Friday, July 29, 2011

IVF, stat!

As anyone who works in the hospital knows, the air is incredibly dry.

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...


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?


Anonymous said...

I understand completely.

Anonymous said...

will totally join u in this water party!

i drink too much iced coffee, but technically it has water in it. wonder if that counts towards ur daily water intake? i should look this up.

Susan said...

One of the nurses this week told me to drink some water because my lips were all chapped and filmy...gah! Definitely hard to get in enough water when you're super busy with patients. I usually chug and run when I can...

Brittany said...

I try and chug on the go in between rooming patients. Maybe i should use my camelbak at work?! It's a 50 oz pouch!

Anonymous said...'s what I do and it always seems to work. I take a large bottle of water and another 8 oz cup. Once an hour I fill the 8 oz cup and drink it down before doing vitals and dumping urine, etc. That way, throughout the night I get 12 8 oz cups of water in, instead of just random sips. Good luck!

Rachel said...

I have finally learned that if I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of my patients (at least not adequately). I fill up my water bottle (about 1 L) at home and take it to work. On an extremely busy day I'll still have some water left over at the end of the shift, but it's usually empty by 1700. Of course, that means I'm running to the bathroom more often....

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I know the feeling! It's so frustrating. On my old ward we were alllowed to keep a water bottle at the nurses station so I could just grab glugs of it every now again. On my new ward we're not allowed water anywhere other than the locker room, which is far away from our patients and down the far end of the ward. Since my shifts seem to always be ridiculously busy I end up going most of the shift barely having drunk anything. It's so frustrating and other than having an IV hooked up I can't forsee away of solving the problem. My ward is health hazzard in that respect. Ok, rant over :) Happy Sunday!