*Post contains affiliate links/Updated from 2/2/18
Are you a dedicated nurse working tirelessly through long 12-hour shifts? Your commitment to this noble and philanthropic profession is truly admirable. However, as with many shift workers, you may sometimes feel drained, overwhelmed, and even burnt out.
It’s no secret that working 12-hour shifts can take a significant toll on your physical and mental well-being. But what steps are you taking to prioritize your health and thrive in your career?
By taking a proactive approach to self-care and making it a top priority, you can ensure that you remain a healthy and effective nurse, delivering exceptional care to your patients. It’s time to invest in your own well-being and prioritize nurse self-care.
Thriving, Not Just Surviving: 11 Tips for Nurses on 12-Hour Shifts
Nurse self-care should be a priority. That includes getting a good night’s sleep!
Nurses are at the forefront of 24/7 patient care, and this means that their work schedules often involve long day and night shifts that can result in sleep deprivation.
However, it’s crucial for nurses to prioritize their own well-being by getting a good night’s rest after completing a demanding 12-hour shift.
Here are a few tips that can help nurses establish healthier sleep habits:
⇒ Unwind Without Screen Time
Avoid watching television or scrolling through your phone before going to bed. Instead, opt for relaxing activities that can calm your mind and body, such as reading a book or listening to soft music.
⇒ Stretch and Soothe
Ease into a state of relaxation with some gentle yoga stretches. Restorative yoga props such as a mat, blocks, and a yoga strap can help enhance the experience and promote deeper relaxation.
Consider using a meditation app such as Headspace to help clear your mind and reduce stress. Taking just a few minutes to meditate before bed can help you feel more relaxed and ready for a restful night’s sleep.
⇒ Block Out Distractions
Invest in a good pair of earplugs and a sleep mask to help minimize any noise or light that might disrupt your sleep.
Try to adjust your bedtime routine by getting into bed an hour earlier than usual. This small change can help you establish a healthier sleep schedule and reap the benefits of a more restful night’s sleep. Give it a try for one week and notice how much better you feel both mentally and physically.
By prioritizing nurse self-care and adopting these simple yet effective sleep habits, nurses can ensure they are well-rested and energized for their next shift, ready to provide the best possible care for their patients.
Nurse, get your heart rate up!
Regular exercise is a vital component of nurse self-care that can have a significant impact on physical and mental well-being. Not only does exercise help maintain a healthy weight, but it also boosts overall energy levels, improves mood, and reduces stress.
Additionally, exercise can help nurses maintain the stamina needed to provide top-quality care for their patients. (Make sure you talk you your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have health concerns).
Here are some ideas to keep in mind when incorporating exercise into your nurse self-care routine:
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week. This can include activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.
Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Try breaking up your exercise routine into shorter, more manageable segments throughout the day. Even a 10-minute walk can provide physical and mental benefits.
Make exercise a social activity. Consider joining a workout class or finding a workout buddy to help keep you motivated and accountable.
Mix up your routine. Incorporate a variety of exercises such as strength training, cardio, and stretching to keep things interesting and challenge your body in different ways.
Take advantage of outdoor exercise opportunities. Spending time in nature has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety.
Don’t forget to warm up and cool down properly to prevent injury and promote recovery.
In addition to its physical benefits, exercise can also help manage stress and reduce caregiver burden. Yoga and other mindfulness practices can be particularly effective in this regard. These types of exercises focus on deep breathing and relaxation techniques, which can help reduce stress and promote a sense of calm and well-being.
By incorporating regular exercise into their nurse self-care routine, nurses can improve their overall health and well-being, better manage stress and caregiver burden, and maintain the stamina needed to provide exceptional care for their patients. So, take the time to get your heart rate up on your days off – it is a win-win for everyone.
#3. Grocery Shop For Healthy Shift Food
A well-balanced diet is essential for nurse health and wellness.
Grocery shopping is so important for nurses and other hospital workers to ensure proper nutrition. It is no secret that healthy food choices are crucial for overall good health and well-being. Make sure you are filling your plate with high-density vitamins and minerals. You simply can’t maintain good energy and stamina over a 12-hour shift on sugary snacks and fast food!
Plan ahead by creating a grocery list of the foods you want to eat while you are at work. That way, you won’t be tempted to reach for something unhealthy when you have a few moments to eat in-between caring for patients.
Tips for nurses to make healthy meals fast: Try making a big batch of quinoa, brown rice, or black bean pasta to have handy in the fridge. These are a few great staples that you can build a nourishing meal around. When you get hungry, you can mix in a protein, veggies, nuts or seeds, dried fruits, or even just enjoy them with a little olive oil and sea salt.
The key is to have healthy food that is easy to prepare BEFORE you get super hungry.
Oats: a nutritious and easy way to start a 12-hour shift.
Did you know that starting your day with a nutritious breakfast can have a big impact on your 12-hour shift? Studies have shown that a healthy breakfast can provide you with more strength and endurance to:
Keep up with physical activity
Maintain stamina throughout the day
Improve concentration, and
Provide a diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
As a nurse, it’s important to take care of yourself, and preparing a nutritious breakfast before your shift is a great way to start.
One easy and delicious option is to make overnight oats in mason jars with a variety of flavors, such as:
Peanut butter and maple
Banana and walnut, or
Almond and raisin
You can also add ground flaxseed or chia seeds for extra protein and antioxidant benefits. And don’t forget to top it off with a dash of cinnamon for some added flavor!
By taking the time to prepare a nutritious breakfast, you’ll have the energy and focus needed to provide the best possible care to your patients throughout your 12-hour shift. So give it a try and see how it can make a difference in your day!
As a nurse, it’s essential to fuel your body with nutritious food to keep you energized throughout your 12-hour shift. Bringing a packed lunch not only helps you make healthy food choices, but it can also save you money in the long run.
Here are some items that can make packing your lunch for work easier and more enjoyable:
As a hardworking nurse, you deserve to have the energy to make it through your 12-hour shift without relying on sugary snacks in the breakroom. While it may be tempting to indulge in those donuts or cookies, there are healthier options that will keep you fueled and focused throughout the day.
