3 Helpful Tips For Parents Working The Night Shift

3 Helpful Tips For Parents Working The Night Shift

*This post may contain affiliate links.  You can find our disclosure page here.  

Written by Adela Ellis, RN, BSN

Working the night shift is never easy.   Add a kid or two into the mix and it becomes even that much more difficult.

Life can be challenging for working parents, even in the best of circumstances and working night shifts is no exception.  Raising kids when you are sleep deprived is challenging at best, and it’s often challenging to find someone who can take care of your children while you’re on the clock.

There are perks, though. For example, nurses are usually paid more per hour when they work nights instead of days, and working nights means that you’ll have more time to spend with your family during the day.  There is even some evidence that working the night shift can benefit the parent-child relationship.

Plus, the lines at the grocery store tend to be really short first thing in the morning when night shift workers are heading home. 

If you are a parent and you are struggling with how to make working the night shift work, you’ve come to the right place.  Keep scrolling to discover three tips for parents working the night shift.

Night Shift Nurse Tip #1:  Prioritize Self-Care

Woman Running

Night shift nurse tip #1: prioritize self-care

As a parent, you probably put your kids’ needs ahead of your own pretty much all the time. But it’s important to remember that you need to take care of yourself too.  Self-care is important for everyone, and it is even more important for nurses who work the night shift.

Working the night shift can take a serious toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

As humans, we are naturally programmed to be awake during the day and asleep at night. Working the night shift means fighting against one of your body’s most basic instincts, and it’s not easy.

To minimize the negative effects of working nights, you need to make self-care a priority.  Make sure you get plenty of sleep each day, maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and pamper yourself once in a while.

Set boundaries with family members (including your children) to ensure that you are able to get the rest you need. Don’t feel guilty about saying “no” to afternoon playdates if you need to sleep. If you want to be the best version of yourself, both at home and at work, you need to make taking care of yourself a top priority.

Even choosing the right clothing to wear to work can be a part of your self-care. Invest in quality scrubs that you will feel great wearing. Keep in mind that you’re likely to get chilly during the night and make sure you have a few nice scrub jackets in your closet. Invest in high-quality nursing shoes that won’t leave you feeling fatigued just a few hours into your shift. When you feel your best in cute nurse scrubs and comfy footwear, it’s a lot easier to make it through your shift with a smile on your face.

Additional recommended reading:  

Night Shift Nurse Tip #2:  Find an Amazing Babysitter

babysitter taking care of kids for night shift working mom

Tip #2 for working the night shift with a family: find an amazing babysitter

If you and your partner work opposite shifts, having someone to watch the kids while you are at work might not be a problem. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you won’t need someone to watch them during the day too. You may get home first thing in the morning and not need to return to work until later that night, but you need that time to get some rest. 

Plenty of parents think that they can work at night and take naps throughout the day when the kids are asleep, but that very rarely works out. You might not need a sitter if your kids are in school during the day, but, if you have little ones at home, a good sitter is a must.

Find someone that you can depend on to watch your kids on a consistent schedule. You need between seven and nine hours of sleep each day (roughly), so make sure you choose a sitter who is available for enough hours each day to enable you to get some much-needed sleep. Consider sending your kids to daycare or choosing a sitter who can watch them in their home. This will help minimize the noise in your home and allow you to rest without worrying about why your little one is crying or being woken up by random noises throughout the day.

Night Shift Nurse Tip #3:  Learn to Embrace the Night Shift

Nurse working the night shift and smiling

Working night shift with a family tip #3: embrace the night shift

For most parents, one of the hardest parts of working the night shift is knowing that you’ll have to miss out on things like family get-togethers and school events. A big part of your kids’ lives will happen when you are asleep, and that can be a really tough thing to accept. If you want to successfully navigate working the night shift as a parent, though, you are going to have to learn how to embrace it.

Instead of thinking about the negatives, consider the positives. You’ll make more money and be able to pay off debt faster or surprise your kids with special treats. You’ll get to provide better care for your patients and build stronger relationships with your coworkers.

In addition, you won’t have to deal with things like grocery shopping during the hours when most of the world is awake. Your nonstandard schedule may even enable you to spend more time with your kids.

The Bottom Line For Parents Working The Night Shift

As a parent, you want what’s best for your kids. Often, that means doing things that you don’t really want to do––like working the night shift––in order to provide a better life for them. Working nights isn’t always easy, but there are things that you can do to face the challenges head-on and be a great employee and parent. Use the tips listed above to make life as a night-shift working parent happier and healthier for you.

