Staying Healthy as a Patient Care Technician

With its physical and emotional demands, direct patient care requires both a healthy body and mind. Dedication to your mission is critical, and it's tough to stay completely committed when your limits are tested daily. Consulting your health care practitioner is always a good start, especially if you have any current health problems.

Keep your body tuned

A patient care technician usually works long, busy shifts. You should make sure your body is up to this task by being mindful of these practices. Most of them you have probably heard before, but, in the hectic nature of daily life, they may easily be forgotten. For example, avoid sick coworkers, keep up with your immunizations and have a primary health care provider. Keep in mind the following:

  • Your body needs fuel to meet the demands of any physically demanding job. Being hungry also negatively affects your mental and emotional state, so be sure to eat a good meal before you go to work and eat protein-rich snacks on the job. The same goes for proper hydration. Stick with plenty of good old H2O and avoid energy drinks, excessive caffeine and sugary beverages.
  • Obesity is a national crisis that may rob you of stamina and burden your joints. Being overweight is especially hard on patient care workers. Make maintaining a healthy weight one of your primary goals. Instead of following fad diets, simply watch your portions and replace sugary and starchy foods with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 
  • Since you are on your feet constantly, don't skimp on buying comfortable shoes. The type of shoe you need depends on the build of your feet. A good arch support is imperative, but it needs to be right for your feet, or your entire body will suffer. Certain inserts enhance a shoe's support and fit. Also consider cotton and cushioned socks. You don't want slippery socks that could lead to blisters and foot fatigue. Socks that absorb moisture and help cool your feet are your best bet. Properly fitting support hose are good for vein health, which applies to both males and females.  
  • You might believe you get plenty of exercise on the job, but it's not always the right kind of exercise. Try to complete a daily workout that includes stretching exercises and cardio workouts. 
  • Smoking and nicotine use poses serious health threats by robbing you of proper oxygenation, and their use will slowly kill you over time. Why hire your own assassin? There is plenty of help out there for conquering this habit. Start with your doctor first.
  • Good sleep is important, so make it a point to get eight hours of solid sleep. Avoid stimulating activity, food or drink several hours before bedtime. Sleeping in a dark, ventilated space on a firm bed is best. Assess any signs of sleep apnea, and talk to your doctor.

Taking good care of yourself not only makes you a better patient care technician, it also adds to the longevity of your life. This will give you greater time with your patients as well as your family and friends.

Tags: healthcare, patient care, patient care technician

Charles R. Hooper, MSW

About Charles R. Hooper, MSW

With over 20 years experience as a medical social worker and a master's degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I have been honored to dedicate most of my professional life to service in health care. I have worked in multiple medical/nursing settings, including cardiology, orthopedics, neurology, trauma care and others. I also founded the medical social work program at a regional trauma center and a very busy emergency department. View all posts by Charles R. Hooper, MSW →