Here are some snack ideas that are easy to pack to maintain energy:
Crunchy baby carrots, broccoli, or other veggies with a side of hummus for protein
Celery sticks with almond butter for a satisfying combination of healthy fat and fiber
Fresh strawberries and blueberries for a sweet and nutritious pick-me-up
Granola and yogurt for a quick and filling snack
Almonds or cashews for a protein-packed option
Avocado toast for a tasty and satisfying snack
Sliced apples with peanut butter for a classic and delicious combination
Cottage cheese with pineapple or banana for a protein-rich and refreshing snack
Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, and seeds for a convenient and tasty option.
By bringing your own nutritious snacks to work, you can fuel your body and brain without experiencing the sugar crashes that come with breakroom donuts.
Green tea: a healthy drink for 12-hour shift workers!
Green tea is a popular beverage that is enjoyed all over the world, and for good reason! Here are some reasons why green tea is a healthy choice:
⇒ Rich in Antioxidants
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants called catechins that help to protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. The antioxidants in green tea help to neutralize these harmful molecules and keep your body healthy.
⇒ Boosts Brain Function
Green tea contains caffeine, a natural stimulant that can help to improve brain function, including memory, reaction time, and mood. Additionally, green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which has a calming effect on the brain and can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
⇒ It may Aid in Weight Loss
Green tea has been shown to boost metabolism, which can help to increase calorie burning and aid in weight loss. It also contains a compound called EGCG, which has been shown to help break down fat and reduce the formation of new fat cells.
⇒ Supports Heart Health
Drinking green tea regularly has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. It may help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve blood flow, all of which can contribute to a healthy heart.
Incorporating green tea into your daily routine is a simple way to boost your health and well-being. Whether you enjoy it hot or iced, with honey or lemon, green tea is a delicious and healthy choice that you can feel good about.
Nurses must invest in good shoes to maintain foot health.
As a nurse, your job demands long hours on your feet, and it is crucial to take good care of them. Choosing the right shoes can make a huge difference in your comfort and well-being during and after your shifts. Here are some reasons why wearing good shoes is essential for nurses:
⇒ Comfort: Wearing comfortable shoes is a must for any nurse who wants to work without experiencing any foot pain, leg cramps, or backaches. Good shoes offer proper cushioning and arch support, which reduces the pressure on your feet and legs.
⇒ Safety: Wearing the right shoes can also help prevent slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. Shoes with non-slip soles will provide a better grip on slippery floors, decreasing the risk of accidents and injuries.
⇒ Durability: The right pair of shoes can also withstand the demands of the job. Investing in a pair of durable and well-made shoes will ensure that they last longer and need to be replaced less often.
⇒ Style: Good shoes can be stylish too! You don’t have to sacrifice fashion for function. Many brands now offer shoes that are both comfortable and stylish, so you can feel good and look good at the same time.
The Nike Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus Running Shoes have great cushioning and are often worn by runners training for and running in marathons. They have great cushion and arch support without being too heavy.
Also, the cushion provides additional support for the knees and ankles. That is why these shoes are also great for nurses who often walk 15,000-20,000 steps or more in a single shift. There are over 25 other great colors to choose from.
#9. Stay Hydrated: Keep a Reusable Water Bottle
Drink water throughout your 12-hour shift and stay hydrated!
Have you ever worked an entire shift and realized at the end that you forgot to drink water for the whole day? It is so easy to do when you are extremely busy with back-to-back patients and heavy work assignments.
Invest in a good water bottle with a sealable lid (to prevent accidental spillage). Keep it where you do most of your charting in the nurse’s station. And try to make it a priority to drink your water every hour during your shift to stay hydrated.
Here are some of the most important reasons why nurses (and all healthcare workers) should drink water during their shifts:
⇒ Dehydration can cause a range of negative effects, including headaches, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and muscle cramps.
⇒ Drinking water can help keep nurses alert and focused, which is crucial in a fast-paced, high-pressure healthcare environment.
⇒ Staying hydrated may help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can be a problem for people who are not drinking enough fluids. UTIs can be particularly uncomfortable and disruptive for nurses, who may not have easy access to bathroom breaks during their shifts.
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Make your own chia seed water: Add 3 tbsp of organic chia seeds to your water bottle and mix well (you can add more or less to your liking). Within a few hours, the seeds will blow up in size and into a gelatinous consistency.
(Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, fiber, iron, and calcium. Just another easy way to add nutrients to your busy day!)
#10. Wear compression socks
Nurse health & your venous system: wear compression socks!
Prevention of varicose veins: Standing for extended periods causes valves in the veins to become weakened, causing blood to collect in the veins. This causes the veins to enlarge, increase in pressure and stretch, causing unsightly varicose veins.
Improved blood flow and decreased risk of blood clots: A study by The Society of Occupational Medicine found that wearing compression stockings significantly decreased lower limb venous pressure in nurses who stood for very long hours.
Decreased swelling of ankles and feet: Swollen ankles and feet are a common side effect of being on one’s feet for a 12-hour shift.
Many nurses who wear compression socks say that their legs “feel more energized” after a 12-hour shift. Pregnant shift workers are especially at risk of leg swelling (due to increased blood volumes during pregnancy) and should consider wearing them to prevent venous issues.
Nurses need yoga, period. Not only does yoga replenishes depleted reserves after a 12-hour shift, but a relaxed and more focused nurse can give better patient care.
Yoga’s amazing benefits on physical and mental health are well documented in the literature. The Mayo Clinic reports that “yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lower your heart rate,” among many other benefits.
Nurse self-care in the form of yoga is scientifically proven to be beneficial:
A study published in the National Institute of Biotechnology Information investigated the effects of yoga on stress coping strategies of ICU nurses. After only eight weeks of yoga, the results showed that the participating ICU nurses had significantly better focus coping strategies and a major reduction in perceived mental pressure.
Prevent or eliminate chronic low back pain.
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%. Yoga not only increases flexibility but increases muscle strength and prevents injuries such as chronic lower back pain.
Prevent burnout and compassion fatigue.
A study published in Workplace Health & Safety on yoga for self-care and burnout prevention of nurses found that yoga participants “reported significantly higher self-care as well as less emotional exhaustion upon completion of an 8-week yoga intervention.”
Nurse Health & Self Care for Nurses Frequently Asked Questions
What is self-care as a nurse?
