Category Archives: How to

5 Tips On How To Work Long Hours Without Losing Your Mind

The long hours and all-night working culture for some medical professionals is unfortunately a standard fixture. But despite the obvious downsides, 12 hour (and longer) shifts remain fairly popular compared with 8 hour shifts. The most prominent benefit  of the longer shifts is less handoffs, meaning patients are not being attended to by as many Nurses. This could mean less reports and less chance of miscommunication errors, while giving the chance for patients to feel more comfortable with the Nurses on shift.

While this particular point is beneficial to patients, when you’re doing your third 12 hour shift in a row, especially late into the night, it can be tough to stay energised and positive. The correct pair of shoes can help you feel more comfortable while you work but there is only so much help extra comfort can give you.

We have pulled together 5 of our favourite tips to help you survive those extra grueling 12+ long shifts with your mind and patients intact.

#1. Be A Creature Of Habit

Being a medical professional is unpredictable, not just in the patients you care for but also the hours worked. With working past your shift end potentially being a regular occurrence depending on your area, it is important to have a sense of habit and schedule outside of work.

Most Nurses recommend trying to keep a regular sleep schedule and going to bed or settle down at the same time, including on days off. Start and manage some routines in your personal life that you can rely on to be dependable and relaxing. This could mean a hobby, eating a meal with the family, or watching your favourite TV show.

lady performing a yoga exercise on a roof

It is also worth creating a ‘behaviour chain’, and instead of choosing an abstract goal such as, “I need to exercise three times a week”, create an action plan that leads to it. For example, “Once I get home from work I will eat a healthy snack, change out of my work uniform, and then go for a thirty minute run.” This kind of planning is more effective for creating healthy habits which in turn can help your daily routine.

#2. Let Caffeine Be Your Servant, Not Your Master

Caffeine in one form or the other is the ultimate life saver for many medical professionals. It can be used as an initial boost at the start of the shift or or an absolute necessity throughout as a substitute for sleep. But a study from 2016 found that  after restricting sleep to 5 hours per night, caffeine use no longer improved alertness or performance after three nights.

As medical professionals, it is essential to understand the advantages and drawbacks of coffee consumption to fully claim the benefits, without affecting your work negatively. You wouldn’t tell a patient to constantly drink coffee throughout the day to get them through it, so don’t do it yourself!

Coffee with a happy face

The fact is, no amount of coffee can replace a solid night’s sleep and for your patients (and own) sake, it’s best not to rely on caffeine too much to get you through those long hours.  Start your shift with a strong coffee and avoid it all together for the last half of your shift. This way by the time you’ve finished, you’ll be ready to settle down to sleep if you need to, without having caffeine in your system keeping you awake.

#3. Fuel Your Body

You wouldn’t advise a patient to work long hours on an empty stomach, so why would you do it yourself?

There is plenty of advice out there on medical professionals getting enough sleep with their long shifts, but what about the fuel needed for your body and brain to keep you going while you’re working?

Hunger can be just as bad as sleep deprivation for mood and on-the-job performance so it is important that you make sure you get regular breaks for snacks. If you are in a rush (which you probably will be) bring a number of high protein snacks with you such as nuts and energy bars that will release energy over a longer period of time.  Don’t forget to drink plenty of water during your shift to hold off the dehydration and fatigue, while keeping you fuller for longer.

Snacks can be all well and good in a pinch, but ideally you’d like a healthier and fuller meal to keep those energy levels up. This is where meal prep comes in.

meal preparation with meat and vegetables

Work this in as part of your schedule as mentioned in point #1 and set aside a bit of time on a day off and create your meals to bring to work over the course of the week. It will save you money, time in the long run and could be much healthier than fitting in snacks where you can while at work. Plenty of meat, vegetables and rice or pasta will give you the energy you need to power through your shift without you getting too hungry again. The more meals you are able to freeze on meal prep day, the less you have to focus on meal prep during the rest of the week. Find some recipes here.

#4 Leave Work At Work

Medical professionals are dedicated, determined and can be self-diagnosed ‘workaholics’. Going the extra mile for your patient is truly wonderful and sometimes necessary, but you must know your own limits and learn to leave work at the door when you go home for the day.

A study in the United States showed:

“In hospitals which had higher proportions of nurses working longer shifts, higher percentages of patients reported that nurses sometimes or never communicated well, pain was sometimes or never well controlled, and they sometimes or never received help as soon as they wanted.”

So although you may have good intentions, taking a much needed break may not only be the best thing for you, but your patients too.person sleeping on a couch

#5 Keep Strong Friendships

You will find your friends will be a lifeline the more long hours you put in.

