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What Workplace Hazards Do Nurses Face On A Daily Basis?

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Singh 92% (193 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurvedic Doctor, Lakhimpur Kheri
What Workplace Hazards Do Nurses Face On A Daily Basis?

In the event of the International Nurses Day, let us admire how brave and selfless nurses all over the world are. They are our most important line of defense against illness. They dedicate their lives to aiding the sick and the ailing. And sometimes this exposes them to grave dangers. But still, they carry on with their duties relentlessly, even if it means endangering their lives. Nurses are true superheroes.

Let us look at the many workplace hazards that nurses have to contend with-

The risks of the nursing profession

Many surveys have found that nursing is one of the most hazardous professions. It may surprise you but, this profession is almost as dangerous as firefighting, construction work or law enforcement because of the element of the unforeseeable such as the sudden outbreak of a disease and unavailability of protective gear.

So, here are some challenges that every nurse has to deal with-

  • Physical stress - The stark reality is that nurses have to work long shifts that sometimes stretch to 12 hours. They have to be continuously on their feet, do the rounds, help patients sit up, carry them if necessary, administer medicines and injections, and see to all the patients’ needs. This amounts to immense physical strain. Backache and musculoskeletal pain and injuries are reported by many nurses.

  • Overtime and burnout - Since there are never enough healthcare professionals, nurses almost always have to work overtime. Overtime once or twice a month is not harmful to health, but chronic overtime is dangerous. It can lead to extreme exhaustion when the body gives out. Burnout makes it impossible for the nurse to cope with daily necessities and tasks. It affects metabolism and changes a person’s eating habits. This can lead to

  1. Malnutrition
  2. Anorexia
  3. Bulimia
  4. Obesity
  5. Anaemia

Burnout causes emotional stress as well-

  1. Indifference towards people
  2. Losing interest in the profession (in this case nursing)
  3. Feeling numb and drained
  4. Mood swings
  5. Reduced productivity
  • Working the ‘graveyard shift’ -Humans are by evolution diurnal creatures. Our body is not equipped to deal with staying up all night. Frequent nightshifts are mandatory for all nurses and this can wreak their circadian rhythm or body clock.

Since the circadian rhythm practically controls all the vital functions of the body, there will disruptions in the following-

  1. Sleep-wake pattern
  2. Heart rate
  3. Oxygen absorption
  4. Regulation of body temperature
  5. Metabolism rate
  • Stress and insomnia -The extreme demands of the nurses’ profession trigger stress, anxiety and depression. These psychological conditions have terrible repercussions on their lives and mental wellbeing. But anxiety and depression have a physical impact as well. It can trigger insomnia. Irregular work hours are another reason behind it. Insomnia can lead to-

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Poor immunity
  3. Increased risk of heart diseases and diabetes
  • Contagious diseases - The risk of infection is perpetual in the life of a nurse. Communicable diseases are deadly and an infection can pose as a threat to the life of the nurse. Nurses come in direct contact with infected people and their bodily fluids such as saliva, snot, blood etc. Communicable diseases can enter their systems both directly and indirectly (through objects touched by infected patients). Nurses are at a high risk of contracting-

  1. Respiratory illnesses like coronavirus, SARS, MERS
  2. Influenza
  3. Hepatitis
  4. Tuberculosis
  5. HIV
  6. Typhoid
  7. Chickenpox
  8. E-Coli
  9. Measles
  • Skin allergies - Nurses have to wear latex gloves and protective facemask every day. Prolonged usage and sensitive skin can trigger allergies and dermatitis.

  • Exposure to hazardous substances - Nurses are exposed to toxic matter almost every day. Hospital waste that includes chemical and biological disposables and used syringes if not handled properly can be dangerous. Sterilizing and chemotherapy drugs and cleaning agents also pose a risk. Nurses working in the radiology department regularly come in contact with dangerous rays. Exceeding exposure limits can be catastrophic.

Without nurses, the healthcare system would fail completely. So it is the humanitarian duty of the authorities to ensure that they are getting the rest and protection they need to stay healthy. Nurses themselves should adopt a few measures like eating healthily, exercising and sleeping sufficiently to stay as fit as possible.