Additional recommended reading: 

About the author:   Adela Ellis is a full-time nurse and part-time ambassador for Infinity Scrubs. Adela attended the University of Arizona and has been a travel nurse for the last 6 years. She enjoys working with different doctors, nurses, and patients from all over the country and blogging about her experiences. In her free time, she loves true-crime podcasts and cooking for friends and family. 

Laundry Room Safety For Grandparents With Dementia

Laundry Room Safety For Grandparents With Dementia

*This post is sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute to help educate people about the importance of laundry safety, including the proper storage and handling of liquid laundry packets. You can find our disclosure page here.

Safety Throughout the Home: Caring for Older Adults

There is nothing better than watching my children play with their grandparents. We just spent a fun-filled week visiting family in Sacramento, and my 4-year-old daughter has asked at least a dozen times when she gets to see Grandma and Papa again.

And (not surprisingly) she has already started planning for their visit to see us over the holiday season. 

But Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and with the holidays approaching things will start to get even busier.

Laundry room safety for adults with dementia

The holidays are right around the corner.

It is so easy to get overwhelmed as a busy mom who is trying to hold down the fort at home and plan for the holidays. Trust me, I get it. My life feels like an earthquake at times as a busy ER nurse and mom with two toddlers.

That is why I think there is an aspect of safety-proofing the home that often gets overlooked – keeping the home safety-proofed for older family members with dementia or other cognitive decline. 

Especially when it’s something you aren’t used to doing or in the habit of preparing for.

Dementia is a serious issue among older adults.

A recent study estimated that 8.8 % of adults aged 65 and older in the United States had dementia in 2012. That corresponds to about 3.65 million people!

Seeing a loved one with dementia is one of the hardest things you can face. In fact, it has been so hard for me to watch my own Dad, who I have always viewed as a powerful figure, succumb to poor health.

I understand it is my responsibility to keep him safe. And by not accepting his situation as it is, I could make it worse. Which is why when you have older family members with memory loss or confusion, it is so important not to forget to safety-proof the laundry room!

 It really does seem that the laundry room just doesn’t get as much love when it comes to safety-proofing, and I really want to change that.

laundry room safety

It is important to safety proof the laundry room for adults with dementia. Packets UP!

 Proper laundry room safety.

In my own experience as an emergency room nurse I have witnessed what can happen when confused adults  experience accidental exposures. It is always horribly scary for them, and in every instance, completely preventable.

And every time it happens, both the patient and the family are devastated. They didn’t think that their loved ones were confused enough to accidentally ingest a cleaning product.

But just like we baby-proof our homes for our kids, adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s need to be protected as well.

Because adults suffering from dementia and other cognitive disabilities can get confused easily and accidents can happen in an instant.

Accidental exposure to liquid laundry packets can be prevented by taking a few simple steps to ensure they are used and stored safely. 

Safety is always the #1 goal (because you don’t think something can happen…until it does)

As a busy mother, I understand how easy it is to forget to safety-proof your home. But if you take a few simple steps and have systems in place that will prevent accidents from happening, you can keep your family safe.

After all, most accidents that bring our family members to the emergency room can be prevented and avoided altogether.

So in honor of my desire to encourage families to take an active stance in safety-proofing their homes, my #1 safety message this year is to encourage parents to put their Packets UP!

Simple caregiver safety tips in the laundry room

Step #1: Keep laundry packets out of reach

If you are caring for an individual who shows the signs or symptoms of dementia, make sure all cleaning products, including liquid laundry packets, are stored in a locked cabinet or a closet. 

If you don’t have a cabinet available, place liquid laundry packets (in the original packaging) into a larger bin with other laundry and household products and put it up high where those at risk won’t be able to see or reach them. 

Step #2:  Keep laundry packets out of site

While clear or glass jars can be a creative way to display household items, storing liquid laundry packets visibly in these jars could be confusing for adults with memory impairments. Keep liquid laundry packets tightly secured in their original packaging, stored up and out of reach. 

Tip:  If you have other family at home, teach them that they need to let you know immediately if they see any liquid laundry packets out.

Step #3:  Separate laundry packets from groceries

When purchasing liquid laundry packets and other household cleaners from the store, have them bagged separately and put them away in their designated safe storage spot – out of sight and out of reach – as soon as you get home as you unpack your groceries. 

Step #4:  Make safety checks a priority

Conduct routine safety checks in the home to prevent accidents.

