We know that staff and patients working in hospitals and care homes, as well as nursing staff working in the community, have been sweltering in the high temperatures which have hit our region and the rest of the country.
Working in these conditions is never easy and highlights the importance of employers doing everything in their power to assist staff and make patients as comfortable as possible.
The RCN has produced its own range of resources which highlight the need for members to stay rested and hydrated at work to perform to the best of their abilities. Something as simple as stopping to have a drink can easily be forgotten during a hectic working day. But it is these simple measures which can help protect both staff and patients.
The central message of “Rest, Rehydrate, Refuel” stresses that breaks are not a luxury – they are an important way to stop incidents linked to fatigue.
Nursing staff must be able to take their breaks – they are not a disposable commodity. Equally, not being properly hydrated can affect your decision making and again is an important patient safety issue. Many employers are now taking measures such as giving staff their own water bottles to tackle the problem. Staff also need to be given the time to have a drink - not just a gulp in between running between patients.
And having time to eat a healthy meal is also vital to staff performance. Again, this depends on having the time to take a break to eat and also having access to healthy eating options while at work.
We want all our members to be given the tools to perform to the best of their abilities. If you are not being given the time to take breaks to properly rest, rehydrate and refuel, you need to raise this with your employer. You can check out the RCN’s resources by visiting our website. There is also more information available in our Healthy Workplace, Healthy You guidance.