Five Practices For Nurses To Beat Stress At Work!

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Singh 92% (193 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurvedic Doctor, Lakhimpur Kheri
Five Practices For Nurses To Beat Stress At Work!

Nursing is a noble profession and those in this field are nothing short of superheroes. Whether your job involves taking care of the sick and ailing in the General Ward, assisting the surgeon in the OT, or attending to a critically injured patient in the ICU, long hours, heavy workload, physically demanding tasks, and emergencies – all these may put you in a stressful situation at work. In due course, burn-out and stress can affect your physical and mental health, even career.

Here are a few tips on how to beat stress on the job for all those nurses out there–

  • Get to the root of the problem - Identifying the root cause of stress can help you overcome it. Even though certain aspects of nursing (e.g. – compassion fatigue, workload etc.) are potentially stressful to all, there are other aspects unique to the individual (e.g. – work-life balance, conflict with colleagues etc.). The source of stress may also vary from one speciality to another. For instance, paediatric nurses have to deal with the stressful situation related to the vulnerability of age of younger patients while nurses in the emergency department are under continuous pressure owing to their fast-paced work environment. Therefore recognizing the various types of stress on the job is crucial to cope with the situation.

  • Take short breaks - Nurses often have to work overtime to attend to patients in the event of an emergency. No matter how tight your schedule may be, give yourself a break amid all the chaos. Taking short breaks in between work not only reduces stress, but also offers a host of benefits – increased productivity, creativity, and more time to reflect on how to go about through the rest of the day. So, whenever possible, go for a short walk and take a breather.

  • Look after yourself - Nurses are known to work with dedication and compassion towards their patients. But when work stress bleeds over into your personal life, you may soon lose your sense of self. As a result, you may end up ignoring your health and well-being. The best way to deal with this is a little self-care. Listen to your body – eat right, exercise daily, get adequate sleep, and pamper yourself. Practising self-care is a great and effective way to deal with the ongoing stress at work.

  • Eat a healthy meal - The burn-out and stress of nursing job affect your physical health more than you realize. Working a night shift or for 10-12 hours daily, continuously being on your feet, doing the rounds and looking after the patients – all these amounts to immense physical strain. Therefore, you must eat a healthy meal to keep your body fit and in good health.

  • Stay organized - Staying organized at the workplace allows you easy access to nursing equipment and tools needed to complete the tasks effectively. Prepare a checklist of all the tasks that need to be attended on priority and on time through the day. That way, you can take stay prepared for the day and take control of the situation better when things go a little out of hands.

Apart from following these easy tips to manage stress at work, nurses should also practice certain relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation regularly to relieve mental stress and rejuvenate the mind and body. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system, and if their health fails, the entire system would fall. Therefore, they must take good care of themselves, just as they do for the patients.

Is Your Work Making You Unhappy?

Psychiatrist, Mumbai
Is Your Work Making You Unhappy?

Anxiety, depression and substance use disorders are on the rise in people working in MNC's.
Few of the reasons given by my patients are:
1. Long and erratic working hours
2. Office politics
3. Competitiveness amongst colleagues &
4. The pressure to meet deadlines/ targets.

In the long run, these plus many other stresses in their personal life, add up and exceed the brain's capacity to handle pressure.
The outcome is sleep problems, excessive alcohol/smoking (to counter stress) and eventually anxiety and depression.
This is a vicious cycle- stress leads to anxiety/depression, to relieve anxiety/ stress a person consumes alcohol and smokes which in turn increases anxiety and depression.

In order to remain mentally fit, you can try to:
1. Take leave every few months and give yourself rest
2. Spend quality time with family and friends
3. Stay away from office politics if that's a trigger
4. Limit your alcohol and smoking
5. Pick up a sport/ some form of relaxation exercise
6. Develop good sleep hygiene
7. Introspect

If ever you feel that you're not able to handle the stress, talk to your family and friends. If that doesn't help then don't shy away from consulting a psychiatrist- because the earlier you start treatment the better it is.

1 person found this helpful

Suicidal Thoughts - How To Help Someone Get Over Them?

Psychologist, Jalgaon
Suicidal Thoughts - How To Help Someone Get Over Them?