Tips:  Consider ordering a free reminder cling from PacketsUp.com. Hang this sticker in the laundry room to remind yourself to check your laundry packets and make sure they are stored properly and out of children’s reach.  If you have a housekeeper or someone else who does the laundry, have a conversation with them about how important it is that they also follow your laundry room safety rules.

Laundry room safety for adults with dementia

If a liquid laundry packet is ingested:

Call the Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222) immediately if a liquid laundry packet is ingested. 

In conclusion

I hope this messaging helps others understand how important it is to practice laundry safety when family with dementia are visiting, including properly storing and handling liquid laundry packets.

Let’s have ZERO accidental laundry product exposures this and every year. Safety first!!

Remember these key laundry packet safety points:

  • It is so important to store liquid laundry packets up high and out of sight and reach.
  • Don’t forget to completely close and seal liquid laundry packet containers after use.
  • Finally, always store liquid laundry packets in their original containers.

Additional caregiver resources:

For more information about the Packets Up campaign:

Visit packetsup.com for more information and tools to help you prevent exposures from liquid laundry packets.

You can also join the conversation: follow #PacketsUp for the latest laundry room safety tips and information.

Order a free cling and put it on your cabinet as a safe storage reminder.

Happy holidays and stay safe!

Should Men Get Paternity Leave From Work?

Should Men Get Paternity Leave From Work?

Should men get paternity leave from work?

When my second child was born in 2018 my husband was back at work within a few days.

He had accepted a new position only a few months earlier that required longer hours and a lot more responsibility.  As the manager of a new team of employees his presence in the office was important.  And like most new dads in the United States, he didn’t have the option of taking paternity leave.

As a result, very soon after a difficult c-section recovery that resulted in me needing 4 blood transfusions and a whole lot of stress, I was back home taking care of an active 2 year-old-toddler and a new baby boy.  Alone most of the time, and unfortunately without any family around to help out.

Many new mothers in the United States are by themselves within a day or two after birth

Mother holding newborn baby

Many moms are home alone within only a few days of giving birth.

In the fuzzy days after a new baby’s arrival, many women struggle with a lack of support in the home.  This happens at the exact same time they are struggling with both extreme sleep deprivation, and the physical recovery of childbirth.   

Not to mention, many parents have additional children who need more attention than ever.  This leaves new moms exposed and vulnerable to illness, both physically and mentally.

It is well known that the US is only one of four countries in the world, and the only developed country, that doesn’t offer maternity leave.  It therefore isn’t shocking to hear that paternity leave is way out of the question for most new parents. 

Not only are women dealing with the overwhelming events that come with new motherhood: sleep deprivation, round-the-clock feedings, and constant care giving – but many moms, like myself, end up going back to work before they are ready because they are out of work for so long without pay.

When I did go back to work I was a zombie.  A happy, grateful zombie.  But nonetheless, a sleep-deprived, worn-out zombie.

(I consider myself lucky that I could afford to stay home with our son for as long as I did.  As a per diem nurse I don’t receive any benefits at all, including paid time off before or after childbirth).

Arguments for paternity leave and how it may actually improve mom’s health

Dad with baby on paternity leave

Can paternity leave be beneficial for the whole family?

In 2012, Sweden passed a law that allows fathers to take up to 30 days off in the year after a birth, while mom is still on maternity leave. 

Researchers at Stanford studied the effects of this law and found that there was a 26 percent decrease in anti-anxiety prescriptions compared with moms who gave birth right before the law was passed. 

In addition, there was an 11 percent decrease in antibiotic prescriptions and a 14 percent reduction in hospitalizations and visits by these mothers to the doctor’s office.

The research found that paternity leave actually improved moms’ health.  In addition, it even showed that by having dad at home for even a few days to a week after childbirth there were significant postpartum benefits for mothers.

Additional benefits to fathers taking time off for birth

Involved dads help children flourish

Paternity leave can strengthen the father/baby bond, even if leave is for a short time.  

Aside from this study, there are several other strong arguments for taking paternity leave

In fact, evidence is showing that dads who are able to take an early hands-on role in their babies’ lives are even more likely to be more involved in their lives for many years to come.  It seems that when dads get an early opportunity to bond and connect on a deeper level kids reap the benefits of paternal connection in the very early years.

Many new dads find themselves in a paternity-leave pickle

Health wise, the benefits of paternity leave makes sense for the whole family.  But what if dad is afraid of taking paternity leave due to fear of negative judgement or missing out on a potential promotion?

