestyle and improve their quality of life in the process.

Use Your Own Knowledge to Maintain Your Own Health

You already know what’s good for you, so why not use the same advice you give others, and apply it in your own life as well? After all, it’s sound advice from a registered medical professional, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t listen to you!

It is easier said than done, obviously, due to the reasons already discussed, but when you have the knowledge and experience already embedded in your brain, it’s so much easier to create that routine which doesn’t let you go hungry long enough for the stomach acids to create an ulcer, without putting too much thought into it.

This applies to diet, sleep, exercise, and every other aspect of leading a healthy life. Always keep the requirements of your body in mind, just like you are trained to, but do it for yourself too. Consider yourself to be someone under your care and you will find time to do at least the bare minimum required to stay fit and healthy even while being super busy.

Consider Higher Education Online for Creating a Better Life

If you are a registered nurse with a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), you are probably not doing so poorly on the financial front, but there’s potential to do so much better here.

As already discussed, one of the primary impediments to this goal is a lack of time, and when you can’t find enough time to eat properly on most days, how will you find the time to study for that degree which will lead to that theoretical better life?

It would not even be fair to ask a full-time nurse whether she has enough time on her hands to attend a full-time course because she clearly doesn’t. Short of leaving the job, there is no possible way for her to maintain the nursing job, as well as study for an MSN or Doctorate in the traditional way. Therefore, the answer to that question lies in online or part time nursing programs, and there are plenty of excellent, flexible options out there for working nurses to take advantage of these days.

Provided you already have two-year’ experience, a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, a 3.0 GPA and an active nursing license, the Louise Herrington School of Nursing Online has multiple, advanced courses for you to choose from. All of the Baylor University nursing programs are CCNE Accredited and universally accepted training courses that can be completed under a schedule which adapts to your own, rather than being the other way around.

The online Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Program from Baylor University comes highly recommended if you already have the necessary qualifications discussed above. Not only is it flexible and doesn’t require the students to sit for their GRE or GMAT, but the CCNE Accredited program will open doors to careers with advanced job roles, autonomy, and significantly higher pay scales as well.

Busy nurses will no longer have to give up on their work experience or the salary from their current jobs while completing the Doctor of Nursing Practice Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (DNP NNP) course from Baylor online. It will prepare them for a better future and a lifestyle that doesn’t involve getting eighty hours or more in every week, under tremendously stressful environments.

Once a nurse has her Neonatal Nurse Practitioner’s degree, she will be eligible to sit for the NNP licensing examination, conducted by the National Certification Corporation for Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing Specialties (NCC). The license instantly grants nurses access to advanced career paths in research, assuming administrative roles in healthcare facilities or joining neonatal ICU units to improve and aid in caring for the infants who need the most help.

As the higher education will open up better and more rewarding career paths, you can expect to have more money and time on your hands than before, although the responsibilities will increase. To put a number on what a nurse with an NNP degree and practicing license can expect to earn is possible now, thanks to countrywide surveys.

According to PayScale, the average annual salary of a neonatal nurse practitioner is $98,559, as of May 2019. Additional bonuses of the neonatal nurse practitioner come to an average of $3,052 and profit shares account for $6,000 per year; both of which are income figures that come on top of the aforementioned average salary, putting the total median income of the NNP well above the $100,000 per year mark.

It is to be noted that even the NNPs who work for the minimum salaries expected by a neonatal nurse practitioner earn almost $80k annually, excluding the bonuses and the profit shares.

The highest earning nurses with NNP certification, on the other hand, are among the top-earning medical professionals in the nation, with their yearly income exceeding the $121k mark with ease and without even factoring in the shares in profit and bonus money received. Looking at these figures, it would be safe to state that finishing an online neonatal nurse practitioner program can definitely help nurses to build a better life for themselves and their families, in addition to the tremendous career prospects.

Give Up on Procrastination

Procrastination isn’t anything that’s exclusive to nurses, mind you, but a problem which is often observed in extremely busy individuals who work long hours. This, of course, seems very strange initially, given that nurses have to work so hard and in such emergency conditions all the time. However, pressure and stress are the reasons responsible for procrastinating behavior outside work.

Due to the excess pressure which nurses undertake, or rather have to undertake at times, they can develop a tendency to delay what can be delayed immediately and indefinitely.

What this means is that when you have already worked so hard for the first half of the day, it is easy to give up on your fitness, health, and educational goals on returning home. It is so much easier to watch TV on the couch instead that most of us often end up doing so.

Procrastinating that specialized nursing degree that you know will help your career and future life is a bad choice, but you might be doing it right now. The same goes for putting off the jog for tomorrow and the healthy new diet for next week. You already have the knowledge and understanding of what you need to do to maintain your health and improve your career, but are you taking steps towards it or are you procrastinating?

Procrastination is a serious issue that plagues a lot of people and realization is the very first step towards solving that problem. The following few tips could just help you shake off this strangely addictive tendency that is setting you back in life.

  • Break up your daily goals in multiple little steps and tasks
  • Set deadlines in your routine for every task on a daily basis
  • Set up multiple alarms throughout the day to remind you of the various tasks you need to complete within each preset deadline
  • Tell someone close to you to check up on you about meeting those daily deadlines frequently
  • Use peer pressure to your advantage by looking at the achievements of other nurses who are already there
  • Involve the reward and punishment strategy to motivate your subconscious mind
  • Break a small habit you want to break, and stay on it forcibly for just one or two weeks
  • Concentrate on the rewards associated with each little daily success

This is not to say that as a nurse, you procrastinate in your professional duties, of course, but that extreme diligence towards the immediate professional goals might actually be making you relax and subconsciously procrastinate over more personal goals and objectives. Pressure does need an outlet though, which leads us to our next point.

Release Stress

It is just so important to release stress when you are dealing with blood, gore, pain, and death on every single workday. Without that stress release, you cannot just go on over a long period of time and hope to remain sane!

How you choose to release that stress is totally up to you and the kind of person you are, rather than depending on your professional expertise. In general, though, exercise is a great way to bust stress, stay fit and take a break from it all simultaneously.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean lifting weights in the gym, jogging, running on the treadmill or even going to a traditional gym at all. Any and all form of exercise which you like and makes you work up a sweat is just fine, be it martial arts or even a walk in the park.

It takes time though, which you are in short supply of as a nurse, so aside from the after hours or weekend exercise routine, you need immediate stressbusters as well.

The following activities are proven ways to help you release stress in between work or during breaks, without taking more than a few minutes at a time. They may not all appeal or apply to you, but the ones that do will definitely help.

  • Gaming on your smartphone or a portable console for a few minutes can lower your stress and clear mind immediately after
  • A fast chat with a work buddy or a call back home can take your mind off things and reduce stress accumulation
  • A quick hot/cold (depending on the weather) shower also reduces tension
  • Nurses are no stranger to breathing exercises, so it is time to put that knowledge to use
  • Watch a short, funny YouTube video on your phone to laugh and let go of tension
  • Meditate and breathe deeply for just five minutes
  • Catch up on some sleep by taking power naps

The path of the medical professional is not easy, but it’s a rewarding one for both moral and more materialistic reasons. However, that can only be true if the medical professional actually feels that way, instead of thinking that’s how she SHOULD feel.

Everything we just discussed was geared towards helping nurses lead a better, more fulfilling and productive life, which actively breaks the monotony of everyday work and sketches out a path towards a prosperous future ahead. Inspiration and motivation come naturally when you are healthy, mentally/physically recharged and objective-oriented on a daily basis. To achieve that though, a bigger goal must always be on the horizon, which in a nurse’s case, would have to be higher education and consequentially better career prospects.

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