A suicidal patient will not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that he/she doesn’t need it. People who become suicidal do not necessarily want to end their lives, they just want their sufferings to end. You can prevent suicide by recognizing the warning signs and by taking necessary actions. If you think a friend or a family member is undergoing too much stress and suffering and is considering suicide, please talk to him/her. You may feel scared to bring up the subject but talking to them about their suicidal thoughts and feelings is the only way to help them.

When you see or know someone in pain who wants to end their life, follow these steps to help them get through their suicidal thoughts.

  1. Talk, talk and talk: Let the person know you care about him/her and that they aren’t alone. Listen to what they want to share and help them vent their feelings and anger. Be sympathetic, calm and non-judgmental while listening to their feelings. Offer hope by reassuring the person that help is available, and these feelings are temporary. Let them know the importance of their life to you and to their family and friends.
  2. Get professional help: Do everything you can to get help for a suicidal person. Call an emergency mental help facility for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to seek professional aid and visit a mental health counsellor. Help locate a good psychiatrist or make the doctor’s appointment for them.
  3. Follow-up: Make note of what the doctor prescribes - be it medications or just therapy. Make sure the suicidal person is following the instructions given and taking the medicines on time. Know the side effects of the medicines and notify the doctor in case the person gets worse. It takes time and persistence to find the right treatment plan for every suicidal person.
  4. Be proactive: The person contemplating suicide often feels they cannot be helped. So, you need to be more proactive in offering help. Drop by every alternate day and call daily to check on them. Just don’t stop at saying, “call me if you need anything," as it sounds too vague and it’s very likely that the person will not bother calling.
  5. Positive affirmations: Maintain a positive atmosphere around the suicidal person. Encourage them with positive affirmations and healthy lifestyle changes to keep them healthy and happy. Ensure that a healthy diet, 30 minutes of exercise and plenty of sleep forms part of their day. Daily exercise is important as exercising releases endorphins which are happy hormones that help relieve stress and promote emotional well-being.
  6. Plan: Make the person develop a set of steps that they should follow during their suicidal crisis. Help them identify their trigger that leads to the suicidal crisis such as the anniversary of a loss, alcohol or stress due to work or love relationships. Include contact numbers of the therapist, as well as close friends and family members along with yours who will be there in case of an emergency.
  7. Continue your support long-term: Even after the immediate suicidal tendency has passed, stay in touch with the person and periodically keep checking on them. Your support is necessary to ensure their well-being and that they remain on the track to recovery.

There are times when you may fail despite following all these steps. Do not blame yourself. You did the right thing by helping the suicidal person. Just follow the above steps and try to help as many people as possible.
Mental well-being is the most important and needed state in order to be healthy. Stay happy, stay healthy!

3032 people found this helpful

Ways To Stave Off Stress At Work!

Dr. Meghna 88% (19 ratings)
MSC in Psychology (Counselling)
Psychologist, Delhi
Ways To Stave Off Stress At Work!

The business world has evolved in the past few decades in such a manner where small businesses grow to become corporate. The world is increasingly being dominated by corporations and a significant number of people also work in these places.

Stress and The Corporate World:

One of the things that come along with the corporate environment is stress as it brings with it an entirely new lifestyle. Irregular food habits, odd shift durations, insufficient sleeping hours and extremely tough work situations are all part and parcel of this corporate world. Although highly rewarding in the path of materialistic pursuits, it squeezes out your life-force and pushes you to stress and other diseases such as:

  1. Depression

  2. Diabetes

  3. Blood Pressure

  4. Asthma

  5. Migraines and

  6. Acidity and other gastrointestinal problems just to mention a few.

Methods to Deal with Stress in the Corporate World:

In the corporate world, the level of stress proliferates quickly and very few workplaces actually harbor a healthy atmosphere to look after their employees. Thus you have to take steps to reduce stress by yourself. Here are some of the ways by which you can save yourself from the parasite of stress.

  1. You may often feel everything around you going haywire in your workplace. The next time you have this notion, try gathering your focus on everything that is going right instead. Let optimism fill your day and keep your cool knowing that losing it will only cause you harm.

