If You Have an RN Job: Here’s How to Stay Safe During COVID-19

3 minute read

The novel coronavirus has turned the world on its head.  A year ago, who could have predicted that schools would pivot from a traditional school setting to distance learning, that office workers would be working from home, or that everyone would be wearing masks in public?  While life has changed for many professionals, others have continued to work in their normal setting throughout the pandemic. This includes essential workers, such as nurses, have continued their mission of caring for patients. However, just because essential workers are still in their normal setting, doesn’t mean the coronavirus has not made an impact on their lives. For example, if you have an RN job, you may be concerned about protecting your own health and your family’s health.  While the risk of contracting COVID-19 can never be fully eliminated, nurses can take many precautions to stay safe during this pandemic.

Protect Yourself At Work

Nurses must take steps to protect themselves.  Without adequate safety measures, nurses risk infecting themselves or spreading infection from patient to patient.  Nursing school trains nurses to be careful at all times.  For example, people working RN jobs wash their hands frequently and wipe down surfaces with disinfecting wipes.  These habits prevent nurses from touching a contaminated surface, getting the virus on their hands, then touching their hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth.  Nurses will continue these practices during COVID-19 but will also take further precautions.  

One type of extra precaution is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),  a critical barrier between the nurse and the patient.  Many nurses will wear double exam gloves to keep the virus off of their hands.  Nurses will also wear a face mask for respiratory protection.  Depending on what is available, the mask may be a surgical mask, an N95 mask, or a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR).  Face shields are another type of PPE that protect the mucus membranes, including the eyes and nose, from coronavirus particles.  Face shields protect nurses from patients who may cough or sneeze virus particles into the air.  A mask protects the mouth and nose, a shield protects the eyes.  Nurses may also wear a full-body gown known as an isolation gown that offers a high level of protection from the virus.

Protect Your Family At Home

While you know how to protect yourself at work, what about when it’s finally time to go home? Just as nurses worry for patients and coworkers, they also worry about bringing the virus home to their families.  To protect family members from the coronavirus, nurses should follow safety procedures as soon as they get home. Here are a few examples of coming-home protocols nurses follow.

Nurses should remind their family members not to touch them when they first get home.  Shoes, purses, or any other work bags should stay outside.  Consider designating a specific spot in the garage or porch for work items that prevents them from cross-contaminating into the home.  Work clothes should go right into the laundry or into a sealed bag.  Nurses should shower immediately after coming home before physically interacting with family.  While these steps feel stringent at first,  they are essential to you and your family’s safety, and will quickly become a habit in no time

Nurses Need Self-Care

Working RN jobs during a global pandemic is extremely stressful. That is why self-care is so important. Set aside time for self-care to avoid burnout or overly exerted emotional fatigue.

Identify self-care strategies that work for you, such as meditation, yoga, or a hot bath. Nurses should also prioritize sleep, especially after a long shift. If being up to date on the latest coronavirus developments gives you peace of mind check-in with the news, but don’t obsess over it.  Too much negative news — or even “doom scrolling — can cause added stress.  Make the time to implement these measures to preserve your mental health or if you have a loved one in the medical field, help them stay consistent with their self-care

Working an RN job during the COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful but rewarding.  If you are searching for “RN jobs near me, ” reach out to CynaMed.  Whether you are looking for temporary, full-time, or part-time work, we can find the right registered nurse placement for you.

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