Self-care for nurses involves intentional actions that promote physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. It’s a way for nurses to prioritize their own health and wellness so that they can continue to provide effective care for their patients.
What is an example of an effective self-care strategy for a nurse?
An effective self-care strategy for a nurse could be taking regular breaks during their shift to stretch, hydrate, or engage in a calming activity such as deep breathing. Another example could be making time for activities outside of work that they enjoy, such as exercise, reading, or spending time with loved ones.
Why is self-care important for nurses?
Self-care is important for nurses because it helps prevent burnout, reduces stress, and improves overall job satisfaction. When nurses take care of themselves, they are better able to provide high-quality care to their patients.
What are the four basics of self-care?
The four basics of self-care are eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, engaging in regular physical activity, and managing stress.
What are three examples of self-care?
Three examples of self-care could be taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk in nature, or practicing meditation or yoga.
Why do nurses lack self-care?
Nurses often lack self-care because they are so focused on caring for others that they neglect their own needs. Additionally, many nurses work long hours and have demanding schedules, which can make it difficult to find time for self-care.
What are the seven pillars of self-care?
The seven pillars of self-care are sleep, nutrition, physical activity, hygiene, social connection, stress management, and spiritual practice.
What are the ABCS of self-care?
The ABCs of self-care are Awareness, Balance, Connection, and Support. These elements are essential for maintaining a healthy self-care practice.
What are the five domains of self-care?
The five domains of self-care are physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and professional.
What is a nurse’s barrier to self-care?
A nurse’s barrier to self-care could be a lack of time, resources, or support. Additionally, some nurses may feel guilty for taking time for themselves instead of focusing on their patients.
How can nurses prevent burnout?
Nurses can prevent burnout by practicing effective self-care, setting realistic expectations, seeking support from colleagues and loved ones, and making time for activities outside of work that they enjoy.
Why is nursing the hardest job?
Nursing is considered one of the hardest jobs because it is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. Nurses are often required to work long hours and deal with high levels of stress, while also providing compassionate care to patients who may be in pain or distress.
What is the highest form of self-care?
The highest form of self-care is to cultivate a sense of self-compassion and self-love. This involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding, and prioritizing your own well-being in a way that feels authentic and fulfilling.
*This post contains affiliate links. Updated from original post on 11/4/18
Working 12-hour shifts as a nurse can be physically and emotionally demanding, and these challenges are compounded for a nurse who is pregnant.
Pregnant nurses may have concerns about the impact of working long hours on their health and that of their unborn child. They may also worry about exposure to harmful substances, such as radiation, chemicals, or infectious diseases.
I had a lot of questions at the beginning of my first pregnancy when I worked as a nurse:
Would I tolerate being on my feet all day?
What is the best way to prevent dehydration as a pregnant nurse working 12-hour shifts?
How am I going to keep my energy up for my entire shift?!
But by taking proper precautions and always putting safety first, working as a nurse while pregnant is possible. In fact, some nurses work all the way through their pregnancies until a few weeks or days before they give birth. However, it is important to remember that everyone has a different experience, and it is important to speak with your doctor, nurse practitioner, or midwife before making any decisions about what is right for you.
Talk to Your OBGYN About Your Concerns About Working as a Pregnant Nurse
First off, it is always important that you talk to your doctor to discuss any occupational concerns you have during your pregnancy. Continue the dialog at your prenatal appointments as you move along with your pregnancy. If you have questions or concerns in between your appointments, contact your healthcare provider.
It is also crucial that you communicate with hospital management and your charge nurse about your pregnancy. They cannot help you avoid potential pregnancy hazards if they don’t know you are expecting.
Physical Challenges of Working as a Nurse While Pregnant
The physicality of working as a pregnant nurse can be very difficult for some women, especially for those working on high-acuity floors such as the emergency department or intensive care unit. However, many hospital units are able to offer modified duties for pregnant nurses who have instructions from their doctors to stay off their feet.
Fatigue is a common concern for pregnant nurses who work long shifts. Pregnancy can cause fatigue due to hormonal changes and increased physical demands on the body. Long shifts can exacerbate this fatigue.
There are also other physical challenges pregnant nurses should consider during nursing shifts:
Working night shift or rotating schedules
Standing and walking for long periods of time
Managing nausea during shifts
Additional Pregnant Nurse Precautions and Occupational Hazards to Consider
Pregnant nurses may be concerned about exposure to harmful substances in the workplace. Certain chemicals, such as cleaning agents and pesticides, can be toxic to developing fetuses.
Nurses who work in settings where radiation is used, such as radiology departments, may also be concerned about the impact of exposure on their pregnancy.
Furthermore, infectious diseases pose a risk to pregnant nurses and their unborn child, particularly if the nurse is working with patients who have communicable illnesses.
Therefore, it is always important to wear the correct protective equipment or even possibly refrain from working with some patients.
Here is a list of some pregnant nurse precautions to consider:
Radiation from diagnostic imaging
Standing and walking for long periods of time
Working with chemo or other teratogenic medications
Risk of infections such as C-diff, tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus, and influenza
The physicality of working as a pregnant nurse (such as pulling patients up in bed)
Increased risk of varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time
Compression socks and stockings may help pregnant nurses minimize or prevent varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time.
During pregnancy, a mother’s blood volume increases by almost 50%! That’s a lot of extra fluid to be circulating through your body when you are on your feet for 12-hour shifts. This is also why many pregnant women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. if you are a pregnant nurse and haven’t invested in compression socks yet, it’s time to get a couple of pairs ASAP.
Compression socks are often overlooked as a proactive way to prevent some of the chronic issues that come from working in a profession where you are on your feet for such long hours. Pregnant women may benefit from wearing compression stockings or socks during a 12-hour shift for a few reasons:
Prevention of varicose veins
Improved blood flow and decreased risk of blood clots
Decreased swelling of ankles and feet
I was able to continue working as an emergency room nurse up until the beginning of my ninth month of pregnancy because I invested in a few quality pairs of toe to waist compression stockings. I wouldn’t have made it past my 6th month without them!
