Tag Archives: nurse

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.

10 Top Apps for Healthcare Professionals

Doctor Using Tablet
Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.

Smartphones are a huge part of day to day life, and mobile health is developing at incredible speeds as mobile technology keeps expanding. More and more healthcare professionals are using their smartphone apps to provide more efficient healthcare.

We list 10 top apps that a healthcare professional could find beneficial in a healthcare environment.

1. Medscape

medscape apps icon

 

Medscape is one of the leading medical apps and resources used by healthcare professionals.

The app, developed by WebMD, allows Physicians to ask clinical questions, share images and discuss cases with only a registration required. With over 4 million registered users, this app is a must.

iOS/Android/Free

Features:

  • Medical news
  • Drug information & tools
  • Disease and condition information
  • Medical Calculators
  • Drug formulary information
  • Offline access
  • Medical education courses
  • Quickly look up medications and dosages with the Drug Reference Tool

 

 

2. Figure 1  

Figure1 healthcare apps icon

You could call Figure 1 the Instagram of the medical world. The idea is to view and share medical images and cases to sharpen medical knowledge on the go and ask healthcare professionals for instant feedback. Having over 1 million medical professionals using the app and being rated highly,  it could be seen as an essential learning and collaborative tool.

       iOS/Android/Free

Features:

  • View thousands of real-world teaching cases from Physicians and Nurses in hundreds of specialities
  • Page healthcare professionals around the world for instant feedback
  • Communicate with your colleagues using secure, encrypted direct messaging
  • Recognise rare conditions in patients

 

 

3. UpToDate

uptodate apps icon

UpToDate is an evidence-based, Physician-authored clinical decision support resource with over 1.3 million clinician users in 197 countries.  With over 30 research studies confirming that widespread usage of the app is associated with improved patient care and hospital performance, it’s clear that numbers don’t lie and UpToDate is a worthy inclusion. Just be careful of the high individual subscription cost.

iOS/Android/Free to download (individual or institutional subscription required).

Features:

  • Persistent login
  • Easy search with auto-completion
  • Earn and track free CME/CE/CPD credit
  • Bookmarks and history
  • Mobile-optimized medical calculators
  • Print and email topics or graphics to patients and colleagues

 

 

4. Touch Surgery

Touch Surgery Medical Apps

Certainly a visually appealing medical app, Touch Surgery is an interactive (and fun looking!) mobile surgical simulator that guides you through a range of operations.

Though potentially more suited toward Surgical Trainees, there’s no doubt that more experienced healthcare professional can still learn and refresh their knowledge.

iOS/Android/Free

Features:

  • Learn operations step-by-step in the training mode
  • Experience realistic surgical environments created with state-of-the-art 3D graphics
  • Track your results and measure your progress
  • Build a personalised library of procedure
  • Learn new techniques from top physicians
  • Spy glass feature allows you to identify and learn about the instruments, tissues, muscles and bones contained in procedures
  • Access a wide range of 3D simulations
  • Share your progress with fellow professionals

 

 

5. Medtimer

Medtimer medical apps icon

Medtimer has been included because of its ease of use and accuracy. It has been crafted to enable health professionals to time heart rate (HR) and respiratory rate (RR) while removing the need to perform calculations or counting. Allowing full concentration on your patient and being a completely free and non disturbing app (no advertising) makes it a quick and easy essential to add to your smartphone.

iOS/Free

Features:

•   Works for heart rate (HR) and respiratory/breathing rate (RR)
•   Count the number of beats or breaths for you
•   Calculate the rate per minute from the count (BPM)
•   Display comparison charts for all age ranges
•   Works across all of your Apple devices including phones, tablets and watches

Medtimer healthcare app icon

 

6. Epocrates

epocrates medical apps icon

Similar to Medscape, Epocrates is another popular drug reference app that also includes a few tools such as BMI checker. Users can search medications by generic name, brand name or using a list of conditions.

The app is free to download and use but has basic features until you pay for a yearly subscription, but with over 1 million users, it has to be worth it.

iOS/Android/Free – yearly subscription starting at £119.99.

Features:

•   Review drug prescribing and safety information for thousands of brand, generic, and OTC drugs
•   Check for potentially harmful drug-drug interactions among up to 30 drugs at a time
•   Identify pills by imprint code and physical characteristics
•   Access timely medical news and research information
•   Find providers for consults and referrals in the Provider Directory
•   Select national and regional healthcare insurance formularies for drug coverage information
•   Perform dozens of calculations, such as BMI and GFR
•   Coordinate care securely with HIPAA-compliant text messaging

 

7. Doximity

Doximity medical apps

Touted the LinkedIn for Doctors, Doximity is a social networking app with over 60% of Clinicians signed up. Staying connected with your colleagues is only part of the appeal as Doximity includes tools for HIPAA-secure communication, electronic faxing and custom curated medical news to name a few.

Having raised $54 million funding in 2014 and the extremely high rated app experience, you can be sure that you need this app on your smartphone.

iOS/Android/Free

Features:

  • HIPAA-secure encryption
  • Find colleagues, specialists, news, and more
  • Get your very own free HIPAA-secure fax line
  • Stay up to date with articles chosen just for you
  • Find consulting and career opportunities

 

8. Pocket Anatomy

pocket anatomy apps icon

Another app that could be more suited to a junior healthcare professional, Pocket Anatomy is similar to Touch Surgery due to its visual appeal.

With this app you can search through thousands of anatomical structures then move and zoom through high resolution complex medical structures. It will be a challenge and refresher for a junior or a more experienced healthcare professional.

iOS/£9.99 + Video Credit purchases.

Features:

  • Intuitive search – Suggestions after the first characters of the word
  • Intuitive navigation – Fly around the human body by swiping your finger
  • Rich content – Full 3D male and female anatomy
  • Clinical relevance – Anatomical structures in each layer are pinned for identification
  • Great study tool – If you’re studying for an exam you can enter notes next to a pin and bookmark content, and also quiz yourself or colleagues.

 

 

9. Induction

Induction medical apps icon

Induction is a single place to store all the numbers and bleeps you need every day as a medical professional working in a hospital.

Having a huge directory only a few taps away in an app that’s quick and easy to use, makes this one of our must have apps if you work in a hospital.

iOS/Android/Free

Features:

  • Location-based extensions
  • Private information
  • Healthcare professionals can contribute
  • Secure
  • FAQ database control

Induction healthcare app icon

 

10. Read by QxMD

Read by QxMD medical apps icon

Like to read? Then Read by QxMD is the app for you. It provides a place where you can keep up to date with new medical and scientific research literature, and search PubMed for articles.

With thousands of outstanding topic reviews and access to millions of articles in one app where you can organise your own personal collection, Read by QxMD is a clear choice if you’re an avid reader and learner of medical research.

iOS/Android/Free

Features:

  • Get full text PDFs with one tap
  • Keep up with the latest new research that will impact your practice
  • Browse through thousands of outstanding topic reviews
  • Search millions of articles from PubMed and our database of outstanding topic reviews
  • Read your favorite journals or browse article collections
  • Access full text through your university/institutional subscription or via open access publishers
  • Share articles with colleagues over email, Twitter and Facebook
  • Organize and review your personal collection of articles