Add together dry air + lack of H2O + 12.5 hours of hard labor and you have yourself = The Dehydrated Nurse.
Nice to meet you!
I know it is wrong. I know that I need to make the extra effort to drink more water at work. Yet, I find myself in the same predicament time after time: the clock strikes 1800 and I punch out, only to realize that my lips are dry, peeling, and I have only peed once or twice during my shift!
My shift begins the same each time: I get settled with report. I do my first assessment on each patient and chart. Generally, one hour or more has passed. At this point, I make my way to the nutrition room and pull down my 700ml water bottle from the cabinet. It's packed in their tightly with lots of other reusable water bottles and mugs that other nurses have brought from home. Usually, I open the cabinet doors slowly as stuff comes falling out. No doubt it hasn't been cleaned out in years, with cups that have outlived some of the nurse's careers on our unit.
I go to the ice and water machine and proudly fill it to the brim and screw on the cap, vowing to myself, "Today, I shall drink more water..." At first, I succeed. I might drink half of the water bottle quickly. I place it on top of the little cubby that holds a chart outside my patient's room. And then the same thing happens each shift...rounds start and finish, there are orders to be taken care of, and patient's to care for, new admissions, transfers, expirations, busy family members, and patient's teetering on the brink of death.
And in that chaos, there sits my lonely water bottle. The ice has melted. And my kidneys are slowly shriveling up to nothing!
That is why I have declared a new challenge for myself titled:
source: Getty Images
Operation Hydrate the Nurse.
I am sick of having chapped lips, headaches after work, and concentrated urine.
From this point forward, I will make it a goal to fill up and drink from my water bottle three times. That is 2100ml or about 2 liters.
Sure, I might be running to the bathroom more often during my shift, but how can I take care of my patient's if I am putting my own health in danger? I AM supposed to be a "patient advocate," right? Well, I am now going to be an advocate for myself and other nurses...
DRINK MORE WATER.
Day 1 of my challenge starts Sunday.
Operation Hydrate the Nurse will be in full swing. I can already hear my cells singing with hydration joy.
I am thinking perhaps I need to make it a goal to drink water whenever I do a certain task, like prior to pulling a med, or at each hour when I record vitals, dump urine, etc. Thoughts?