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It all happens so fast. First, the baby starts to roll and crawl. Then they start “cruising.” And finally, your sweet little bundle of joy takes his or her first Frankenstein steps. And just like that, you have a walker!
Now, I may have been a little over-prepared when it came to baby proofing our house. After all, I am an ER nurse, and I have seen what can happen when a home isn’t baby proofed.
I wrote this baby proofing checklist in honor of emergency nurses week and my desire to encourage other parents to take an active stance in baby-proofing their homes. If you are anything like us, you may be a tad bit sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. I hope this list helps to make it easier to create a more safe and baby-friendly home.
Why Is Baby Proofing So Essential?
Baby proofing is of paramount importance in creating a safe and secure environment for infants and toddlers. It involves taking preventive measures to minimize potential hazards and accidents in the home. By baby proofing, parents and caregivers can significantly reduce the risk of injuries and provide a nurturing space for their little ones to explore and grow.
Babies and toddlers can hurt themselves in an instant. The prevention of accidental injuries is the #1 reason why babies need safe physical boundaries in place.
Think of it like this: Playtime + baby-proofed home = safe space for growth and learning opportunities!
As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our kids are in a safe environment. Children need a secure place to get messy, play, explore, learn, and have fun. By prioritizing baby proofing, parents, and caregivers can provide a nurturing and protected space where their child can flourish and grow with confidence.
Here Are a Few Things To Consider When Baby Proofing Your Home:
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The first item on our baby proofing checklist is the safety gate. One second, your baby is playing in one spot, the next, they are on the other side of the house trying to open up the cutlery drawer in the kitchen. Once babies learn how to crawl or walk, they can be surprisingly fast! Safety gates help keep kiddos within a safe area. Remember that you want to make sure safety gates are screwed into the wall if they are at the top of a staircase.
Note: Although safety gates are a great way to keep your baby safer, it doesn’t mean that they can’t get hurt on them. A study from 2014 found that as many as 2,000 U.S. kids visit the emergency room for treatments resulting from injuries caused by climbing or falling through gates.
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Although they appear to be just tiny pieces of plastic, corner guards and edge bumpers have been instrumental in preventing a few very BIG injuries. Why? Because many corners on tables and shelves are at the same height as toddlers’ heads when they are standing (or worse, running). Hello, head injury!
If your toddler runs into the corner of a piece of furniture with a corner guard or edge bumper, they are much less likely to sustain a serious head injury.
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Doesn’t it seem as if toddlers like to explore every space you DON’T want them to be in? Small children are curious creatures, and forbidden places are exciting to them. They love testing their boundaries. Doorknob covers are great for keeping little ones out of the areas you don’t want them wandering into. Especially places like broom closets, bathrooms, or out the front door.
Door nob covers just spin in circles if a toddler tries to open them. But adults can easily open it by squeezing it tightly and turning the knob.
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Sliding door locks are important for baby-proofing for several reasons:
First, sliding doors can pose significant safety hazards for babies and young children. They can easily slide open, providing unrestricted access to areas that may be dangerous, such as balconies, swimming pools, or staircases. Installing a lock helps prevent accidental falls and keeps children away from potentially hazardous areas.
Second, sliding doors can be a pinch point for little fingers, and they can get trapped or injured if the doors are not properly secured. A lock prevents the doors from being easily opened or closed, reducing the risk of finger injuries.
Baby-proofing measures, including sliding door locks, provide peace of mind for parents and caregivers. Knowing that your child is safe and secure within the confines of your home allows you to focus on other tasks without constant worry.
Remember, it’s important to choose locks specifically designed for sliding doors and to install them correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, regularly check and maintain the locks to ensure they remain in good working condition.
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Toddlers love exploration and will open up every single drawer and cabinet in your home. And if there is one that isn’t locked, I assure you, they will find it! Use safety latches to keep household chemicals, cleaning supplies, and other hazardous things out of the reach of tiny hands.
There are several types of safety locks that you can buy depending on how much you want to spend and how much work you want to put in. We used these and they work great. You can install them instantly without any drilling and can uninstall them easily when you no longer need them.