  2. At work, when hours fall short for achieving your target, keep a To-Do list to manage your priorities in an efficient and organized way.

  3. For most people work seems to engulf their entire life. Do not allow this to happen at any cost. Maintain a healthy balance between your office and your personal commitments. Make time for the people you love.

  4. Take short breaks in between your work to rejuvenate your energy level.

  5. Try out methods of relaxation, for instance, a long walk, a hot bath, yoga or meditation.

  6. Assess your work at the end of the day as well as set a schedule plan for the tasks to be completed on the following day.

  7. Engage in hobbies like drawing, painting, dancing and gardening or music to disconnect from the pressures of the corporate world.

  8. Pay a visit to a psychologist or a stress management workshop to de-stress yourself.

1333 people found this helpful

How To Handle A Toxic Work Environment?

Dr. Zafar A Khan 89% (56 ratings)
PGD in Clinical Psychology, MA Clinical Psychology, Mphil Psychology, Diploma in HIV and Family Education
Psychologist, Bhopal
How To Handle A Toxic Work Environment?

We spend the majority of our waking hours in an office. Naturally, the atmosphere of the office affects the way we perceive things around us, our moods, passions and personality. How do you like your office atmosphere? Do you enjoy working with your colleagues? Do you feel respected? It is essential for you to have an affirmative answer to each of these questions, for your own good. But if not, what can you do? 

1. Shift

Staying in a negative space will pull you down and harm you. If possible, ask to be transferred to another department. Few of us have the luxury of quitting on a whim. So, update your resume and spread the word that you're looking for a change. Don't quit your current job without having a back-up plan in place. However, when looking for a new job, keep the things you don't like about your current job in mind, so that you don't find yourself in a similar situation again. 

2. Find like-minded people

No matter how many colleagues you don't get along with, there must be a few you like. Watch their back and ask them to watch yours. Whenever you hear of anything that might affect the people around you, share the news with them but with discretion. Limit your interaction with people who pull you down and drain your energy. 

3. Document everything

Don't let things come to a 'my word against yours' situation. This can be very stressful and harm your health. As far as possible, ensure all your communication is recorded in the form of emails, messages etc. Do not rely on someone else to take notes at meetings, rather make your own. Keeping a work diary is a good idea. 

4. Lead by example

Negative people feed off the negativity around them. If you are a positive person, they will gradually begin avoiding you themselves or you might even make a positive impact on them. Respect people you work with and you will get their respect in return. Before condemning people, take a look at yourself and ensure that you aren't doing anything to attract that kind of behaviour. 

5. Do something about it

Complaining can get things off your chest but often do nothing to change the situation. Be a part of the solution to the negativity in your office. Be regular with your own work and stick to your deadlines. If you need something, follow up with people instead of expecting them to follow up with you. 

Lastly, don't try too hard to change the system. You can only control your own life. If you see your efforts going to waste, get back to that resume and start sending it out.

1254 people found this helpful

Know How Can Stress Affect Fertility In Women!

MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology, PGD Ultrasonography
Gynaecologist, Ghaziabad
Know How Can Stress Affect Fertility In Women!

In today’s modern, fast-paced society, it is easy for people to become stressed. In fact, one would almost think that being stressed is the “in” thing, and if you aren’t stressed it must mean there is something wrong with you! Realistically, however, stress is not a good thing for our bodies in general and has a very real impact on your fertility.

Can Stress Have an Effect on Your Fertility?

If your mind and body are under stress your body is signalled to release a hormone - Adrenalin. This is a stress relieving hormone and gives your body the rush to face the stress. This hormone inhibits the utilization of the hormone Progesterone, which is essential for fertility. Also during stress Prolactin, another hormone is relapsed which also interferes with infertility. Hence to conceive its essential that your anxiety levels are under control.

How Stress Impacts Fertility?

Recent research tells us that stress boosts levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, catecholamines and cortisol, which can inhibit the release of the body’s main hormone, GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone), which is responsible for the release of sex hormones. Subsequently, this may suppress ovulation in women, reduce sperm count in men and lower libido in both women and men.

