Being a nurse is not easy, and I have to admit that I used to think it was. Sure, I knew that there would be a lot to learn but I never expected the level of juggling that would have to take place in a 12-hour shift. There are other nurses, doctors, techs, social workers, and therapists you are communicating with, on top of keeping your patients alive and communicating with them as well.
I’ve had the experience of being a hospital staff nurse, a preceptor, and a charge nurse, and I can tell you that I’ve grown so much, learned so much, and been challenged in ways that I never thought possible. Dealing with the hardships of staffing, making the assignment, putting out fires and quieting the drama have taught me so much. Hardships are opportunities to grow, although we rarely see it that way. These hardships and setbacks have helped develop my confidence as a nurse.
I admit that when I have difficulties at work it can be easy to let them affect me personally and dwell on them, but I’ve learned to have a (somewhat) short memory. When it comes to criticism, acknowledge that everyone has a learning curve and adopt a growth mind-set. Move on quickly from these setbacks, and use them as opportunities to learn and grow.
To me, it’s important to celebrate the small daily wins–a patient says “thank you”, your manager says “good work,” or the team coordinates the care perfectly. When you celebrate the small victories, it will develop your confidence even more. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Remember why you became a nurse. If you can do these things, those hardships will lead you to an extraordinary place.
As nurses, we are always moving–lifting, walking, running, bending over–and doing a lot of grunt work. When it comes to moving patients, we want to make sure that we protect our back and joints most of all. The best way to do this is to ensure that we have adequate muscle mass to lift and slide our patients properly. That’s where strength training comes in!
Strength training builds muscle, therefore increasing metabolism
Studies show that strength training increases the resting metabolic rate, so you can burn calories even when you’re sitting down doing some charting.
Strength training builds mental toughness
We all know that bedside nursing can be stressful, and you might feel like you are juggling six balls at once sometimes. Strength training challenges you in a way you might not have been challenged before. This leads to an increased confidence and ability to handle whatever the shift might throw at you.
Strength training increases bone density
As women, we know it’s important to maintain good bone health. Strength training helps to prevent osteoporosis later in life. When you lift dumbbells and do a curl, the muscles pull on those bones. The cells in your bones react by creating more new bone cells. Your bones become stronger and more dense. Perform strength-training exercises and you’ll be less prone to bone loss as you age.
Stronger muscles lead to better performance, in all areas!
Whatever exercise you engage in, outside of work or during work, you will have more success with a good foundation in strength training. It can also help you burn more calories during cardio workouts, or while running down the hall to a code!
Strength training increases heart health
In one Appalachian State study, those who performed 45 minutes of moderate intensity resistance exercise lowered their blood pressure by 20 points. That’s as good as most blood pressure pills, and with less expense.
Get out there and start training! I prefer the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs. These are great for building muscle and confidence. Start with some light 3 to 5 pound weights and a resistance band. If you are interested in getting started with a 21 Day Fix challenge pack, you can get one Here. Let me know what has worked for you in the comments!