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The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places in the house for a toddler. It wouldn’t be difficult for a tiny hand to reach up and turn on a stove the moment you are not looking. Stove knob covers work very much like doorknob covers and makes it impossible for a toddler to turn on.
Note: It is a good idea to get into a new habit of using only the rear stove burners to reduce the chances that your little ones can get burned. If you do need to use the front burners, always make sure the handles of any pots or pans are facing inwards so those little ones can’t pull them off the stove and sustain a burn injury.
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It is a good idea to secure all tip-able furniture to the wall. As toddlers become more mobile, they may climb on furniture, such as a bookshelf, causing it to tip over.
Second, in the event of an earthquake, you don’t want any heavy furniture falling over on the little humans below (we live in California, so we have to think about that here!). For aesthetics, you can anchor furniture from the backside, so you can’t even see it unless you are looking.
List of Things To Consider When Baby Proofing Your Home:
- Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Secure furniture, such as bookshelves and dressers, to the walls to prevent tipping.
- Cover electrical outlets with outlet covers or safety plugs.
- Use cordless window coverings or secure cords out of reach.
- Keep small objects and choking hazards out of reach.
- Lock cabinets and drawers with safety locks.
- Install window guards to prevent falls.
- Use door knob covers to limit access to certain rooms or areas.
- Secure heavy appliances, like TVs, to prevent tipping.
- Use corner guards or padding on sharp furniture edges and corners.
- Store cleaning supplies, medications, and other hazardous materials out of reach.
- Keep hot liquids and appliances, such as irons or curling irons, out of reach.
- Ensure that cords from blinds or curtains are not accessible to children.
- Cover sharp corners of tables or counters with edge protectors.
- Place safety covers on stove knobs to prevent accidental burns or gas leaks.
- Install toilet locks to prevent drowning hazards.
- Remove or secure any loose rugs or carpets to prevent trips and falls.
- Use baby gates to block off areas that may pose a risk.
- Check for and repair any loose or unstable banisters or railings.
- Keep plastic bags, including grocery bags, out of reach to prevent suffocation risks.
- Consider installing a baby monitor to keep an eye on your child at all times.
- Check for and repair any loose or exposed electrical wiring.
- Lock away firearms and ammunition in a secure location.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in appropriate areas of the home.
Remember that baby proofing should be tailored to your specific home and the developmental stage of your child. Regularly assess your surroundings for new hazards as your child grows and becomes more mobile.
Baby Proofing Frequently Asked Questions
When should baby proofing be done?
Baby proofing should ideally be done before your baby starts to crawl or explore their surroundings independently. This typically occurs around six to eight months of age. However, it’s never too early to start preparing your home for a safe environment, especially by removing potential hazards and ensuring that essential safety measures are in place.
What do I really need for baby proofing?
The specific baby proofing items you need may vary depending on your home’s layout and potential hazards. However, some common essential items for baby proofing include outlet covers, cabinet locks or latches, corner guards, furniture straps, baby gates, door stoppers, toilet locks, and stove knob covers. It’s important to assess your home and identify potential dangers to determine which specific baby proofing products are necessary for your situation.
At what age can you stop baby proofing?
The age at which you can stop baby proofing your home will vary from child to child. It generally depends on their developmental milestones and individual behaviors. As a general guideline, most experts suggest gradually removing baby proofing measures once your child reaches around two to three years old and demonstrates a good understanding of safety instructions and limitations. However, it’s essential to remember that every child develops at their own pace, so it’s crucial to assess their abilities and behavior before removing any safety precautions.
What is the average cost of baby proofing?
The cost of baby proofing can vary depending on the size of your home, the number of rooms you need to baby proof, and the specific products you choose. On average, you can expect to spend a few hundred dollars on baby proofing essentials. However, keep in mind that investing in safety measures for your child is invaluable, and there are budget-friendly options available for many baby proofing items.
Do you really need to baby proof?
Baby proofing is highly recommended to create a safe environment for your child as they explore their surroundings. It helps prevent accidents, injuries, and potential hazards that may be present in your home. While constant supervision is essential, baby proofing adds an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for parents and caregivers.
How can I baby proof cheap?