The Reebok Women’s Classic Renaissance Sneaker is an example of a great nursing shoe for pregnant nurses. They are comfortable and supportive, with a slip-resistant sole that fits the activity level of being a nurse. Plus, they have extra cushioning in the right places to help you stay on your feet all day long. The added bonus is they also come at an affordable price.
3. Pack Healthy and Energizing Snacks
Working as a nurse while pregnant requires that you fuel your body with healthy nutrients to keep your energy up!
During my first trimester, when I was pregnant with my second child, I struggled quite a bit with nausea and an overwhelming feeling of “hungover-ness” (without any of the fun the night before). I was also training to be an ER nurse, so it was more important than ever to be alert and focused.
By packing a lunch with nutritious snacks every day, I was able to keep myself energized as well as fend off nausea enough to get through each shift. I just couldn’t go more than 2-3 hours without refueling myself with something.
Admittedly, when I forgot to bring food with me, I would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the stash we gave our patients. Although they were nothing special, for some reason, they were the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I had ever had. Never underestimate the hunger of a pregnant nurse. I always felt better and was able to continue working afterward.
Here are a few easy, fast, and high-energy snacks to help your pregnant body stay energized through your 12-hour shifts:
Consider throwing some healthy snack packs into your work bag for emergencies! It’s better to be prepared than tempted by the vending machine. Good luck, and remember – you got this!
4. Go to Bed Early
Pregnant nurses need their sleep!
You simply cannot sleep too much when you are pregnant. I don’t think there is any scientific evidence to back up my claim about this. However, that was definitely my experience during pregnancy.
Here is a sleep secret that got me through 12-hour shifts during my pregnancy. I would go down to the hospital meditation room during my lunch break, find a comfortable chair and literally pass out for 30 minutes. I set my phone alarm to make sure I was back to work on time. When it went off, I was so deep in REM sleep that sometimes I didn’t even know where I was when I woke up. I was that tired.
The only way you are going to have the energy to make it through your pregnancy while working 12-hour shifts is to make sure you get as much sleep as you possibly can every night- and during the day if needed. Utilize every lunch break you have at work to take mini power naps like I did!
5. Get Some Movement If Everyday (If Your Healthcare Provider Says Its OK)
Prenatal yoga may help pregnant nurses deal with stress throughout their pregnancies.
It seems counterintuitive, but exercising while pregnant may actually give you more energy to get through a 12-hour shift. In addition, exercise during pregnancy can help prevent gestational diabetes and hypertension.
(It is important to talk to your doctor about starting any exercise routine during pregnancy. There are some circumstances your doctor may advise you not to exercise while pregnant.)
Non-impact exercises for pregnant nurses may include:
Working the night shift can be especially challenging for nurses during their pregnancies. Consider switching to the day shift if you can.
The rigorousness of working 12-hour shifts as a nurse is exhausting as it is. Add pregnancy into the mix and you might find that you are even more tired than ever.
Some pregnant nurses who have already been working the night shift continue with that schedule and do just fine. However, those who have rotating day and night schedules might find it especially hard to switch back to the night shift once they become pregnant.
Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to continue working night shifts. Communicate with your manager about your specific health needs during your pregnancy. You may want to switch to a day-shift-only schedule for the duration of your pregnancy.
7. Talk to Your Manager About Modified Duty
Many facilities are able to offer modified duty for pregnant nurses who can’t be on their feet all day.
As a pregnant nurse, it may be necessary to have a modified work assignment, especially for those who work in rigorous units such as the emergency department. The physical demands of pregnancy might be too much for those already struggling with fatigue, nausea, or having to carry so much extra weight.
Talk to your manager to see if there are alternative assignments you can have, such as working at the monitor, organizing paperwork, or auditing patient charts. If these options are not available, consider the possibility of working shorter shifts or working two days a week instead of three.
Remember, always ask for help if you need it!
8. Communicate With Management About Your Intended Time to go on Maternity Leave
It is important to keep open communication with administration about when you intend to go on maternity leave. Although with pregnancy, you can’t predict the future, and babies tend to come when they are ready. Things happen and you may have to leave early anyway, but keeping communication open istypically not a bad idea.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had every intention of working up until my 38th week. But when I had my appointment at 31 weeks, my doctor thought it was best that I didn’t work on my feet for more than six hours a day. While six hours may seem like a lot for most professions, it’s not much for a hospital nurse. Sometimes we are on our feet for 10-12 hours a shift!
Yet, I still didn’t want to go off work because, for some reason, I felt like I was taking advantage of the system – which, in hindsight, I realize was ridiculous. I thought I had the grit to work all the way through.
So, I waited for two weeks before I finally presented my doctor’s note to my manager. When I finally did, I gave it to him with tears in my eyes because I knew he would have to put me on disability at that time. My maternity leave started at that moment.
It was a good thing in the long run because I had a placental abruption two weeks later and had an emergency c-section seven weeks before my due date. It is wise to listen to your doctor’s advice!
9. Enjoy Your Pregnancy
Enjoy your pregnancy!
Pregnancy can and should be a beautiful experience, even when you are a nurse working 12-hour shifts. Far too often, many pregnant nurses focus on the inconveniences and difficulties they face at work during their pregnancies
But with proper precautions, it can – and hopefully is – a time filled with some good health, gratitude, abundance, and most of all, joy.
Working as A Nurse While Pregnant Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to work as a nurse while pregnant?
Yes, it can be safe to work as a nurse while pregnant, but it depends on various factors, including the type of work you do, your health condition, and the pregnancy itself. You should always consult with your healthcare provider and employer to assess any potential risks and discuss any necessary adjustments to your work duties or schedule.
How long should nurses work while pregnant?
The duration that a nurse should work while pregnant can vary depending on the individual’s health, pregnancy condition, and the demands of their job. Some nurses may need to reduce their hours or stop working earlier in pregnancy than others. It’s best to discuss this with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
What should I avoid as a pregnant nurse?
As a pregnant nurse, you should avoid any tasks or activities that may be hazardous to your health or the health of your unborn child. These may include exposure to harmful chemicals, radiation, infectious diseases, and heavy lifting or repetitive motions that can cause strain or injury. It’s essential to discuss any potential risks with your healthcare provider and employer to ensure that you can safely perform your job duties.
Should I work 12-hour shifts pregnant?