Unfortunately, many new dads feel there is a stigma attached to the idea actually taking time off with a new baby.  In fact, I know a dad whose company offered 4 weeks of paternity leave but didn’t take it because he felt “guilty” for missing work.

Is it possible to make that decision a little easier for dads to make without retribution from the workplace?

More attention needs to be given to new mothers after coming home from the hospital

mother at home with new baby

Paternity leave can help mothers manage post natal depression and recovery from childbirth.

Even a short paternity leave could be a helpful solution to the isolation many new moms feel postpartum.   After leaving the hospital, there is little attention focused on the day or two later when mom gets back home and into the new realities of motherhood. 

Healthcare in America is astronomically expensive compared to, pretty much the rest of the world .  

It would be interesting to see what amazing things might happen if all new dads took 30 days of paternity leave to spend at home with their families to bond.  Would it make a dent in the money we spend on postpartum healthcare for mothers?  

Sweden’s experience seems to suggest it would.

What you think paternity leave would do for your family?  Do you have an argument for or against paternity leave?

Additional recommended reading by Mother Nurse Love

Why Paternity Leave Is So Good For Moms

My 6 Biggest Nursing Career Fears As An Experienced RN

My 6 Biggest Nursing Career Fears As An Experienced RN

I recently wrote an article about my #1 biggest nursing career fear.

It was a hard post to write.  It brought up a lot of emotions for me, but also helped clarify new career goals that I needed to set for myself.

At first glance, it may seem to some that I did that to torture myself.  But there was a method to my madness.

I recently began a comprehensive writing and website development course that will take me at least 12 months to complete.  And one of my first assignments was to write about a significant fear that I have that pertains to my current writing niche.

As a nurse mom blogger who writes about finding ways to help nurses take better care of themselves, I put a lot of thought into this.  And I have concluded that one of the ways I want to take better care of myself is to NOT work as a floor nurse for my entire career.

Unfortunately, the wear-and-tear is starting to break me down.  I am afraid that what was once a cerebral challenge is beginning to turn into full-fledged irreparable nurse burnout.

Never let feat decide your fu

Never let your fear decide your future:  my 2021 nursing career fear mantra

As a nurse blogger who frequently blogs specifically about the topic of nurse burnout, I have worked very hard to find solutions for my exhaustion.

My #1 reason for starting a website was to create an outlet for my own overwhelm and fatigue as a nurse and new mom.

Over the last two years, I have spent nearly every minute of my free time researching and exploring possible solutions for these struggles.  Then I write it all out clearly as I can with the hope that I can help myself and (hopefully) other nurse moms in my position.

And voila, it works!  For a while, anyway.

But, sadly, I eventually find myself feeling burned out again.

So, in the spirit of continuing the blogging assignment I mentioned earlier, I am going to dive in and open up about all of my fears about my nursing career.

It saddens me to think that I may not be a direct patient care nurse for much longer.  The healthcare system needs great nurses. But I will always be a nurse, and as I like to say, a nursing practice can take many forms.

My biggest fears as a bedside nurse:

#1.  I fear physical injuries from years of nursing.

nurse neck injury

Nursing career fear #1:  physical injuries on the job

There is alarming evidence now that even proper lifting techniques expose nurses’ spines to dangerous forces.

Also, chronic back pain in the nursing population is a common ailment. An evidenced-based review at the Texas Women’s University reported that estimates of chronic low back pain among nurses range from 50%-80%.

Many non-nursing professionals may be alarmed to hear that after only seven years as a bedside nurse, I am already feeling the wear-and-tear of being on my feet all day.  I already have chronic back pain.  My legs and feet ache for days after a 12-hour shift.

I do a lot of yoga as a preventative measure, and it helps tremendously.  But as soon as I have another busy shift with a heavy patient load, the pain returns.  Especially when I work with total-care patients.

#2.  I fear a life of burnout and constant exhaustion.

Nurse tired sitting in hospital hallway

Nursing career fear #2:  years of chronic exhaustion

I have written many times about my fatigue as a nurse and have even come up with several solutions to beat my nurse burnout (at least temporarily).  But if I’m being honest, the only way I even recover from burnout is just not to work at all.  It is incredible how much better l feel after stepping away from bedside nursing for a week.

Admittedly, I have created a few of my own unhealthy habits to cope with my nursing career.  This is why one of my goals this year is to start taking simple steps to help keep my stress in check so that I don’t end up becoming a patient myself.

I realize now more than ever that, to care for others, I must take care of myself first.   And the only proven way I have been able to do that thus far is to step away from the bedside and practice nursing in a different realm.