Baby proofing doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some cost-effective ways to baby proof your home:
- Use outlet covers: Affordable plastic outlet covers can help protect your baby from electrical outlets.
- Secure furniture: Use furniture straps or anchors to secure heavy furniture such as bookshelves and dressers to the wall, preventing tipping accidents.
- Repurpose household items: Use rubber bands or hair ties to secure cabinet doors, or repurpose socks as corner guards.
- Place foam or pool noodles on sharp edges: Cut pool noodles or foam pipe insulation and place them on sharp corners or edges to protect your baby from bumps and bruises.
- Use doorknob covers: Instead of buying expensive door locks, consider using doorknob covers to prevent your baby from entering certain rooms.
Remember, while cost-saving measures can be helpful, it’s crucial to ensure that the safety measures you implement are effective and reliable in protecting your child from potential hazards.
I hope you enjoyed reading this baby proofing checklist, written by an emergency room nurse & mom. It is always better to plan ahead and create safe spaces for our little ones. Accidents happen fast, but by setting up a few safety systems throughout the house, you can decrease the chances of having to take your child to the emergency room. Stay safe!
What are you doing to baby-proof your home?
Additional recommended reading:
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As a resource nurse who has worked in many specialties and units throughout the hospital setting, I have discovered that I am an ER nurse at heart.
Working in the ER is an adrenaline packed experience that requires a team of medical professionals to come together for amazing results. Through traumas, codes and septic patients we form strong bonds – after all it takes more than just one nurse to save a life!
Here are the reasons why I love being an ER nurse:
Camaraderie in the Emergency Department
What makes the ER truly exceptional are those moments when everyone comes together in a show of camaraderie – from physicians and nurses to pharmacists and techs – joining forces under pressing circumstances that demand quick thinking and action. This teamwork is the backbone that brings life-saving medical treatment, often just in time!
I have found that when I worked on med-surg floor units, nurses are typically assigned to the same patients for an entire day without much, if any, overlap with other nurses. I have also felt lonely on med surg units because I miss the camaraderie of working with other nurses.
The ER Gives Many Nurses Excellent IV Start Skills
Before becoming an ER nurse, my IV start skills were mediocre. The skill of starting IV’s quickly and correctly is so important in the ER – it often determines how fast a patient can receive life-saving medication or treatments. Over the years, I have had to start so many IV’s that my skills have greatly improved.
With the vast number of medical emergencies coming into the ER each day, it’s no wonder why nurses who work there are some of the best at starting intravenous lines. Having so many frequent opportunities to get IV access has meant a sharp increase in skill for me and other emergency room nurses – even when dealing with hard-to-stick veins.
In emergencies, ER nurses need to be able to gain access fast for testing, various medications, pain and nausea relief, IV hydration, and antibiotic therapy, among other things. Many nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade or longer, and their IV skills are unbelievable.
In addition, several experienced ER nurses have been trained to use ultrasound techniques for those particularly challenging cases. So if you want valuable IV start skills quickly, then work where opportunity knocks most often – the ER! It’s the perfect place to hone your IV start skills and ensure every patient gets the care they need.
Diverse Patient Populations in the ER
From the tiniest newborns to centenarians, life in an ER is definitely never dull. Caring for a wide-ranging patient population provides unique opportunities and challenges with every new case. As an emergency room nurse, you’ll have plenty of chances to learn about all sorts of illnesses, injuries, and trauma – from organ transplants to autoimmune diseases – making your workdays excitingly unpredictable yet incredibly rewarding.
There is rarely a dull moment, and always something new to learn in the the ER enviornment.
Organized Chaos in the ER
It is never boring or tedious in the ER, or at least not for long! The emergency room is a fine-tuned machine, with each nurse component working semi-gracefully around one another. It might look like craziness from the outside, but the madness always has a method. I often struggle with the tediousness of tasks when working on a med surg unit. It is usually jam-packed but very task-based. The to-do lists can get a little ridiculous.
Intellectual Stimulation as a Healthcare Provider in the ER
I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries, and unusual diagnoses than I ever could have imagined even existed. It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things every day at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive to help people as I do. They motivate me to keep learning.
The ER Helps Me Maintain My Sense Of Humor.