Working 12-hour shifts while pregnant can be challenging, especially as the pregnancy progresses, and fatigue sets in. It’s important to discuss your work schedule with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. They may recommend reducing your hours or taking more frequent breaks to help manage your energy levels and reduce stress.
What jobs are unsafe during pregnancy?
Some jobs may be considered unsafe during pregnancy, depending on the level of physical exertion, exposure to hazards, or risks to the health of the mother and baby. Examples of jobs that may be considered unsafe include those involving heavy lifting, exposure to radiation or chemicals, prolonged standing, or exposure to infectious diseases. It’s crucial to discuss any potential risks with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action.
Which work should you avoid during pregnancy?
As mentioned earlier, jobs involving heavy lifting, exposure to radiation or chemicals, prolonged standing, or infectious diseases should be avoided during pregnancy. Other jobs that may be physically demanding or high-stress may also be challenging to manage while pregnant.
What week should I stop working during pregnancy?
The ideal week to stop working during pregnancy can vary depending on various factors, including the pregnancy condition, the demands of the job, and the individual’s health. Some women may need to stop working earlier in pregnancy, while others may be able to work until closer to their due date. It’s essential to discuss this with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action.
What month should a pregnant woman stop working?
Similar to the previous question, the month that a pregnant woman should stop working can vary depending on various factors. Some women may need to stop working as early as the first trimester, while others may be able to work until the end of the second or even third trimester. It’s crucial to discuss this with your healthcare provider and employer to determine the best course of action.
How do you explain leaving a job due to pregnancy?
Explaining leaving a job due to pregnancy should be done with honesty and professionalism. You can simply state that you needed to leave your job to focus on your health and the health of your unborn child. It’s important to be clear and concise in your explanation and to provide any necessary documentation or medical notes as requested.
Don’t Sacrifice Your Leg Health For 12-Hour Nursing Shifts
*Post contains affiliate links/Updated from 12/2018
If there is one profession that needs compression socks, it’s nurses (or any healthcare professional who is on their feet for long shifts). Knee high compression socks are beneficial for leg health for the following reasons:
Prevent or reduce varicose veins
Improve the flow of blood and decrease the risk of blood clots
Decrease or prevent swelling of the lower legs and ankles
Compression socks always improved my lower leg muscle fatigue and made my legs feel more energized at the end of a shift. I started wearing them to have more support when I was pregnant and was able to continue working as an ER nurse until I was almost eight and a half months pregnant.
I have always appreciated that my job as a medical professional is not sedentary. But as it turns out, being on my feet for such long hours can be worse for my health than sitting all day. Compression therapy is one of the best ways for many nurses to prevent some of the chronic leg health issues that come with working in a profession that requires being on your feet all day (hello, nurses!)
How We Chose the Best Compression Socks For Nurses & Healthcare Workers
We chose these top-rated compression socks for nurses based on factors like comfort, durability, prevention of foot odor, and any additional features like arch support, padding in sensitive areas, and breathable fabric. We also considered customer reviews and ratings to ensure that nurses are getting the best socks for their needs. So, whether you need something lightweight and breathable or want a bit more cushioning with your socks, we’ve got you covered!
We hope you enjoy your selection of compression socks and that they help you to stay comfortable and healthy on the job.
The Best Compression Socks for Nurses and Medical Professionals
♥ Over 70,000 Customer Reviews & Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Why We Love Them
Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks are designed with a unique blend of spandex and nylon that offers superior comfort for long shifts on your feet. The 20-30 mmHg pressure rating ensures that you get the right amount of support to help reduce swollen legs and feet. They’re also breathable, moisture-wicking, and feature an antibacterial finish to help you stay fresh during the day. Plus, they come in a variety of fun colors and patterns so you can show off your style.
Made of 70% Nylon and 30% Spandex
Hand wash only
Designed for style and confidence on your legs
Double-stitched fabric for durability and comfort
Compression and support located on the heel, foot, and calves for maximum benefits
Moisture-wicking properties for rapid air drying
Stay-put cuffs for a soothing feeling at the bottom and sides of the foot with no pinching
Washable with quality Lycra fabric built for durability
Provides shock absorption to reduce fatigue and swelling in your lower leg.
♥ Over 70,000 Customer Reviews & Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Why We Love Them
These compression socks are available in various colors, sizes, and compression levels to suit your needs. And because it comes in packs of seven, you have fun styles for every day of the week without needing to do the wash.
♥ Over 70,000 Customer Reviews & Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Get a multicolor combo of your choice with these compression socks. Perfect for a whole week without daily wash.
Made of 85% nylon and 15% spandex, these socks deliver 360-degree stretch for greater flexibility and durability.
Compression is proven to allow you to move faster, react quicker, and use less energy. These socks provide varying levels of support, from moderate to extra firm, with targeted compression zones.
The breathable, high-performance fabric keeps an optimal temperature, ensuring your comfort all day long.
These socks make a great gift choice for joggers, athletes, workout fanatics, office workers, or anyone who uses their legs extensively.
Shop with confidence, knowing that this product comes with a money-back guarantee. Whether you work long hours standing on your feet or have a fitness lifestyle, these compression socks are necessary.
♥ Over 16,000 Customer Reviews & Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Why We Love Them
FITRELL 3 Pairs Compression Socks offer superior comfort and support. Their graduated compression helps to improve circulation and reduce swelling, while the ergonomic design ensures a secure fit. The breathable fabric is designed to keep you cool and dry all day long, while the reinforced heel and toe provide extra durability. Plus, with a money-back guarantee, you can be sure you’re getting the highest quality product.
Size Tips: Choose based on calf size for optimal compression (20-30 mmHg). Size down for tighter compression.
Sizing options: S/M (Calf size 9-15in, Men’s US shoes 6-8.5, Women’s US shoes 7-9.5), L/XL (Calf size 14-16in, Men’s US shoes 9-12, Women’s US shoes 10-12)
Moisture-wicking & Breathable: High-performance fabric with a moisture-wicking effect keeps feet dry and mesh design allows for breathability.
Seamless toe reduces friction, and thick, soft cushions in the sole absorb shock and prevent overuse injuries.
