How to keep cool in a student nurse uniform (wheth...

How to keep cool in a student nurse uniform (whether it’s a tunic or dress) during a heatwave

Oh man it’s hot. It’s a veritable heatwave out there, and there’s no worse place to be than stuck on a stuffy hospital ward, and even worse, without getting paid more than a student nurse bursary. There’s only one thing for it: convince the matron of your ward you’re Grecian royalty, wear a (clean) NHS bed sheet as a toga, use a (clean) IV giving set as a belt, and have patients fan you with their notes.

Or, try these trusty tips to keep cool:

Check your trust and university’s heatwave policy

In both my local hospital and the private nursing home, there was a protocol for heatwaves. In very hot weather in my case, students are allowed to wear a dress with no tights or lightweight trousers. Some students have been told to buy their own scrubs to wear on wards with no windows. However, some universities don’t allow dresses at all, and some would baulk at the idea of a student nurse in scrubs, so be sure to check both. If in doubt, ask.

Hydrate to the max

We all moan about never getting breaks and forgetting to use the loo, but seriously, dehydration in this weather isn’t a laughing matter. Take FIVE MINUTES to visit the water fountain or even the patient’s kitchen to grab 200mls (a small cup, basically) at least every hour. You’re on your feet, you’re hot, the last thing you want is to show your mentor you’re unprofessional by fainting on a patient. Seriously, can you imagine the damage that you could cause if you fainted while helping someone already frail and unsteady?

Sweating will affect your electrolyte balance dramatically, and overheating can cause real stress to the heart and entire cardiovascular system as your body works overtime to pump blood to the skin. Not to mention the affect it can have on your blood pressure. Seriously, no decent nurse will moan at you for getting a drink and if they do, involve your education lead at uni because seriously, there’s a real lack of care and compassion if that’s the case.

Try nights

If you really can’t manage the heat, speak to your mentor and see if night shifts are an option. They aren’t as bad as they sound, and many nurses use them as an opportunity to catch up on study and research when it’s super quiet. Again, be sure to check trust policy before you start watching Khan Acadamy videos with wild abandon.

Mist yourself

Avene Eau Thermal water mist is super refreshing and suitable for even the most sensitive of skin types. Spray onto your skin to relieve redness and cool that blush. It also sets makeup like a dream if your face hasn’t melted by the time you spritz. It’s £7 for a fairly large bottle so not too pricey.

Avoid the outdoors

When you manage to take your lunch, try to stay indoors if there’s air con blowing. Or stay in the shade if you need some non-hospital air. Avoid direct sunlight, as it’s not only awful for the skin, it can exacerbate any heat-related issues.

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  • Health Service Discounts

    Fab post and tips to keep cool on the job, thanks Laura. The mist is a great idea! Are we OK to share this to our Facebook page? Thanks, Andy

    • Ah, thanks for the lovely comment! Of course, share away!

      • Health Service Discounts

        Hi Laura. We shared the link and had a lot of clicks and comments on the post but your URL has changed and our doesn’t work now! I hope that everyone came through to your site OK?

        • Ah I’m so sorry, we’re going through a redirect and rebrand so there may be outages. Will try and fix it asap!

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          editor: Laura Zito
          contributing editor: David Westgarth

          (+44) 07718 898 992


          • Health Service Discounts

            No problem, it still wouldn’t work for some reason so I had to delete it. Your posts are perfect for our audience and we have a huge following on our Facebook, so I’ll definitely share some more. ^Andy

          • Sorry about that! The issue has been found and it should be working now!