No matter what you talk about, whether you’re ranting about your day, or setting up your next night out together, a chat with a friend will leave you happier and more energised.

Working with friends can make you more productive as you can coordinate tasks more effectively without the awkwardness of working with strangers and not knowing what makes them tick. It may make the shift more enjoyable, less tiring, easier to manage and overall, get a better performance from you.

Team and friends bumping fists

Outside of work though, your friends can be an temporary escape from those multiple 12 hour shifts in a row. Taking a breather from you professional life reduces stress, clears your head, and can help you bring a new perspective to your work or personal life.

While you can be spontaneous with meeting your friends if you feel up to it, it is also important working with point #1 and schedule some time together. This way you will be less likely to waste your precious spare time by sitting on the couch all day watching Netflix, which although sounds tempting, isn’t nearly as fun as spending time with your friends!

Try planning ahead and booking fun activities from the likes of Wowcher and Groupon. Booking an activity with your friends will give you something to look forward to while you’re working hard and can make you more proactive while giving you that extra little push you need to get you through those long hours.4 friends looking at the sunset

Do you have any tried and tested methods for surviving those long shifts? Let us know in the comments!

How To Choose The Best Pulse Oximeter For Your Doctor’s Bag

Pulse oximetry is a simple, noninvasive and reliable method for rapidly assessing arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2/SpO2) and pulse rate in patients. It is a useful tool for assessing both adults and children.

The main indications of pulse oximetry include the assessment of acute respiratory infections, asthma, COPD and heart failure. In these situations it can provide valuable information about the severity of the illness and help when deciding on the need for hospital referral or admission.

What Are The Guidelines?

In the General Practice setting, the importance of measuring oxygen saturations has been emphasised in the NICE guidelines on COPD, the SIGN guidelines on asthma and community acquired pneumonia and the NICE sepsis guidelines. Assessing oxygen saturation should be used alongside clinical assessment, not as a standalone indicator.

Additionally, pulse oximetry helps to ensure that hypoxic patients are treated appropriately with oxygen. The NICE sepsis guidelines highlight the importance of assessing oxygen saturations when risk stratifying patients.

How Much Do They Cost?

All-in-one pulse oximeters can vary greatly in price from under £10 to over £200.

How Do I Choose A Pulse Oximeter?

There is so much choice available that it can be difficult to know where to begin. When selecting a pulse oximeter for your doctor’s’ bag, ensure that it is:

  • Lightweight & Portable – Keeping your doctor’s bag as light as possible will make your life much easier when you’re on the move.
  • Simple-To-Use – With just 10 minutes per consultation, the quicker you can perform an examination, the sooner you can help the patient. A simple-to-use pulse oximeter opens like a crocodile clip and should be able to be used on a wide variety of patients.
  • Cost-Effective – Nowadays, you don’t need a top-of-the-range model to see great results. A £30 model will serve as well, if not better than a £100+ model as they are often more lightweight and aren’t as expensive to replace if they become damaged or go missing.
  • Reliable & Accurate – It should go without saying that when assessing a patient, accurate and reliable results are essential. Look for models with signal strength indicators as one of the main causes of inaccuracy in oximetry is incorrect finger insertion.

Additional useful features include being easy to clean (by wiping with a 70% IPA swab, for example) and battery-saving features such as automatically turning off when a finger is withdrawn.

A Note On Assessing Children

When assessing children make sure you invest in a paediatric pulse oximeter as obtaining a correct fit is important to give an accurate reading. In the past, many GPs had to resort to using an adult pulse oximeter to try to assess a sick child. The readings that resulted were often incorrect, if they could be obtained at all.

As you can see above, the adult pulse oximeter (right) is too large to be used effectively on paediatric patients. The two paediatric pulse oximeters fit much more closely, keeping the sensor in contact with the skin and giving more reliable results.

At Medisave, there is a wide range of high-quality, adult and paediatric pulse oximeters from tried and trusted brands including Nonin, ChoiceMMed, Daray and many more.

Medisave Best Sellers

choicemmed md300-d finger pulse oximeter

ChoiceMMed MD300-D Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

£29.99 (ON OFFER)

Our most popular model, the MD300-D has a clear OLED display showing SpO2, pulse rate and waveform and can be configured exactly how you like it.

Find it here

choicemmed md300-c5 paediatric pulse oximeter

ChoiceMMed MD300-C5 Paediatric Pulse Oximeter

£37.49 (ON OFFER)

Our most popular paediatric model, the MD300-C5 is exceptionally lightweight, colourful and provides fast, accurate measurements.