Circulation & Muscle Support: 5 zones of graduated compression boost venous flow, protect the Plantar Fascia, support the Achilles, improve circulation, and reduce swelling. Helps relieve shin splints, and painful joint and muscle stiffness, reduces fatigue, and treats varicose veins.
♥ Over 50,000 Customer Reviews & Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Why We Love Them
SB SOX compression therapy socks provide a comfortable, snug fit that offers extra stability and support. These non-binding socks are ideal for running, walking, sports activities, and even 12-hour nursing shifts.
The socks are made of 80% nylon and 20% spandex and are imported.
These compression socks improve blood circulation and provide relief from leg pain, swelling, and fatigue. They are a must-have for anyone who needs such support.
The socks are designed to be comfortable, lightweight, and breathable so that you can wear them all day long. The reinforced and cushioned heel and toe support ensure unmatched comfort.
The graduated compression of these socks decreases swelling and fatigue in your feet and legs, making them ideal for any activity.
Our socks are highly recommended by repeat customers who come back to buy another pair after trying them. We offer several different colors to choose from.
To find your perfect fit, refer to our size chart (4th product image) and measure your calf circumference. We offer four different sizes to ensure the socks fit your feet and calves perfectly.
How do Compression Socks Work?
Compression socks work to improve blood circulation by helping increase the velocity or speed of blood flow. By squeezing the legs, the veins carrying blood to the heart are compressed. Think of how when you squeeze a hose, it squirts the water out faster. With compression stockings, the same volume of blood can move up the leg, but it has less area in which to move.
Compression socks work by:
Improving blood flow: The pressure applied by compression socks helps to improve blood flow in the legs, promoting better circulation and reducing the risk of blood clots.
Reducing swelling: Compression socks can help the legs by preventing fluid build up, particularly after long periods of sitting or standing. They may also help to relieve pain in the legs.
Providing support: Compression socks provide support to the muscles and joints in the legs, which can help to prevent or reduce injuries and improve athletic performance.
Decreases fatigue: Compression socks can reduce leg fatigue by improving blood flow and providing extra support, particularly during long periods of standing or physical activity.
Helps with recovery: Compression socks can also aid in muscle recovery after physical activity by reducing inflammation and improving circulation.
Medical compression stockings for the treatment of varicose veins.
Understanding Compression Sock Levels
Choosing the right compression socks can be difficult if you do not understand what a compression level means. Compression socks have a range of numbers to indicate how much graduated compression the garment has. Here is a quick and dirty breakdown:
Suitable for everyday wear to help with welling and fatigued legs due to long periods of travel, sitting, or standing.
Medical grade compression. Useful for managing swelling, spider veins, travel, sports, and after some surgeries. Also suitable for pregnant mothers to alleviate swelling and achy legs.
Recommended when you have a blood clot, deep vein thrombosis DVT, or lymphedema.
robust compression for severe venous stasis, wound management, and lymphedema.
The unit of measurement (mmHg) is called “millimeters of mercury,” which is a measurement of pressure, also used in blood pressure. It is a measurement of how tight the compression on your legs is.
The sweet spot for nurses and other medical professionals on their feet all day usually falls in the 20-30 mmHg range to ensure enough compression.
You should discuss compression stockings with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any medical conditions.
Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to good compression stocks. Generally speaking, with all products, if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Healthcare professionals should consider wearing compression socks.
Compressions Socks for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Frequently Asked Questions
What do compression socks do for you?
Compression socks apply pressure to the legs, ankles, and feet, promoting blood oxygen flow and reducing swelling. They can improve circulation in the lower extremities, reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, prevent blood clots, and help manage conditions like varicose veins and lymphedema. If you have swollen feet and ankles or tired legs at the end of a shift, compression socks may help you. Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure there is not a more serious medical condition.
How many hours should you wear compression socks?
The recommended duration of compression sock wear varies depending on the reason for use. Talk to your doctor about what a safe level is for you. In general, it is safe to wear compression socks for up to 16 hours a day.
Is there a downside to wearing compression socks?
Compression socks can sometimes cause discomfort, skin irritation, or allergic reactions. Additionally, compression socks with too much pressure can potentially restrict blood flow instead of improving it. It is important to consult a healthcare provider before using compression socks.
What level of compression socks do I need?
The level of compression socks you need depends on your individual needs and the reason for use. Mild compression (8-15 mmHg) is typically used for preventative purposes, while moderate compression (15-20 mmHg) is used for mild swelling and varicose veins. Higher levels of compression, such as 20-30 mmHg or 30-40 mmHg, are typically used for more severe conditions and require a prescription.
What does 20-30 mmHg compression socks mean?
The term “20-30 mmHg” refers to the level of pressure exerted by the compression socks on the legs. This range of pressure is considered moderate to high and is typically used to treat conditions like deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, and lymphedema.
What is the difference between 8-15 mmHg and 15-20 mmHg compression socks?
The main difference between 8-15 mmHg and 15-20 mmHg compression socks is the level of pressure they exert on the legs. 8-15 mmHg compression socks provide mild pressure, making them suitable for preventative use and for individuals who stand or sit for long periods. 15-20 mmHg compression socks provide moderate pressure, making them suitable for individuals with mild swelling or varicose veins.
How tight should 20-30 compression socks be?
20-30 mmHg compression socks should fit snugly, but not be overly tight or uncomfortable. The pressure should be evenly distributed along the legs, with the highest pressure at the ankle and gradually decreasing up the leg.
Can you sleep in 15-20 mmHg compression socks?
While it is generally safe to sleep in 15-20 mmHg compression socks, it is not recommended to do so without consulting a healthcare provider first. Some individuals may find compression socks uncomfortable to sleep in, and others may not need compression while lying down.
Do you need a prescription for 20-30 compression socks? In most cases, 20-30 mmHg compression socks require a prescription from a healthcare provider. However, some compression socks in this range may be available without a prescription, depending on the brand and intended use.
Where does the fluid go when you wear compression socks? Compression socks help to push fluid and blood from the legs back up to the heart. The pressure applied by the socks compresses the tissues in the legs and helps to reduce the diameter of the veins, improving blood flow and reducing swelling. The fluid and blood then circulate back through the body’s lymphatic system and are filtered out by the kidneys and liver.
Sacrificing Your Leg Health is Just Not Worth It.