Sometimes things just get so odd that I can’t help but laugh.
There are days when I see people come into the ER saying that they are dying but end up with a diagnosis of constipation.
Once, I had a college student come in because he had a 99 degree temperature. I had to explain to him that he didn’t have a fever and he was sent home.
The emergency room is also a very emotional place. Patients never want to be there and usually don’t understand, for example, why they have to wait in the hallway an hour or even much longer until we know their blood test results, or the medical team decides on a plan for them. They get upset and tired of waiting.
Sadly, sometimes they take out their frustrations on the people working the hardest to get them the medical treatment they need: the nurses. I have had so many “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” experiences in the emergency room to last me a lifetime.
But that’s one of the reasons I love being an ER nurse versus other parts of the hospital. It can get weird, but I’m always learning. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to keep learning.
Emergency Room Nurse Frequently Asked Questions
Why do nurses like being an ER nurse?
There can be several reasons why someone enjoys being an ER nurse. Some common reasons include the fast-paced nature of the emergency department, the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives during critical moments, the variety of cases encountered, the ability to work in a dynamic team environment, and the satisfaction of providing immediate care to patients in need.
Why is being an ER nurse rewarding?
Being an ER nurse can be rewarding for several reasons. ER nurses often have the chance to save lives, alleviate suffering, and provide critical care to patients during their most vulnerable moments. The ability to make a positive impact on patients’ lives and the gratitude expressed by patients and their families can be deeply rewarding.
Is being an ER nurse worth it?
The worthiness of being an ER nurse is subjective and depends on individual preferences and values. While the profession can be challenging due to the high-stress environment, long hours, and exposure to traumatic situations, many ER nurses find fulfillment in their work, the camaraderie with colleagues, the opportunities for professional growth, and the ability to help others during times of crisis.
What is the personality of an ER nurse?
The personality traits commonly associated with successful ER nurses include adaptability, resilience, quick thinking, effective communication skills, compassion, emotional stability, the ability to work well under pressure, and a strong desire to help others. However, it’s important to remember that individuals can possess a wide range of personalities and still excel as an ER nurse.
What are the struggles of an ER nurse?
Some common struggles faced by ER nurses include dealing with high levels of stress, long and unpredictable shifts, emotional and physical exhaustion, witnessing traumatic events, balancing work-life commitments, managing a heavy workload, and making quick decisions under pressure. Additionally, ER nurses may encounter challenging patient interactions, difficult family dynamics, and ethical dilemmas.
What is the hardest thing a nurse has to do?
The “hardest” aspect of nursing can vary depending on personal experiences and perspectives. Some nurses may find it difficult to witness the suffering or loss of patients, while others may struggle with the emotional toll of the job. Additionally, ethical dilemmas, managing complex medical cases, and dealing with difficult patients or family members can also be challenging.
How long does it take to feel comfortable as an ER nurse?
The time it takes to feel comfortable as an ER nurse can vary from person to person. It generally depends on an individual’s prior experience, the level of support and training provided, and the ability to adapt to the fast-paced and unpredictable environment. It may take several months to a couple of years for a nurse to gain confidence and feel fully comfortable in their role.
Why do ER nurses take so long?
The duration of an ER nurse’s work can be influenced by various factors. Emergency departments typically prioritize patients based on the severity of their conditions. This means that patients with life-threatening emergencies are seen first, while those with less severe conditions may have to wait longer. Additionally, the complex nature of emergency cases, unexpected surges in patient volume, limited resources, and administrative tasks can contribute to longer wait times.
What is the most stressful nursing department?
The perceived level of stress in nursing departments can vary among individuals. However, emergency departments (EDs) are often considered one of the most stressful areas in nursing due to the fast-paced environment, high patient acuity, constant decision-making, the need for quick interventions, exposure to trauma, and the pressure to provide immediate care in life-threatening situations.
Thanks for reading!
Additional Recommended Reading:
*This post contains affiliate links/ Updated from 12/2017
Preparing for 12-hour shifts as a registered nurse requires some prearranged groundwork and organization at home to ensure my day starts off on the right foot. As a working mom, I know I will be gone for a large chunk of time, so I do my best to make sure things are properly set up at home the day before.
