On your feet all day? The best shoes and foot care...

On your feet all day? The best shoes and foot care bits for nursing students

Skills days at uni are incredible. A handful of students have fainted, a few have thrown up, and some haven’t been able to handle the pressure. Basically, we’re all in a simulated ward, complete with beds, hoists, monitors and dummy patients and we learn the basics of care, from nutrition and elimination to basic life support and observations. It’s quite intense and we’re marked on everything including the way we greet our dummy patients and how supportive we are during procedure. Mainly, though, we’re all left with aching feet and sore backs from being on our feet for a full day. Perfect training for when we’re treading the wards on placement.

I think the thing I didn’t realise the most was how important shoes were. I’m usually a fan of ballet flats (H&M. Always H&M) and wear them as they’re the most comfortable of all, especially when having to walk to uni. But they’re just not appropriate for placement. And so, we need to invest in the comfiest.

The comfy of comfiest shoes

Ah, the biggest nursing student debate (for ladies, anyway). Which shoes. Each trust has their own rules on what can and can’t be worn. Laces or no laces. Trainers or no trainers. Crocs or no Crocs. The only thing we’re advised is to get non-material shoes i.e. leather, because if someone’s catheter bag is going to leak, it’s better it doesn’t soak into the shoes you’ll be wearing for the remaining 11 hours of shift. I think we all agree about that.

There are two main contenders that divide opinion and cause insults to be hurled back and forth (probably). One is the Clarks Un Loops Gang. These shoes are favoured by all kinds of nurses. As they are so ridiculously ugly I’m assuming Clarks only make them as nursing students are the only ones who buy them. I mean, look at this review on the Clarks website:

You must get these shoes: Hi, I am a Nurse I work in a Hospital, we work 12 hr shifts so we are on are feet all day long. I can’t believe how comfortable these shoes are and are ideal for being on your feet all day. Elaine x

And this:

Worth the buy: I’m a nurse… These shoes are so comfortable, lots of nurses have these shoes and was told in store they are known as the nurses shoes lol!

At £65 they’re not exactly cheap, but the variety of widths and sizes mean they fit pretty much anyone. The others are Sketchers Go Walks Crew. These are available in leather and look a bit like a plimsoll. Technically they are a trainer, but they don’t look like one so it’s all good.

Read reviews online and you’ll get the same nursing students praising their comfiness:

I am a nursing student and read all the reviews for these shoes, especially paying attention to people who were on their feet a lot (waitresses, nurses, etc.)… I love these shoes. They are like walking on a cloud. After 8 hours of clinicals, my feet are not sore and it feels like I am not wearing any shoes!!

Whichever what you slice it, nursing shoes are there to serve a purpose:

– Providing support, stability and structure to the foot
– Making sure bodily fluids such as faeces, urine, vomit and pus are kept away from your skin
– Being comfortable

If you’re a nurse or nursing student which camp do you fall in?


Keeping feet fresh and clean

There’s nothing better than slipping into a warm pair of socks on a cold, frosty morning. Even better is having super soft feet. Carnation Footcare recently sent me a foot care pack that’s been a lifesaver and challenged me to get into a routine to avoid problems further down the line on placement when I’m walking the wards.

1. First is smoothing out skin. I used the Silky Feet Hard Skin Remover (to save elbow grease, but a pumice stone will work too) to remove dry skin from my heels and toes. It’s super quick and something of a habit that I’ve developed. Hard skin adds extra pressure even with soft soles so I’ve found this the single biggest help. Plus, no need to expensive insoles.

2. Next is a foot bath. I sit perched on the edge of my bath dipping my toes in warm-to-hot water, but you could use a bowl if you only have a shower. A few drops of Olbas oil and Epsom salt (magnesium is excellent for muscles) followed a good soak helps relax tired muscles and tendons and soften the skin. After twenty minutes soaking, I give them a quick scrub with the salt and get them dried.

3. For any stubborn areas of dry skin, I apply glycolic acid (via the Hard Skin Remover Pen) and that’s that!

Once my feet are as soft as a baby’s I’ll add in a moisturising cream or coconut oil rub to keep everything silky. I’ve also got a deodorant for feet, which means even if my toes ending a little warm, they won’t be at risk of getting sore, cracked, or painful.

What are your tips for aching feet?