#3.  I fear verbal abuse and violence.

Stop violence against nurses

Nursing career fear #3: violence against nurses in the workplace

Abuse against nurses is prevalent.  Nurses are expected to put up with levels of abuse that would NEVER be acceptable in any other professional setting.  I have been cussed at more times than I can count, in just about every colorful way you could imagine, for just doing my job.  And guess what?  Not one single abusive patient or family member as EVER been asked to leave the hospital.  Sadly, it appears that nurse abuse is acceptable and that nurses must deal with it as a part of the job.

Here is a recent example:  I had a patient verbally assault me in the vilest way possible when I brought them their scheduled life-saving anti-rejection medicines.  I explained that I was there to help them, and calmly asked the patient several times to stop using vulgar language at me.  Finally, I told them I would find them a different nurse and left the room.

Tearfully, I told my charge nurse, who supported me and assigned the patient a different RN.  I found out later that the patient was so offended that I refused to be their nurse, that they filed a complaint against me.  I also found out later that there were several other nurses in the days prior who had been putting up with the same verbal abuse.

Even worse, violence against nurses is prevalent (especially emergency room nurses), and it usually isn’t even routinely tracked.  I have been lucky not to find myself the victim of direct physical violence as a nurse as of yet.  Many nurses have not been so not fortunate.

#4.  I fear not having more earning potential.

To do list; make more money

Nursing career fear #4: not reaching a higher earning potential

Working for an hourly wage kind of sucks.  I am very driven, and I have a great work ethic.  But no matter how hard I work as a nurse, I’m just not going to make any higher (or lower) than my hourly wage.  I could work more hours, but I am already experiencing a lot of nurse burnout, and I have a family to take care of as well.

I often think about how nice it would be to get paid more for working harder.  And I want the opportunity to earn a better living.  Especially because we live in one of the most expensive cities in the US, and it’s only getting more expensive.

#5.  I fear to have a terminal position with no growth opportunity.

nursing career growth

Nursing career fear #5: not growing professionally in my career

There are opportunities for nurses who want to move into administrative roles or become nurse practitioners if you are willing to go back to graduate school for a master’s degree or Ph.D. in nursing. (When you work in the UC system in California, you MUST have a Masters Degree In Nursing to move into administration.  No exceptions).

However, my bachelor’s degree in nursing was already my second college degree as I am a second career nurse  (I have a prior BA in journalism).  Not only was going to nursing school in my early 30’s the single hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it was also extraordinarily expensive.  I know a few nurses graduating with over $100,000 in nursing school loan debt (I don’t have it in me to tell them they will likely never pay it off on a nurse’s salary- at least not in California).

In addition, I have a family now with two toddlers who need me – and I’m already a working mom.  So, I could spend a ton of money going back to school, spend almost no time with my family, have a whole bunch of brand new student loan debt, and have a terrible quality of life for the next 3+ years.

And quite honestly, the idea of being a hospital administrator doesn’t even sound very appealing to me.  Not to mention, many nurse practitioners are making less then bedside nurses.  Thus, I have a hard time seeing the benefit in more school at the moment.

#6.  I fear not putting my own needs first.

Make your dreams bigger then your fears

Nursing career fear #6:  putting my own needs last

In my first career, I was a medical device salesperson because I wanted the opportunity to make a significant amount of money.  A decade later, I became a nurse because I genuinely wanted to help people and save lives.  I wanted to do something that was so much bigger than myself.

I was proud to become a nurse, and I still am.  However, this profession revolves around constantly putting other peoples’ needs first.  And it must, because our patients’ lives often depend on it.

But I have a family to care for too. And as a mom of young children, I often feel that I am in constant “survival mode.” This leaves very little time for self-care.

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

Thinking about the things I fear most is probably my least favorite thing to do.  In reality, I am a non-confrontational person and it feels unnatural for me to do a deep-dive into the things I am most afraid of.  Especially listing them one-by-one and publishing them on my website!

But, if I can’t be honest with myself about what I feel in my gut when it comes to my nursing career, then how am I supposed to grow and create a better future for myself and my family?

As a busy working mom, I hardly have time to think about myself as it is.  It would be a lot easier to pretend my fears didn’t exist and stay super busy until my kids turn 18 and go off to college.  But making big life changes is hard, even when they are the best thing for you.

Plus, I would be well into my 50’s by then!

And I don’t have time to waste on being afraid!