Additionally, as a nurse, I know how important it is that I take good care of myself so I can continue to give the best possible care to my family and patients. After all, I can’t expect others to listen to me when I talk about health about staying healthy if I don’t take my own advice.
How I Prepare For a 12-Hour Shift
#1. Prepare All Meals In Advance
I grocery shop every three days so I am able to prepare meals for my toddlers and for each of my 12-hour shifts at the hospital in advance. To avoid scrambling at the last minute, I always make sure everything is ready and packaged to go the night before.
I prepare several options for the kids’ breakfasts, lunch, and dinner, including:
- Avocado or almond toast
- Bananas, apples, kiwis, various berries
- Black bean or chickpea pasta
- Cheese squares
- Veggies straws with hummus
- Veggie/fruit smoothies
- Sautéed veggies
In addition, one day per week I make a big batch of quinoa or brown rice and keep it handy in the fridge for quick meal preparation. When I need it, I add veggies, nuts, seeds, dried cranberries, olive oil, tempeh, or whatever else I have in the fridge at that moment. This is so convenient because I can whip something up quickly for my work lunches, and I also have it on days I’m home with the kids.
In fact, I use it at least once or twice a day! I make everything from veggie smoothies to salad dressings, to soups and blended coffee drinks. It makes my life so much easier, especially now that we have kids and time is limited.
In the mornings, I make a vegetable and berry smoothie with one tablespoon of Maca powder, flaxseed and/or hemp seeds for protein, and acai powder. I alternate my veggies between broccoli, spinach, and kale. For the berry part: strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, although sometimes ill add half a banana or mango.
I also make several mason jars of overnight oats on Sundays with a variety of flavors:
- Peanut butter and maple
- Banana and walnut
- Almond and raisin
I either add ground flax seeds or chia seeds for extra protein and antioxidant benefits. And I’ll top it with a dash of cinnamon. These make such an easy breakfast to go!
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#2. Sleep As Much As Possible Before a 12-Hour Shift
Let’s be honest – 12-hour shifts usually end up being closer to 14+ at the end of the day. And many studies show that working 12-hour shifts are damaging to nurse health due to the length of time that nurses end up working. In fact, an increased risk of depression, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even some cancers have all been researched and publicized.
Since the shifts are not getting shorter anytime soon, the best thing that nurses can do to take care of themselves is to rest as much as possible before shifts. Therefore, I make it a huge priority to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep before shifts. (This was so much easier before we had kids!)
A Few Things I Use To Help Me Sleep Better At Night:
Eye Mask and Earplugs
After having kids, I realized that I am an incredibly light sleeper. In fact, even the slightest noises wake me up in the middle of the night. And sometimes, I have difficulty falling back asleep again, which is so frustrating when I work a 12-hour shift in the morning.
Blackout Sleep Mask
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Restorative Yoga Poses
I keep a yoga pillow and a yoga mat right next to the bed that I use for restorative yoga poses about 20 minutes before I try to go to sleep. It helps decompress me from my day, check in with myself, and put me into a snug and sleepy mood.
Heathyoga Eco-Friendly Non-Slip Yoga Mat
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AJNA Yoga Bolster Pillow -100% Organic Vegan Suede
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#3. Exercise On Days Off
I always feel so much better when I get my heart rate up on my days off. The benefits of exercise have been well documented and are essential for nurse self-care. It is no secret that regular exercise helps control weight, boosts overall energy, improves your mood, and decreases stress levels. Not only does exercise benefit the nurse personally, but it also helps nurses have the stamina to give better care to patients as well.
Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A yoga session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Which, in turn, will help manage caregiver’s burden and help you feel your best.
For me personally, yoga has been a total game-changer for my stress levels. But it’s also great to change up the routine a bit, and I enjoy escaping with my headphones for a run and listening to music. Whatever you do is great as long as you actually do it!
#4. Wear Compression Socks
These don’t actually help me prepare for a shift; however, they are super important!. Those who know me, know I’m a stickler for compression socks. Wearing compression stockings helped me work all the way through two pregnancies and I continue to wear them at work to this day. They help keep your legs energized, prevent varicose veins, and keep your ankles and feet from getting so swollen after being on your feet all day. Plus, they come in the cutest styles now.