Healthcare professionals such as nurses spend a lot of time on their feet and experience enough occupational hazards during a nursing shift as it is. Make sure you have on a pair of compression socks or stockings during every single shift. You can help to prevent future circulation and venous issues and still have a long, rewarding medical field career as a nurse.
*Updated on 4/9/20 to include pregnant nurse precautions for COVID-19. *Affiliate links.
As an ER nurse who delivered my second baby in early 2018, I have done a lot of research about pregnant nurse precautions to be aware of when you work in a hospital. My goal was to make sure that it was safe for me to continue working in such a physically demanding environment with so many potential occupational hazards.
Fortunately, I was able to work safely right up until a few weeks before giving birth. As a per diem nurse, I did not have any maternity or disability benefits, so I wanted to save up as much money as possible before I went out on leave. Thankfully, I was able to do just that. But safety was still my number one concern. I hope this information can help other nurses stay safe during their pregnancies as well.
Talk to your OBGYN
First off, you must talk to your doctor to discuss any occupational concerns you have during your pregnancy. Continue the dialog at your prenatal appointments as you move along your pregnancy. If you have questions in between your appointments, then contact your doctor.
My goal in writing this is not to make pregnant nurses afraid to work in the hospital. I am so glad that I was able to safely work as a pregnant nurse for as long as I did. Still, there is no shortage of occupational hazards for the pregnant nurse within the hospital setting. Working safely is the number one goal.
You must communicate with management and your charge nurse about your pregnancy. They cannot help you avoid potential pregnancy hazards if they don’t know that you are expecting.
Pregnant nurse precautions and hazards to consider:
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has many pregnant healthcare providers, especially frontline nurses, uniquely concerned. Because COVID-19 is so new, there hasn’t been enough time to study its effects on breastfeeding or pregnant women. Also, many nurses who are working directly with COVID-19 patients say they don’t have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them from the virus safely. That maybe even more problematic for pregnant nurses who directly care for COVID-19 patients.
“We do not have information from published scientific reports about susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. Pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Pregnant women also might be at risk for severe illness, morbidity, or mortality compared to the general population as observed in cases of other related coronavirus infections [including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)* and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)] and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, during pregnancy.”
“Pregnant healthcare personnel (HCP) should follow risk assessment and infection control guidelines for HCP exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Adherence to recommended infection prevention and control practices is an important part of protecting all HCP in healthcare settings. Information on COVID-19 in pregnancy is very limited; facilities may want to consider limiting exposure of pregnant HCP to patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, especially during higher risk procedures (e.g., aerosol-generating procedures) if feasible based on staffing availability.”
Essentially, the CDC does not know at this time if pregnant women are at a higher risk when working with COVID-19 patients because the evidence is limited. As a precaution, pregnant women may want to consider working in lower-risk areas where they have less exposure to COVID-19 patients.
The most important take away is to always take care of yourself first. You can’t care for your family and your patients if you become sick.
Radiation from diagnostic imaging
In the ER and on most floor units within the hospital, patients often receive portable X-rays at the bedside. So naturally, I was concerned about radiation exposure and how it could impact the health of my unborn child. I felt it was wise to air on the side of safety by not exposing myself to unnecessary radiation during pregnancy.
If you are in an area where x-rays are being taken, you must wear a lead radiation apron to protect yourself, especially if you are within six feet of the machine. If possible, it is also a good idea to step outside the room while the image is taken.
In my nursing experience, x-ray technicians usually notify anyone within the vicinity of where imaging is being taken. I was able to leave the area for a few minutes, whether I was wearing a lead apron or not.
Notify management of pregnancy
Wear lead radiation apron
Step outside of the room when portable x-rays are taking place
Dangers from working with chemo or other teratogenic medications
There is evidence that handling some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, can cause adverse reproductive outcomes, including fetal loss, miscarriage, infertility, and preterm births. In addition, it may cause learning disabilities in babies exposed to some drugs if nurses are exposed during pregnancy.
Nurses working in oncology or other areas where antineoplastics are prescribed may want to speak with management about the safest way to continue working. In addition, you can insist on getting help from co-workers or management to give teratogenic medications to patients. Moving to another work area may be a consideration if safety for the fetus is still a concern.
Wear protective equipment when giving medications
Ask for help from co-workers when working with teratogenic medications
Consider temporarily working in another area of the hospital during pregnancy as your management allows
As a pregnant ER nurse, I was very concerned with the risk of infection from patients such as c-diff, tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus, and influenza during my pregnancy. Since the ER is often the first stop in the hospital for sick patients, I often didn’t know that a patient had a contagious infection until after they had been admitted. By then it was too late to protect myself if I hadn’t already.
Pregnant women need to be especially proactive with protective equipment and hand hygiene. It is ideal for all hospital employees to have their measles, mumps, and varicella-zoster vaccinations before pregnancy (most facilities require these vaccinations to work anyway). Hep B and influenza vaccination can also safely be administered during pregnancy.
As an added precaution, I made sure to change my clothes and shoes before leaving the hospital to minimize the risk of work-to-home contamination. The first thing I did upon getting home was take a shower to rid myself of any other possible bugs I could have inadvertently carried home with me.
Stay up to date in all vaccines including the yearly flu vaccine
Adhere to strict universal precautions and hand hygiene
Request job modification to minimize exposure to specific patient populations
Minimize work-to-home contamination by changing work clothes and shoes before going home
Shower as soon as you get home from work
The physicality of nursing while pregnant
Being a nurse while pregnant is exceptionally hard work. Not only are we on our feet for up to 12 hours a day, but pregnant nurses are also carrying an extra 25-plus pounds towards the latter part of pregnancy. Additionally, the extra girth makes it significantly more challenging to fit into tight spaces.
Movement becomes even more awkward for pregnant nurses due to having an altered center of gravity. Also, high serum levels of progesterone and relaxin loosen muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues. For nurses who do a lot of heavy, repetitive work requiring lifting, pulling, or pushing their risk of musculoskeletal injury is increased.
It is wise for pregnant nurses to use patient transfer equipment and to ask co-workers for help with moving patients. However, if your work situation is still too physical for you to manage safely during pregnancy, you may want to consider a modified duty in a lower risk setting with a less physical patient load.