Chronic Stress also decreases libido: 

Chronic stress may cause lack of libido as well as a decrease in general fertility. This has become such a common issue that they have created a name for its Stress Induced Reproductive Dysfunction. These facts are very important to consider if you have been trying to conceive with no results. It also shows that stress relief should be a part of every couple's conception plan even if they are going through IVF.

Ways to reduce stress & improve fertility:

If you are having difficulty to conceive, it's imperative that you get fertility tests done and also evaluate your life. Look out for the stress points that may be hindering a relationship. Remember defeating the stress may be the solution to your worries.

  1. Reduce stress in your life: The issues in your life may be work or result related. You need to learn to balance your personal and professional life. The sooner you do it the better; after all, you are preparing yourself to welcome a newborn in your life.
  2. Change your reactions: Get a hang of the situation and react accordingly. Overreaction to a situation can harm your body and mind. Stop bothering so much about the future.
  3. Let few things be the way they are: Stop getting bothered about people. Remember by nature everything will fall in place. Let a few things be the way they are.
  4. Make it your habit to reduce stress: Call it an obsession or a practice, train your mind to choose options where there is less stress.
  5. Sleep well: A good rest is essential for a healthy mind and body. Meditate, do yoga or seek counselling. Go for facials if it soothes you.

Please note that if your fertility reports are normal, then it's just a matter of time. Give you, your partner and your body time. There are certain medical complications or disorders that can also be responsible for infertility. Be calm and composed so that you are able to face the rough waters clearly with your partner.

4321 people found this helpful

Stress - Can It Cause Premature Ejaculation?

Sexologist, Delhi
Stress - Can It Cause Premature Ejaculation?

Ejaculation can be considered premature if it happens within 1 minute of penetration or if you are unable to control your ejaculation. There are several reasons that can contribute to premature ejaculation like performance anxiety, excessive excitement, relationship issues and hypersensitivity of the skin. To treat premature ejaculation, it is important to determine the cause and stress that can be a potent reason that is preventing you from 'lasting' long. Premature ejaculation can be life long or acquired.

The effects of stress on the mind:

Stress can create havoc in your life and it is closely related to sexual dysfunctions. It is caused not only by rigorous emotional turmoil, daily factors like work or school can also lead to continuous stress, which may pile up to have a profound effect on your mind and body. Stress tends to alter the brain chemistry by triggering hormones like Cortisol, Norepinephrine, Serotonin and many others that signal the nervous system and endocrine to put the body in a state of anxiety which leads to weakening of the ejaculation reflex arc.

The effects of stress on the body:

Increased level of stress causes the heart rate to drop and the body is stimulated to produce excess blood sugar, adrenalin and chemicals. If your stress is caused due to work, your body will respond to it by diverting blood towards the important organs like hands and legs and your concentration might also improve under stress. However, stress can diminish your ability to enjoy sex, heighten your sensitivity to stimulation and pain and increase impotence.

How stress causes premature ejaculation:

Stimulation of the sympathetic nerves and hormonal imbalance caused by stress create an urge to ejaculate. Generally, this urge is enhanced by mental and sensory stimulation till orgasm is reached. One is likely to engage in sex with an amplified urge to ejaculate because the nerves have already been exhausted which leads to an early climax. Men with premature ejaculation have shown significant impact on self-esteem and self-confidence and many people confirm high levels of anxiety connected to sexual or intimate situations with a partner.

In a recent-published survey investigating the female partner's perception of premature ejaculation and impact on relationship breakups, relationship quality and sexual satisfaction among females, many of them confirmed that premature ejaculation was the main reason for breakups.

Hormonal disturbances in Thyroid, Prolactine, Erectile dysfunction, Penile anomalies, Prostate disease, Lower urinary tract infection can also cause premature ejaculation.
Reducing stress is an important step to cure premature ejaculation. Premature ejaculation can be treated with medications, counseling, diet and exercises.

5902 people found this helpful

Can Stress Hinder Your Sex Life?

Dr. Rishabh Kumar Rana 91% (1278 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Community Medicine, CCIP
Sexologist, Ranchi
Can  Stress Hinder Your Sex Life?