Do you have any fears as a bedside nurse?  Please leave a comment below!

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Additional articles by Mother Nurse Love:

5 Simple Steps For Laundry Room Safety

5 Simple Steps For Laundry Room Safety

*This post is sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute to help parents understand how important it is to practice laundry safety, including properly storing and handling laundry packets. You can find our disclosure page here.

Children are so naturally curious

In the early baby days, I knew if I walked away for a few minutes that my babies would be in the exact spot I left them. Therefore, the urgency to child-proof every nook and cranny in our home wasn’t there…yet. After all, they were completely immobile for almost the first year of life!

But with each new, curious day comes another baby milestone (or so it seemed).

First, it’s the rollover (so exciting!). Then baby develops an army crawl. And, before you know it, they pull themselves up to a stand.

Then, boom, you have your very own baby-walking machine! A little unstable, but a baby on the move nonetheless. All the while putting anything and everything they come in contact with into their mouths.

As exciting and adorable as it is to watch, it is also the time those curious minds can do their wobbly, little Frankenstein walk and come into contact with substances that they should not touch – such as household cleaning supplies… 

So, in case you didn’t already know: now is the time to make sure your house is 100% baby-proofed! No excuses!

Safety first, always

As an emergency room nurse, I have witnessed first-hand plenty of accidents involving children that could have been prevented- including the ingestion of household items. It only takes a second for those tiny, delicate hands to get into trouble when a home isn’t properly child-proofed.

But I get it, I’m a mom too – parenthood can be overwhelmingly busy and I also sometimes feel I’m being run over by a tiny human army I created myself (and I usually am!).

It is so easy to forget to child-proof your home when you have 1,000 things on your to-do list. But if you take a few simple steps and have systems in place that will prevent accidents from happening, then it will make your life so much easier in the long run. Especially if something bad happens that could have easily been prevented.

Babies and children of all ages need safe spaces to move around and learn in safe environments. Many accidents that bring our little ones to the emergency room can be prevented and avoided altogether.

So in honor of Emergency Nurses Week in October and my desire to encourage other parents to take an active stance in child-proofing their homes, my #1 safety message this year is to encourage parents to put their Packets UP!

Keep laundry packets up and away from kids!

Don’t forget to child proof the laundry room

The laundry room is one of those places in the home that is the last to be childproofed, if it even gets child-proofed at all.

That’s why I’ve partnered up with the American Cleaning Institute to help parents understand how important it is to practice laundry safety, including properly storing and handling liquid laundry packets. Accidents involving liquid laundry packets are 100% preventable!

I’m talking about taking simple steps to keep the laundry room safe at all times. By putting a few simple systems in place, you won’t have to worry about accidental poisoning and you will be proactively preventing avoidable child injuries.

Think of it like this: Playtime + child-proofed home = SAFE SPACE for baby and child growth and learning opportunities!

(The ER nurse in me geeks out about safety-proofing.  You should see our home – even my husband has a hard time getting into closets and drawers.  But at least I know our kids are safe!).

Laundry room safety. Packets up!

Keep the laundry room safe by keeping your packets up!

Simple child safety tips in the laundry room

Step #1: Keep liquid laundry packets out of reach

Keep all laundry products in a designated out of reach and in an area that children can’t get into.

If you don’t have a cabinet with doors to hide your cleaning products available, place liquid laundry packets (in the original packaging) into a larger bin with other laundry and household products and put it up high where children won’t be able to see it.  

Step #2: Don’t keep laundry packets on display

While clear or glass jars can be an Instagram-worthy way to display household items, storing liquid laundry packets visibly in these jars could attract unwanted attention from young children. Always keep liquid laundry packets tightly secured in their original packaging, stored up and out of reach.

Step #3: Keep laundry packets separate from groceries

When purchasing laundry packets and other household cleaners from the store, have them bagged separately and put them away in their designated safe storage spot – out of sight and out of reach – as soon as you get home and unpack your groceries.  

Step #4: Make safety checks a priority

Conduct routine safety checks in the home to prevent accidents.

Tip: Consider making a sign in the laundry room to remind yourself to check your laundry packets and make sure they are stored properly and out of children’s reach. That way use can ensure safety each time you do the laundry. If you have a housekeeper or someone else who does the laundry, have a conversation with them about how important it is that they also follow your laundry room safety rules.  All adults in the house need to be on the same page.

Toddler playing with household cleaners at home

If a liquid laundry packet is ingested:

Call the Poison Help Line immediately at 1-800-222-1212.

