Maintaining fitness as a medical professional

A doctor or nurse who sacrifices his/her health for the well being of his/her patients is very noble indeed, but can end in disaster if not attended to in early stages.

Burn – out is highly likely both in body and mind, when one performs the same tasks over and over in mere robotic fashion. This in turn, has led to higher incidence of myocardial infarction, cardiac failure, diabetes, hypertension, high LDL levels and stroke, even among medical professionals.

As medical and paramedical staff, we need to uphold what we preach, that is, spend time to take care of our physical, mental and spiritual health.

METHOD I: ‘SPACE – APART’ (verb) DIFFERENT INVESTIGATIONS:

In the field of ophthalmology, medical service has evolved to facilitate faster patient care, hence leading to many tests being done in one shot, without bothering to take a step.

This is how most institutions check their patients:

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That is, they perform microscopy, indirect ophthalmoscopy and refraction on the same apparatus.

THIS IS HOW I HAVE PLACED THE INSTRUMENTS I USE:

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As you can see, I need to take twelve to sixteen steps between two or three different locations to get tests done. Hence, if I spend time with forty patients in a day, that would amount to a total of 480 to 640 steps – and that is only a minimum!

When seeing each of these patients at each apparatus, I would essentially be performing a half squat for each patient in two or three areas accounting for a total of four to six reps each.

Compared to an ophthalmologist who just sits in one place and performs health care, my method will exceed theirs’ by a minimum of 400 steps and 80 half squats.

2. TAKE A MINUTE OFF BETWEEN EACH CASE:

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Utilise this for deep breathing, prayer or simple exercises, such as torso twists on a swivel chair.
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3. USE SNACK AND MEAL BREAKS WISELY:

– Allot a separate area such as the mess, canteen or lounge, preferably reached by climbing two or more flights of stairs.

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– Finish your snack or meal, before catching up with co – workers. This will prevent you from over snacking while gossiping.

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– Avoid added sugar in beverages and make sure to drain excess oil from snacks using tissue paper. This will save you from a minimum of 20 calories per snack, working up to saving a minimum of 2500 calories per month!

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– Bring fruits to work, if you want to avoid deep fried snacks in the morning. An apple packs 90 calories and can sustain your energy levels till lunch.

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4. NEVER WORK TO THE LEVEL OF BURN OUT:

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– If you are losing your patience, replying curtly to patients, or getting a stress headache, congrats! You are now officially a member of Health Professionals Burn – Out Club!

-You may be a health professional, but you are also a human being. To treat your patients well, you need to take care of your health. Avail your time – out now!

5. USE HOLIDAYS PROPERLY:
Instead of relaxing in a sofa or bed all day, try a relaxed one hour walk in the morning and a one hour swim in the evening with your loved one or take a trip to spend more time with family.

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IT MAY SEEM CRUEL, BUT THE WORLD CAN WAIT. AFTER YOU RECHARGE YOU CAN WORK WONDERS IN MANY MORE LIVES THAN YOU WOULD HAVE DURING A BURNOUT.

6. ALCOHOL, ON THE BACK – BURNER:

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Aim for total abstinence, or a once in a month binge. Anything more frequent than that, can have its repercussions.

7. BURN CALORIES WHENEVER POSSIBLE:

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OPT FOR:
– Stairs over elevators or escalators
– A 400 metre walk to a shop, over a car/bike ride to the same shop.
– A 2 km cycle ride, over a car/bike ride
– A game of shuttle, or an intense gym session, over a period of lazing in bed.

9. AVOID FAST FOOD AND JUNK FOOD:

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Indian junk foods like fried rice, fried chicken or oil dripping gravy, and foods from Italian or American or Chinese cuisines like pizzas, subs and burgers may be the in – thing at your hospital’s canteen or on your everyday menu, but that has to change.

– Opt for brown rice over white rice, switch to olive or coconut oil, but avoid deep frying. Prefer boiled or grilled meat to fried meat. Prefer green leafy vegetables to starchy ones like potatoes. Heap your plate with vegetables and allot only less than a quarter of your serving for sources of plain carb, like rice.

10. REST:

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A regular human needs 8 hours of sleep. The same applies for doctors and paramedical staff.
A good night’s sleep prepares the body and mind for both mental and physical assault, which are very common among those who work in well – known hospitals.

AND FINALLY..

NEVER SMOKE. IF YOU DO, YOU KNOW ITS’ CONSEQUENCES BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE.

– So the next time a patient asks more queries than expected, or when the turn out of patients exceed expectations, you won’t be feeling stressed. Enjoy what you do, ladies and gentlemen, and the first thing to do to enjoy your work, is to keep yourself healthy. A very good day to you all.

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4 thoughts on “Maintaining fitness as a medical professional

  1. I was an RN of 15 years mostly in CCU and now I am a functional training personal trainer. My observation showed me, for whatever reason, that medical professionals, in general, seem to be the most unhealthy group of folks I’ve ever known! Ironic that the people who are trying to help you become more healthy can’t seem to do it for themselves! The Trainer Boxing/Functional Training Club Hood River http://www.thetrainerhoodriver.com

  2. As a student nurse, currently undertaking my final placement before qualifying, I completely sympathise with the burn out club! Working a non-paid placement and trying to balance this by working shifts as a healthcare assistant to pay the bills often means having to sacrifice many things that most take for granted-like a solid 8 hours of sleep!

    This blog post was very interesting and reminded me that there is no point in going to work to do a half-arsed job due to non-commitment to my own health! It is so easy, as a health professional, to fall into the trap of unhealthy habits.

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