Keeping Healthy as a Travel Nurse

Career Advice, Wellness

keeping healthy as a travel nurseWorking as a travel nurse undoubtedly changes your daily routine. With each new travel nursing job you are starting over in a new hospital with new people and a new environment. This makes you have to develop a new routine, which can make it hard for you to receive enough of your daily vitamins.

We know that as a nurse you already know this information, but when you are busy working sometimes you forget about keeping up with what your body needs. Working in the healthcare environment requires long shifts, therefore staying healthy is important. By keeping yourself healthy, it helps you care for your patients better.

This article is just a quick overview of some things you can do to get back on track. The best way to get your daily vitamin requirements is through eating a variety of foods full of different colors and taking a multivitamin supplement.

We are going to separate the vitamins between fat and water soluble vitamins, since fat soluble can be stored in your body while water soluble needs to be replenished every day.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin A

This vitamin helps maintains your teeth, skeletal, soft tissue, skin and vision. You can find Vitamin A in liver, kidney, cod, cream, cheese, meat, milk, eggs, halibut fish oil and some fortified foods. If you are deficient, then you may be susceptible to infectious diseases and vision problems. After a long day of staring at charts in the hospital, this can help your eyes function better and help keep you from getting sick.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D promotes calcium and phosphorus absorption in the intestines, bone growth and bone remodeling. Therefore, vitamin D helps to prevent osteoporosis and cancer in older adults and rickets in children. Many elderly people suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin D since they are not in the sun very much, and when they are, it’s for a short amount of time. The best, and most fun, way to get enough intake of Vitamin D is through sun exposure while checking out all the tourist hotspots on your travel nursing assignment, but there are also hints of it in milk, fatty fish, and cod liver oil. Vitamin D can also be found in fortified foods. Some foods that are often fortified are milk, orange juice, yogurt and margarine. During the spring and summer months, daily exposure to the sun is sufficient. If you live in a place where you do don’t get much sun exposure, then you should take a Vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect the body from free radicals, helps in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body use Vitamin K. Free radicals can damage your cells, tissue and organs, and can possibly increase your chances of cardiovascular disease, dementia, liver disease and cancer. Sources of Vitamin E can be found in wheat germ, corn, nuts, seeds, olives, spinach, asparagus and vegetable oils. Much is still unknown about Vitamin E and is still under investigation.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is known as the blood clotting vitamin. It is also linked to increases in bone growth, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin K can be found in spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, cereals, soybeans and other green lefty vegetables. It is also made by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract. Overall Vitamin K helps promote longevity.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin B

The B vitamins cannot be stored in our bodies, so we are absolutely dependent on our daily diet to supply them. B vitamins are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugar, nicotine and caffeine, so it is no surprise that many people may be deficient in them. They are needed for our mental-emotional balance. When having enough Vitamin B, increases your focus on the nursing you love. The lack of B vitamins can also cause birth defects. To get your intake of the B vitamins, you can find them in potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, tempeh, liver oil, liver, turkey, tuna and molasses. Another way you can get all your B vitamins is by taking a B-complex supplement.

Vitamin C

This vitamin is used for normal growth, development and repair of tissues of the body. It helps to form collagen which is used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also needed for healing wounds, repair and maintenance of cartilage, bones and teeth. It may also help with the common cold but this is not for certain. With Vitamin C being an antioxidant, it blocks damage caused by free radicals. You can get your intake of Vitamin C from all fruits and vegetables but the highest amounts can be found in green peppers, citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli and tomatoes. Always remember that Vitamin C cannot be manufactured or stored, so you need to make sure to get plenty of it in your daily diet.

Creating a new routine every time you move is difficult to establish. Incorporating a balanced diet and taking a multivitamin every day can help you focus better, give you more energy during the day and maintain a healthy body. Maintaining a healthy body helps you feel better every day, and in a profession of taking care of other people, you as a travel nurse need to make sure you take care of yourself first.

Medline Plus: Vitamins

School of Public Health

Linus Pauling Institute

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