Nursing is a noble and rewarding profession. However, professionals face several difficulties that vary based on various factors. They include individual preferences, experience, and specific employment facilities.
Nurses work long shifts ranging from 8 to 12 hours, which is exhausting. Besides, patient load on busy days increases stress levels. Variable schedules make it challenging to maintain a work-life balance.
Plus, the job is emotionally demanding. As a result, eating is often the last thing in most nurses’ minds. Sadly, inadequate nutrition affects physical and mental wellness. Our article will explore why it’s important for a nurse to eat healthy.
The Importance of Nutrition and Healthy Habits for Nurses
Who takes care of a sick nurse, and why it’s important for a nurse to eat healthy? Front-line health workers put everything on the line to help patients. As a result, they often forget to eat. Excessive workload further makes it challenging for aspiring nurses to find balance.
Nursing programs need full-time commitments. This means up to 40 hours in class, labs, or clinical rotations at healthcare facilities. Furthermore, university students study, complete homework, and balance their personal lives.
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College students face stressors that support poor food choices. Yet, eating good food is one way they can reduce the stressors’ impact on the body. Check out how nutrition influences health below:
It Provides Energy
Nurses work long shifts to fulfill various demanding tasks. In time, the stress builds up, leading to fatigue. Tired nurses are unable to focus. It further compromises their ability to make accurate decisions.
This leads to medical errors that may have severe consequences for everyone. Proper nutrition provides the necessary nutrients to sustain stamina throughout a shift. It improves focus, enabling them to perform duties with precision. Meals that maintain energy levels are:
- Protein: Poultry, fish, tofu, or legumes.
- Whole grain: brown rice or whole wheat bread.
- Fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.
- Nutrient-dense snacks.
- Proper hydration.
Boosts Immune Function
Stressors can be psychological or physiological. As a result, various changes occur in the body. The short-term effects include boosting the immune system. But in the long run, it impairs immune function and changes hormone secretion. A high-stress level can make a person feel hungry.
Consequently, they eat more, especially foods high in sugar and fat. The meals have greater calorie levels but less beneficial nutrients. Likewise, they increase the likelihood of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
A balanced diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals helps the immune system. It is even more important for nurses wellbeing since they encounter various pathogens daily. Good nutrition reduces the risk of infections. Furthermore, it helps them stay healthy.
Improves Mental Wellbeing
Workers face various mental health challenges. Other issues they encounter include anxiety, depression, or burnout. Eating healthy for nurses stabilizes mood. It further reduces stress levels and mental well-being. Eating a balanced diet boosts coping mechanisms. Hence, it helps professionals to manage stressors with ease.
Increases Job Satisfaction
Constant stress and inadequate nutrition make nurses feel overwhelmed. When they don’t find joy in their work, they quit. But by prioritizing self-care, they maintain their physical strengths. Apart from this, it provides an opportunity to serve as role models for patients. By practicing healthy eating habits, professionals inspire patients about healthy lifestyle choices.
Nutrition and the Nursing Profession
Proper nutrition plays a role in disease prevention, recovery, and ongoing health. A balanced diet will help you look and feel good. Nurses encounter stressors daily. Physical stress weakens the immune system and makes them susceptible to illnesses. Apart from this, it decreases energy levels.
Stress and inadequate nutrition cause mental health issues like anxiety, burnout, or depression. Furthermore, it increases the risk of errors, impairs relationships, and decreases job satisfaction.
Hence, undergraduates should focus on healthy eating habits. It enhances immune function, improves mental wellness, and prevents diseases. The only way to guarantee optimal patient care is to care for your health.