Hot, hot, hot !!

Wow it’s been hot lately ! Temperatures have reached 30c quite a few times in the last 10 days or so and I have found myself worrying:

My first thoughts were for our children – Did they have sunscreen? A hat? Water bottles for school? Were they cool enough (in the cold sense not the “hey dude” sense!)? Were they drinking enough?


My thoughts then turned to our dog – Was it ok to take him out? Should I just do very early and very late walks?  Is his water bowl full?  Is the kitchen too hot if I pop out for an hour? Is the tarmac to hot for his paws?

And then this morning I was on an early shift and I thought about the people I care for – Are they getting enough fluids? What about that lady on the high dose of furosemide?  What about the gentleman who is susceptible to UTI’s?  Is that lady confused because she’s dehydrated? Does that lady have a wide brimmed hat to go outside in? How can we cool bedrooms down? Do we have enough ice lollies for people today? How can we encourage everyone to drink more?

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Eventually, this evening, whilst walking the dog (in the shady woodland) my thoughts turned to me – Was that headache I took paracetamol for at break time a dehydration headache?

I am pretty sure that I am not unusual in the sense that I worry about others, put the people I care for, the children and even the dog before my own needs …. it seems to be something we do in nursing… however perhaps we need to think again:

The National Hydration Council (yes there is such a thing!) state the facts in simple terms:

  • The recommended daily intake of fluids for men should be 2.5 litres and for women 2 litres
  • When performing physical work,sweat output often exceeds water intake, producing a body water deficit or dehydration
  • Dehydration can adversely affect worker productivity, safety, and morale.

There is also evidence that is specific to healthcare workers: Hydration amongst doctors and nurses on call (El-Shakawry 2016) is a study that looked at the scale and impact of dehydration on doctors and nurses.  The study found  ”Thirty-six percent of participants were dehydrated at the start of the shift and 45% were dehydrated at the end of their shift” and “Single number and five-letter Sternberg short-term memory tests were significantly impaired in dehydrated participants”


So what does all this mean in practical terms for us as nurses …. it means we should look after ourselves better! A melting nurse, who is hot, sweaty and dehydrated is of no use to the people we care for, their children or even the dog !

The moral of this tale (yes I will put this in shouty capitals!) ….. NURSES LOOK AFTER YOURSELVES IN THIS HOT WEATHER !!

Running towards danger

I have always been a cautious person, I like to think about things, look before I leap and often not leap at all! In fact at a recent family trip to one of those tree top adventure courses I was the one who opted out of the Tarzan swing and went the long, but safer, way around.  I also recall when my children were young we took a trip to The Needles which involved a rather steep ski lift descent during which my son said to me “mummy can you stop squeezing me now” … it seemed I was being overly cautious about the risk of him falling out of the seat! My caution has often been the source of amusement in our family, I don’t mind as I quite like being the cautious one (it’s a mum thing) but last night I was watching TV and I came across “Ambulance” and it caused me to reflect on caution.


For those of you who have not seen it “Ambulance” is one of those fly on the wall documentaries where a camera crew follow a day (or night as the case was last night) in the life of interesting people.  “Ambulance” follows the working lives of some of the crew of West Midlands Ambulance Service.  In this particular episode multiple crews got a call to say there had been a major incident and 3 people were already dead … there was some initial speculation over the incident at first and the word “bomb” was used.  Nevertheless the ambulance crews put on their blue lights and drove to the scene.  I was so in awe of the courage shown by the crews – they had no idea what they were heading into, they were literally running towards danger to help those in need.  As it turned out it was a devastating traffic collision with multiple fatalities – but regardless the crews earned my utmost respect.


This got me thinking about my own actions, particularly within my nursing career … do I ever run towards danger? Would I? The closest I have ever come to “danger” was when I was student nurse back in the 1990’s and I was out with some friends, it was 2am and we had just left a night club when a young chap was stabbed and I immediately ran to assist him.  I administered first aid and waited with him until the ambulance and police arrived.  I can only describe it as an automatic response – someone needed help and I knew how to help, so it stood to reason that I should step forward.

But perhaps it’s not just danger that we run towards as nurses? Perhaps we also run towards adversity? I think that maybe this is more common – when the emergency buzzer goes off at work don’t we all run? We never know what we are running towards but we are aware of the simple fact that it’s an adverse situation … and yet here we all are, throwing caution to the wind and running hell for leather towards it … so that we can use our expertise to help someone in need.


I remain in awe at the courage of the crews in “Ambulance” and I also remain cautious. I will always be the person who takes the photo of my family upside down on an amusement park ride but at the same time I know that I too will run towards danger and adversity if someone is in need – it’s who I am…. I am a nurse!