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Hilary's story

An intensive care nurse at NHS Forth Valley in Scotland, Hilary Gibson has been an RCN steward for around two years. During that time, she has been involved in promoting the 3Rs campaign, Rest, Rehydrate, Refuel. 

"I love being an RCN steward and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me doing this role. I love campaigning too and one of my favourites is the RCN’s 3Rs campaign. 

At the moment, I’m trying to get our infection control team here to come on board and develop a standard operating procedure, which will allow each area of the hospitals and those working in the community in Forth Valley to have their own hydration stations. I really want us to do this and I’m hopeful we can. 

Part of the campaign includes delivering a presentation to band 5 and band 6 nurses telling them what we’re trying to achieve. It’s gone down a storm. Everywhere I go I also give out ‘pee cards’. These are a really easy way of checking whether you’re hydrated or not, judging by the colour of your pee - the darker it is, the more dehydrated you are and vice versa. 

I’m also reminding staff to take their breaks, asking each other whether they’ve had a break as yet. When I speak to nursing staff and ask them, ‘are you looking after yourself’, it’s another nurse asking whether they’re okay - and that’s a lovely thing to do. There’s something very powerful about being a nurse and talking to other nurses. I can identify with what’s happening in their world and we can have an open conversation. 

On Nurses’ Day in 2019, I had all of the RCN 3Rs campaign resources out on the table and spoke to as many nursing staff as I could. A few months later, I visited a hospital department and one of the nurses there remembered talking to me. She said, ‘come and see what we’ve done’ and then showed me their hydration station. I’d given them posters and some information and they’d read all that and then implemented something for themselves. 

The fact is I’ve not achieved something for them - they’ve done it for themselves and they own it. I was just a small piece of that jigsaw, giving them tools to create something applicable in their area. That sense of accomplishment is very important. Other staff will also see what they’ve achieved and think they can do it too. It was so wonderful to see what they’d done and the difference it has made to staff. We can’t stop there. 

Campaigning is a bit like continually climbing a mountain. You just have to carry on going. Persistence is key. A smile and a chat go a long way. You also have to keep getting your foot in the door, wedging it a little wider each time. 

Of all the RCN’s campaigns, this one is very close to my heart. I know what it’s like not to get a break or be able to get a drink. If we can just make it that little bit better it would be fantastic."
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Rest, Rehydrate, Refuel

Find resources and read advice about breaks at work, keeping hydrated, having access to nutritional food and employers' responsibilities.

Success stories

Let us know how you are working to improve the wellbeing of nursing staff, and tell us about any initiatives you have carried out to support rehydration, refuelling or rest.

Page last updated - 15/07/2020