In conclusion

I hope this messaging can help parents understand how important it is to practice laundry safety, including properly storing and handling laundry packets. Safety is the number one message here, and I hope this helps to encourage and remind all parents to find simple ways to keep all laundry products up and away from little ones in the home.

Let’s have ZERO accidental laundry product accidents this and every year. Safety first!!

Remember these key laundry packet safety points:

  • It is so important to store liquid laundry packets up high and out of sight and reach.
  • Don’t forget to completely close and seal liquid laundry packet containers after use.
  • Finally, always store liquid laundry packets in their original containers.

For more information about the Packets Up campaign:

Visit packetsup.com for more information and tools to help you prevent exposures from liquid laundry packets.  You can also join the conversation: follow #PacketsUp for the latest laundry room safety tips and information.   

Order a free cling and put it on your cabinet as a safe storage reminder.

Stay safe!

9 Personal Self Care Goals I Set For Myself as a Nurse

9 Personal Self Care Goals I Set For Myself as a Nurse

As s a nurse I have been exposed to so many stressful situations.  I’ve been cussed at by angry patients (more times then I can count), swung at, kicked, had a full urinal thrown at me, been exposed to, been in the middle of dozens of violent patient situations and take-downs, and been the victim of nurse bullying.

In addition, I see other nurses being treated poorly from patients, family members, doctors and even sometimes other nurses.  In fact, it’s not even unusual.  And, like other nurses, I am expected to continue giving compassionate patient care without regard to my own well being.

This sacrificial attitude of putting myself last on a very long spectrum of compassionate care is just not going to cut it anymore.  The thought of spending an entire career with this amount of wear-and-tear is frightening.  Something has to give before I completely fizzle and burn to a crisp.

Nurses need to have compassion for themselves too.

I came out of nursing school with equal parts compassion and adrenaline to save lives and make a positive difference in the world!   In fact, I left a very lucrative 10 year medical equipment sales career so I could do just that.  I was determined to advocate for and serve my patients to the best of my ability.  Compassion was one of my greatest strengths.

As an overachiever for most of my life I have always maintained the attitude that I can do anything as long as I try hard enough.  And now, after 7 years as a registered nurse, I am discovering that I am failing at the one thing that actually defines a great nurse:  compassion.

The nurse burnout is real.

What I am currently experiencing is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that is more extreme than anything that I have ever experienced in my adult life.  I started my nursing career with the determination to give amazing patient care and here I am, 7 years later, losing my compassion.

(And just so you know – this has been hard for me to acknowledge because I have been a “yes” person my entire life.)

There is beauty in the breakdown.

My nursing burnout amplified after the birth of my first child in 2015.  Then, it got even worse after my second child in 2018.  In fact, I started writing regularly again out of desperation to find an outlet for the exhaustion and overwhelming fatigue I was feeling as a nurse and new mom.  My goal was to find more effective ways to take better care of myself and make my life a little easier.  And it actually has helped me find a little reprieve.

But most importantly, it has opened my eyes to the fact that I need to make some huge changes in my life.  Most of all, I need to find my compassion again.  But this time I am unapologetically focusing my compassion on myself, first.

So, in light of this discovery, I am 100% accepting and honoring these uncomfortable feelings.  I am using them as a catalyst to make changes in my professional and personal life.  My mental and physical pain will be an opportunity for growth and finding self-compassion.

9 Personal Nurse Self Care Goals

I rarely take the time to do nothing and reflect. This is a good year for more of that.

I am on a mission for self-compassion.

You know how when you fly in an airplane, there is the safety warning before take-off?  Passengers are instructed to put the oxygen mask on themselves first, then help others around them.  Because if you pass out from lack of oxygen, you’re not helpful to anyone!

So, here is me putting the oxygen mask on myself first.  Some of the changes I am making are professional and some are personal.  But they are all things I have been wanting to do for a really long time but haven’t because I was thinking about others’ needs before my own.

Here are my new personal nurse self-care and self-compassion goals:

#1. Work two 12 hour shifts a week instead of three

This one is hard for me because it equates to a significant decrease in pay (and I really like money!).  With two toddler age children, child care is our biggest expense (besides housing) and it’s not going away any time soon.  But fortunately, we are in a position to afford it for the time being and I want to use the extra day off to spend more one-on-one time with my adorable babies.

In addition, since most hospital shifts are 12 to 13 hours I don’t get to see my children at all on the days that I work.  I am also staying away from working back-to-back shifts because I just don’t want to be away from my children for more than one day at a time.