6-Pack Compression Socks
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♥ Over 50,000 global reviews/ 4.5 out of 5 stars
Nurses play a crucial role in the healthcare industry and are essential in providing quality care to patients. However, in the midst of their demanding and often stressful work, nurses tend to neglect their own health and well-being.
It is important for nurses to prioritize self-care and take the necessary steps to maintain their physical, emotional, and mental health. This will not only benefit you personally but also ensure you can continue to provide excellent care to your patients. Therefore, it is imperative that nurses recognize the importance of self-care and make it a priority in their lives.
Thanks, and best of luck!
How To Prepare For A 12-Hour Shift Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prepare my body for a 12-hour shift?
Preparing your body for a 12-hour shift is important to avoid fatigue and reduce the risk of injury. Here are some tips:
- Get enough sleep the night before.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet and stay hydrated.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and clothing.
- Take breaks and stretch throughout the shift.
- Practice good posture and ergonomics.
- Stay mentally alert with activities like listening to music or podcasts during breaks.
What should a 12-hour nursing shift eat?
A balanced diet is important for nurses working 12-hour shifts. Here are some tips for healthy eating during a long shift:
- Eat a nutritious breakfast before your shift.
- Bring healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, or vegetables to eat throughout the day.
- Pack a balanced lunch with protein, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks and excessive caffeine.
- Avoid heavy, greasy meals that can make you feel sluggish.
How far does a nurse walk during an average 12-hour shift?
Nurses can walk several miles during a 12-hour shift, depending on the unit and patient population. On average, a nurse may walk between 4 and 6 miles per shift.
How much sleep do I need for a 12-hour shift?
The amount of sleep you need for a 12-hour shift will vary depending on your individual needs. However, it is generally recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
How to survive three 12-hour shifts in a row?
Surviving three 12-hour shifts in a row can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you manage:
- Get enough sleep and rest between shifts.
- Stay hydrated and eat nutritious meals.
- Take breaks and stretch throughout the shift.
- Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.
- Use your days off to rest and recharge.
What are the disadvantages of nurses working 12-hour shifts?
Some of the disadvantages of working 12-hour shifts for nurses include:
- Increased risk of burnout and fatigue.
- Difficulty maintaining work-life balance.
- Increased risk of workplace injuries.
- Potential negative impact on patient safety and quality of care.
- Potential negative impact on personal relationships and mental health.
Why are 8-hour shifts better than 12-hour shifts for nursing?
Some of the advantages of 8-hour shifts over 12-hour shifts for nursing include:
- Lower risk of burnout and fatigue.
- Easier to maintain work-life balance.
- More opportunities for education and training.
- Lower risk of workplace injuries.
- Potential for improved patient safety and quality of care.
Additional recommended reading:
*This post about financial planning for nurses contains affiliate links.
Nurses work hard for the money. But they need to be saving more of it. Unquestionably, this is the best financial advice for nurses today.
During my first few tumultuous weeks as a new grad nurse, a mentor with over 20 years of nursing experience gave me some invaluable advice, “Save your money now,” she said. “Pay off your school loans and automate your savings so you don’t even see it. “As a second career nurse, I already had a decent 401k from a previous career selling medical equipment, but it was great advice that I needed to be reminded of now that I was beginning my new career as an RN.
Over the years, I have found that nurses are very good at worrying about the health and well-being of others before their own. Our financial health needs to be given as much attention as we devote to our patients.
Everything in nursing is evidence-based. Are nurses ignoring the evidence that compounding interest is the secret to growing wealth slowly and ensuring their financial health into their golden years?
The best financial advice for nurses is to start saving more money for retirement at a younger age.
Are nurses making what they are worth?
Many nurses choose the profession because they are passionate about patient care and they want to make a positive impact in the world – not because they are trying to become millionaires. But nurses still deserve to make a decent living and have the ability to afford decent retirement savings by the time 70 rolls around. Unfortunately, many nurses are deferring retirement because they simply cannot afford it.