There’s a two-way connection between stress and sex. While it has been proven that sex can be a good stress buster, the reverse is true too. Someone who is stressed may not be able to enjoy happy sex life. Delving deeper into the subject you can find that sex has a lot of ramifications and many physiological aspects that are often overlooked. It is a well-known fact that people who are stressed have a poor sex life and some of the reasons for the same are listed hereunder:

  1. Overall lifestyle: A person who is stressed obviously has a poor lifestyle. There could be harmful effects of binge eating, smoking, excessive drinking all of which can affect a person’s wellbeing. So, when a person is stressed and has such a poor lifestyle, there cannot be a healthy sex life. Also, these lifestyle changes leave a person with a poor image – both physically and emotionally. While physically the person could be obese and have low physical appeal, the emotional aspects can also take a toll on their sex life. The person may have a low self-image, poor esteem, and be anxious or depressed. There could be frequent outbursts, temper tantrums, and fits of rage all of which do not create a happy and peaceful environment which is so essential for happy sex life. All this leads to a poor personality, which on the other hand affects sex life.
  2. Hormonal changes: These chemicals, which are present in small amounts, determine almost all actions of the body, including sex life. A happy person secretes more of serotonin which contributes to a happy feeling. When a person is stressed, the secretion of this hormone gets reduced. Also, the secretion of pituitary hormone is reduced to smaller amounts. The pituitary hormone, known as a master hormone, is essential for the proper functioning of all the other hormones. Thus, Sex hormones, testosterone, and estrogen are not produced adequately, leading to sexual problems like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, leading to poor sex life. Other key hormones like thyroid and adrenals are also affected, which have a great effect on ovulation, fertility, and sperm production.
  3. Circulation: Sex requires a good blood supply. Stress causes vasoconstriction, which sort of reduces blood supply to any part. Therefore, those who are stressed have a poor sex life.
  4. Social effects: When we look around, it is common to see people who are stressed to have poor social relationships in terms of friends and family relationships. There could be issues relating to trust and love and there could be unhealthy relationships like infidelity and lack of freedom. These again, due to stress, can lead to poor sex life.

So, if you intend to have a better sex life, work on stress management. A good relationship can further help reduce stress levels.

1595 people found this helpful

Work-Life Balance - How To Ensure It?

Dr. Meghna 88% (19 ratings)
MSC in Psychology (Counselling)
Psychologist, Delhi
Work-Life Balance - How To Ensure It?

For many people, striking a healthy work-life balance almost seems like an unachievable goal. More often, we struggle to juggle heavy workloads, take on family responsibilities, manage relationships, and end up compromising on our interests. It is no surprise that one in every four Indians is living a stressful life.

In a rush to get it all done in one go – be it at home or in the office – we tend to forget that our stress levels go up and productivity drops. Chronic stress affects our ability to concentrate and makes us depressed or irritable. In due time, it harms both our professional and personal relationships.

Ways to Strike a Balance between Work and Life 

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that you do not end up living under the pressure of meeting deadlines at work or miss out on family gatherings –

  • Set Manageable Goals - Daily Being able to meet our priorities gives a sense of control and accomplishment. Be realistic about deadlines and workloads. Create a ‘to do’ list and focus on important tasks first. Eliminate the unessential ones. Ask for help if needed.
  • Take a Break - Taking small breaks in between work helps clear the mind and improves one’s ability to make good decisions when you jump back into the chore (hard dull/daily work).
  • Unplug - The same technology that makes work so easy can also burn us out if used round-the-clock. Make yourself available, but also recognize the need for your ‘own time’. Unwind, engage in fun activities and spend some time doing what makes you happy.
  • Get Support - Catching up with friends and family can go a long way in boosting your mental health in general, and productivity at work. No matter how busy you have been all week, make sure you find some time to spend with your loved ones.
  • Stay Active - Besides improving physical health, regular exercise also benefits your mental health and reduces depression, anxiety and stress.

Research states that any sort of physical activity helps you cope with adversities better. Make time for a short walk during lunch break or hit the gym later in the day.

Do not allow stress to stand in the way of your happiness and health. If you are facing issues managing your time between professional and personal life, and are persistently overwhelmed, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.

2047 people found this helpful

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