#2.  Work fewer holidays and as few weekends as possible

After I had children I really hated having to work on holidays.   I have missed so many birthdays, Easters, 4th of Julys, Thanksgivings, Christmas and New Years to be working at the hospital.  At some point, I started to resent missing that time with my family.  Working on holidays is the norm for many nurses, and I expect to work some.  But since I will be working a little less anyway this will also equate to working fewer holidays as well.  The same goes for weekends.

9 Personal Self Care Goals I Set For Myself As A Nurse

Self Care for nurses is more important now than ever.

#3.  Continue working per diem

There are a lot of benefits and drawbacks to being a per diem nurse.  For example, I love that I can schedule myself to work on the exact days I WANT to work.  However, it also means that if I am not needed then I get canceled at 0400 and then I don’t make any money for that day.  And since I end up paying for a nanny regardless, that’s a double whammy.

The best part of being a per diem nurse is that it offers me a much better work-life balance.  When I worked as a career nurse it was almost impossible for me to secure childcare because my work schedule was always changing.  Some weeks I got the schedule I needed and others I didn’t. So on the whole, being a per diem nurse is the right choice for me and my family.

#4.  Continue writing and growing my website to help other nurse moms

In 2016 I became a nurse blogger.   My venture was born out of my frustration with burnout as a registered nurse and my desire to create a more flexible work-life balance.  Writing about nurse lifestyle topics that interest me and exploring ways that nurses can take better care of themselves helps me to take care of myself better too.

My little blog is even starting to make a small monthly income, which absolutely thrills me.  I have a dream that if I keep working hard my website will make enough money that I can work one day a week instead of two.

#5.  Take a comprehensive course in website management and blogging

Last week I signed up for a comprehensive blogging course that will probably take me the next 6-8 months to complete.  I honestly haven’t been more excited to do something for myself like this in a really long time.  In fact, I can’t wait to see my progress over the next year!

#6.  Explore other medical-related career options

A few weeks ago I interviewed for an aesthetic sales position.  Although I didn’t end up working for the company, it did open my eyes to the fact that there are so many other great opportunities that I could be interested in and also fit my skill set as a nurse.  A nursing practice can take many forms and I am giving myself permission to continue learning about other nursing career options.

#7.  Focus more energy into my family and friends

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to “choose fun.”  So many studies have shown that spending quality time with family and friends is incredibly helpful in decreasing stress and improving burnout symptoms.  Since I will be working a little less I will have more time to focus my energy on the people who matter most to me.

#8.  Enjoy my new fancy gym membership (with childcare on site!)

In the spirit of investing more in myself, I started 2019 off with a gym membership.  It has been a complete game-changer for me.  In fact, the old me would never have never splurged on a fancy gym membership. Making regular time to work out always makes me feel great, clears my head and gives me more stamina.  And my 1 year old loves the Kid’s Club, so it’s a win-win.

As a nurse and mom, my life basically revolves around caring for everyone else, and I am SO GRATEFUL to be able to do that.  But if there is one thing I have learned through my own compassion fatigue it is that I need to put the same care into myself as I do into my patients and family.  So in the spirit of self-compassion, I am metaphorically putting on my oxygen mask first, before helping those around me.

#9.  Practice more yoga

I have been regularly practicing yoga for 14 years.  Finally, in 2o15 I completed Yoga Works’ 4 month Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program for medical professionals.  I learned how to teach simple yoga, do guided meditation and perform Reiki.  It was amazing!

However, in recent years I have not been practicing as much as I would like, and that is going to change.  My goal is to incorporate yoga into my busy schedule every single day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes.  Yoga helps me stay balanced in times of great stress, gives me flexibility (both physically and mentally) and has been extremely grounding.  In fact, I recently started teaching my 3-year-old daughter a series of yoga poses and it is bringing us both great joy!

9 Personal Nurse Self Care Goals

These two are already happy about self-care goal #1:  Work two 12 hour shifts a week instead of three.  Job flexibility has never been so important to me.

In conclusion

Nurse self-care matters.  If we don’t care for ourselves then how can we expect patients to listen to our health advice and education?  I am taking this opportunity to give myself compassion and hopefully lead others by example.

If other nurses find themselves feeling as unappreciated and burnt out as me I encourage them to find ways to care for themselves first.  Otherwise, we are perpetuating a broken system that does not acknowledge that nursing burnout is a real issue and ignoring nurse health and well being.

So nurse, what are you going to do to take care of yourself today? Leave a comment!

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