Recently, someone said to me that they thought nurses made too much money. My jaw practically hit the floor. “Too much?” I must have heard that wrong. Is it possible that what he meant was “too little?” Unfourtunately, I heard it right the first time.
So I asked, “How much is your life worth?” As an emergency room nurse, I work with the most kick-ass, life-saving nurses out there. All the nurses at my hospital are breaking their backs to help people. Yet, despite our sacrifices, we are increasingly underappreciated for the hard work we do. (By the way, he never told me how much he thought his life was worth. He just kept insisting that we are so overpaid for the work we do).
What is the future of nursing going to look like?
I live in California, where we still are fortunate enough to have this thing called “safe patient ratios.” And we still have a nursing union, so I consider myself luckier than many nurses. I hear the nursing conditions in some states are deplorable. (Although, due to a recent vote in the Supreme Court, both our union and safe patient ratios may be in jeopardy of going away here someday as well).
In light of this and other new developments, I foresee a few changes within my workplace and the nursing field that may negatively affect my working conditions. Healthcare is a business in the United States. Nurses are in the business of saving human lives, while our hospitals are in the business of saving money. What profession do you think will be the first to take a pay cut?
Is the wear and tear of nursing worth it?
Not to keep harping on the bad, but while I’m at it, there’s this: I worry about how long I can physically be a hospital nurse before I hurt myself. I have been a nurse for seven years, and I am already experiencing chronic back pain.
Many hospitals are failing to protect the nursing staff from becoming patients. And studies are showing that proper technique when moving patients still exposes nurses’ spines to dangerous forces. In light of these concerns, I am exploring other ways I can continue to practice nursing outside of the hospital setting.
Nurse, save your money now.
I am saving and investing as much money as I can with each paycheck. It is the wise thing to do, and frankly, who knows how long I will be able to work. Besides, there will always be employers out there who want to pay nurses less than we deserve. We can’t just keep taking care of everybody else’s needs to the detriment of our financial well-being.
If you are not already, save as much as you can now and make your savings automatic. This is singularly the best financial advice for nurses. Your future self will thank you for it.
Additional Recommend Reading:
If you have taken a peek over at my About Me page you may have read that nursing was NOT my first career. If fact, I did’t even discover that I had a calling for nursing until after I had been working in the medical sales field for about 9 years.
Ill press rewind for just a minute… Once upon a time, I worked in the competitive field of surgical equipment sales for a fortune 100 company and a few medical device startups.
I knew I didn’t love the career, but I made a pretty good living. It also allowed me to travel for work and I was able to afford to take a lot of incredible overseas trips. After a few years in the sales grind, I knew I wanted to do other things. The problem was that my resume said I was a medical device salesperson. So what was I supposed to do?
That voice in the back of my head continued gnawing at me, little by little. Every day a small piece of my soul was being eaten up by working in a career that I had no real passion for.
Until finally one day, after a near mental break down I made the difficult decision to leave the field. I went on a quest in pursuit of greater clinical medical knowledge and a desire to help humankind. After years of scratching my head I had finally discovered my new path.
I was going to become a Nurse!
It has been 9 years since my near mental breakdown that forced me to make an incredible life change. Nursing school was one of the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But I am so thankful everyday that I did it. Ultimately, it was the best decision for myself and and for my family.
Here I am showing off my badge bloom…
My whole point in writing this post was to talk about a really cool experience that I had recently…
A journalist at the Huntington Post recently contacted me through my blog. She asked if my husband and I would be interested in being interviewed for a piece that she was doing about what it was like being married to an ER nurse. Of course I said yes!
(I was a journalism major in college and still have an itch to write, which is one of the reasons I blog).
Nursing is challenging.
I want to be an advocate for nurses because I think we tolerate things that would never be tolerated in any other field (but we do it anyway because we’re awesome). I also really, really want to find a way to help nurses take better care of themselves. Plus, I am extremely passionate about being a nurse and have a passion for helping others. So, I was excited to share some of my thoughts (and I was also intrigued to see what my husband had to say about being married to an ER nurse).
If you are still reading this and want to take a look at our Huffington Post article you can read it here.
Thank you for reading my blog and free free to leave a comment. I appreciate that your took the time to read this!