Find it here

Nonin 9590 Pulse Oximeters

Nonin Onyx Vantage 9590 Finger Pulse Oximeter

£122.49 (ON OFFER)

The Nonin 9590 is a multi-function finger pulse oximeter for both adult and paediatric use. Lightweight, ISO compliant and comes in a choice of four colours.

Find it here

Go to the Medisave UK website for the full pulse oximeter range.

Written by Dr Surina Chibber, founder and Director of MyLocumManager Ltd.

Littmann Cardiology III Spare Parts – The Essential Guide

littmann cardiology iii spare parts

Late in 2015, 3M released their spares range in a handy new kit format. Combining diaphragms, rims and ear tips in one pack. The Littmann Cardiology III Spare Parts Kit is a cost-effective and convenient way of replacing worn-out stethoscope parts.

To learn how to safely swap to your Littmann Cardiology III spare parts, read our guide and watch our video below.

Contents:

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Littmann Classic II Spare Parts – The Essential Guide

Littmann Classic II spare parts - the essential guide
In November 2015, 3M brought out their Littmann Spare Parts Kit range for stethoscopes. Since then, we have been asked many times whether it is safe to change diaphragms, rims and earpieces yourself. The answer is a definite yes. To learn how to safely swap to your Littmann Classic II SE spare parts, read this guide and watch our video below.

Contents:

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Medical Careers: Boost Your Chances With These 4 Tips

Don’t let the recruitment process get between you and your next step in your medical career. Yes, there are forms to be filled in, interviewers to impress and criteria to meet. But if you’ve got the ambition, motivation and skills for a particular position, you’re well on the way to securing it.

Of course, you’re probably not the only person who feels that way. So how do you give yourself the edge, that extra few percent that puts you at the top of the selection list? There are no shortcuts to success in medical recruitment, but there are plenty of opportunities to score the bonus points needed to stand out from other applicants.

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5 Ways to Prepare for Medical School

Well done on getting a place at medical school! You worked hard to get the right results and now you’re looking forward to a new life opening up.

How are you feeling? Nervous? Excited? Both?

Leaving home for university means massive change. When that university is medical school, the challenge can appear overwhelming. Continue reading 5 Ways to Prepare for Medical School

How to Use Social Media for Medical Research

Over the last few years, medical professionals have been learning how to use social media as a research tool.

For some, using Facebook or Twitter in the serious context of healthcare studies seems a little odd. After all, aren’t these networks full of people sharing photos of their dinner or silly videos of their cat?

The reason why people share banal photos online is the same reason why social networks can make outstanding research tools. It’s because Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest make it really easy to communicate with a large, diverse audience.

For this reason, anyone involved in medical research, should give serious consideration to incorporating social media into their methodology.

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There’s More to Hand Hygiene Than Hand Washing

The simple washroom sign ‘Now wash your hands’ is literally a lifesaver. Millions of infections would be avoided if people took a moment to clean their hands correctly. Worryingly, the biggest source of this problem is in healthcare settings, such as hospitals.

A visit to hospital, a medical clinic or a dental surgery may not only bring healing, but also exposure to microorganisms that cause infection. Whenever there is physical contact between a patient and a member of the medical team, or a piece of equipment, there’s a risk of contamination. But the one action that would cut these dramatically is, according to the WHO, the correct and timely washing of hands.

On 5 May 2016 the World Health Organisation (WHO) ran its annual event to highlight the importance of hand hygiene with its SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign. This year the message focused on infection prevention and control in healthcare environments.

Key facts shared by WHO on Hand Hygiene Day 2016

– 61% of healthcare workers do not clean their hands at the right moment.
– one in two surgical staff do not clean their hands at the right moment.

The secret to good hand hygiene comes not only from knowing how to wash your hands effectively, but from knowing when to wash your hands.

Continue reading There’s More to Hand Hygiene Than Hand Washing

Get the Answers You Need with #askMedisave

We don’t want you to waste time looking for the medical products you need, and we certainly don’t want you to waste money buying the wrong item.

That’s one of the reasons why we introduced 24/7 Live Chat on our website last year. By giving quick answers to your questions, we’re making it easier for you to buy what you want and need.

To help you further, we’re now introducing #askMedisave online broadcasts, using the latest streaming technologies. You can now hear from, and ask questions of, our product experts as they talk about and demonstrate some of the medical equipment we supply.

Continue reading Get the Answers You Need with #askMedisave