On another note, pregnant nurses also have a higher risk of developing varicose veins due to an increase in total blood volume caused by pregnancy. The added blood volume, combined with being on one’s feet all day, leads to poor circulation, puffy legs, and swollen ankles. Compression socks or stockings can help reduce the risk of blood clots and varicose veins as well as prevent swelling.
Pregnant nurses may want to inquire about modified duty
Understand how the altered center of gravity and hormonal changes in pregnancy predispose a nurse to injury (despite using best lifting practices)
I worked in our ER psychiatric hold area several times throughout my pregnancy. There were a few incidences where I had patients verbally threaten me or begin to escalate towards violence. I always had a security guard with me, and I stayed a reasonable distance away from patients when I felt that my safety could be at risk. I was likely overly cautious at times, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Violence against nurses is not uncommon, especially in the ER setting. Stay vigilant and keep away from any potentially threatening situations. If a patient is escalating towards violence, then leave and call for help immediately.
Working during flu season
The CDC recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot. Not only do hormone changes during pregnancy often make pregnant women more susceptible to getting the flu, but a common flu symptom is a fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby. Getting vaccinated can also help protect a baby after birth from flu through passive immunity.
My experience: The flu season in December 2017 was unusually bad. Many patients came to our ER for flu symptoms. Unfortunately, almost every nurse was infected with the flu or a cold at least once during the season. Myself, included.
At the time, I was over eight months pregnant, and I was struggling with how horrible I felt. I always get a flu shot to reduce my chances of getting sick during flu season. However, if I ever got pregnant again, I might consider starting my maternity leave towards the beginning of the flu season – especially, if I was that close to my due date.
An unexpected benefit of working as a nurse during pregnancy
One of the best gifts that pregnancy gave me was that it forced me to not be sedentary on days that I felt fatigued. (Although while you are carrying an extra 25-35 pounds of extra weight, you may not consider it a benefit).
Many studies show that not moving enough during pregnancy is bad for both mom and baby. If fact, exercise during pregnancy can boost your baby’s brain development and make them smarter. Who knew that working a 12-hour shift might promote health for both you and your unborn baby?
Good luck to you during your pregnancy and take care of yourself!
(This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure page for for information. Post updated 7/29/19).
Nurses need to be wearing compression socks or stockings for every shift. Especially nurses who are on their feet for 12 hour shifts!
I have been doing a bit of research lately on the effects of standing/walking for long hours. The reason for this is that I am an emergency room nurse who has worked on my feet all the way through two entire pregnancies – until just a few weeks before I gave birth.
I had no idea that being on my feet for such long hours could actually be bad for my health. I figured that standing and walking all day was better then sitting for long periods. As it turns out, that may not be true. Even for those who aren’t even pregnant.
Compression stockings are often overlooked as a way to prevent some of the chronic issues that come from working in a profession where you are on your feet for such long hours. There are enough occupational hazards for nurses as it is and this is an easier way for us to take better care of ourselves on the job!
Nurses are standing or walking most of the time which is why it is so important to wear compression socks or stockings.
How Do Compression Socks Help Nurses?
#1. Prevention of varicose veins
Standing for long periods of time causes valves in the veins to become weakened, causing blood to collect in the veins. This causes the veins to enlarge and increase in pressure. The veins then stretch from the increased pressure and cause varicose veins. Fortunately, varicose veins are not dangerous however then can be very painful.
#2. Improved blood flow and decreased risk of blood clots
There are a ton of studies out there on using compression stockings to prevent blood clots in patients recovering from surgery. As a nurse, I have helped my own patients use them many times. As it turns out, nurses should probably be using them too.
A study by The Society of Occupational Medicine found that wearing compression stockings significantly decreased lower limb venous pressure in nurses who stood for very long hours. The data found that compression stockings protected against oxidative stress in those who work in long-standing occupations.
#3. Decreased swelling of ankles and feet
I have been wearing graduated 30mm compression stockings for about the last 4 weeks during my 12 hour ER shifts. It has been a drastically better experience for me. I wouldn’t even consider going into work without them at this point because my legs start to hurt so badly by the end of the day.
Pregnancy exacerbates the problem of varicose veins and other venous issues since being pregnant increases blood flow in women by 50%. There are days when I hardly sit except for my 1 hour lunch break. That is a long time for anyone, much less a nurse who is already 7 months pregnant. If I didn’t wear compression stockings at this point, I don’t think I would even be able to make it through a shift.
Compression socks help nurses by preventing varicose views due to standing for long periods of time.
How do compression socks work?
Compression socks help increase circulation of blood flow and oxygen by helping increase the velocity, or speed of blood flow. By squeezing on the legs, the veins carrying blood to the heart are compressed. Think of how when you squeeze a hose, it squirts the water out faster. With compression stockings, the same volume of blood is able to move up the leg, but it has less area in which to move.
Compression socks and stockings help nurses by preventing varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time.
Waring compression takes some getting used to.
When I first started wearing compression stockings during my pregnancy I wasn’t happy about it. My doctor recommended them for me because she knew I was a nurse. I wore the ankle to waist 20-30mmHg compression stockings, and they are tight! It is not an exaggeration to say that it took at least 5 minutes to pull them up and get them situated. They are especially difficult to put on with a 7th month pregnant belly. I felt (and probably looked) like an awkward whale putting them on.
Compression socks or stockings are a non-negotiable for pregnant nurses… unless you enjoy varicose veins!
Now that I’m used to wearing compression stockings, I love them. I can’t believe I used to work 12 hour shifts without them.
I have spoken to a lot of other nurses who say the same thing. A male co-worker I spoke with recently in the ER wears knee high compression stockings and says his legs “still feel energized at the end of a shift.”
It makes sense that standing up and working on your feet all day would be problematic in a matter of time. Swelling, varicose veins and decreased blood flow seem like an obvious result of being on your feet for 12 hours a day. Why wasn’t I wearing compression stockings sooner?
As long as I am working as a nurse, compression stockings will be a part of my life. Having pain or discomfort due to my hard work as an RN is so not OK with me. I don’t want future circulation and venous issues due to the fact that I worked hard as a nurse.
As a mom of small babies and an ER nurse I certainly don’t need any more wear-and-tear on my body!
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