Oh man it’s hot. It’s a veritable heatwave out there, and there’s no worse place to be than stuck on a stuffy hospital ward, and even worse, without getting paid more than a student nurse bursary. There’s only one thing for it: convince the matron of your ward you’re Grecian royalty, wear a (clean) NHS bed sheet as a toga, use a (clean) IV giving set as a belt, and have patients fan you with their notes.
Or, try these trusty tips to keep cool:
Check your trust and university’s heatwave policy
In both my local hospital and the private nursing home, there was a protocol for heatwaves. In very hot weather in my case, students are allowed to wear a dress with no tights or lightweight trousers. Some students have been told to buy their own scrubs to wear on wards with no windows. However, some universities don’t allow dresses at all, and some would baulk at the idea of a student nurse in scrubs, so be sure to check both. If in doubt, ask.
Hydrate to the max
We all moan about never getting breaks and forgetting to use the loo, but seriously, dehydration in this weather isn’t a laughing matter. Take FIVE MINUTES to visit the water fountain or even the patient’s kitchen to grab 200mls (a small cup, basically) at least every hour. You’re on your feet, you’re hot, the last thing you want is to show your mentor you’re unprofessional by fainting on a patient. Seriously, can you imagine the damage that you could cause if you fainted while helping someone already frail and unsteady?
Sweating will affect your electrolyte balance dramatically, and overheating can cause real stress to the heart and entire cardiovascular system as your body works overtime to pump blood to the skin. Not to mention the affect it can have on your blood pressure. Seriously, no decent nurse will moan at you for getting a drink and if they do, involve your education lead at uni because seriously, there’s a real lack of care and compassion if that’s the case.
If you really can’t manage the heat, speak to your mentor and see if night shifts are an option. They aren’t as bad as they sound, and many nurses use them as an opportunity to catch up on study and research when it’s super quiet. Again, be sure to check trust policy before you start watching Khan Acadamy videos with wild abandon.
Avene Eau Thermal water mist is super refreshing and suitable for even the most sensitive of skin types. Spray onto your skin to relieve redness and cool that blush. It also sets makeup like a dream if your face hasn’t melted by the time you spritz. It’s £7 for a fairly large bottle so not too pricey.
Avoid the outdoors
When you manage to take your lunch, try to stay indoors if there’s air con blowing. Or stay in the shade if you need some non-hospital air. Avoid direct sunlight, as it’s not only awful for the skin, it can exacerbate any heat-related issues.