"When I get home from work, my eight-year-old son often asks how my shift was and whether I managed to have a break. It’s a reminder of the challenges we’re all facing at work, with shortages of staff and always being extremely busy making it harder to prioritise your own wellbeing.
As part of a development course I was doing with colleagues, we had to initiate a project. We decided we wanted to do something to help everyone look after themselves better. We always offer patients a drink, but often we don’t think about it ourselves. Some staff were also under the misapprehension that they couldn’t drink water at work, but that’s just not true. We know that dehydration can really impact someone’s health, including causing headaches, so it’s really important to find the time to take a drink.
‘Think 2 Drink’ launched in April 2019. To make it easier for staff to access fresh water, we set up convenient but discrete hydration stations on every ward and department, giving everyone a free re-usable water bottle, which includes space to write their name. The bottles can be stored easily at the stations, making them easy to grab, even when shifts are very busy.
Although I’ve been an RCN member since 2005, I’ve never really been active before, although I do try and keep up to date with what’s happening. I thought it was worth contacting the RCN to see if they could support us in any way. Our local office was delighted to be approached for help. Our idea tied in with the RCN’s national ‘Rest, refuel, rehydrate’ campaign, but we have given it a local twist. We were able to use some of the RCN leaflets to promote the concepts, alongside posters in all the staff toilets, encouraging people to check the colour of their urine to see if they might be dehydrated. It’s very simple, but effective.
Local RCN reps also helped to promote the campaign, making it a big success. I feel it is helping staff to feel better and boosting their morale. Reminders about rehydrating have been especially important during the heatwave this summer. Overall, I think the campaign is helping to reduce staff sickness.
I think it’s helped nursing staff throughout the trust engage more with the RCN too, reinforcing the idea that the organisation is trying to help staff look after their own health, so they can take better care of their patients. As a nurse, it’s easy to forget your own wellbeing. I’m so happy we did it, as it’s had such a positive impact on everyone, throughout the Trust."