How far does a nurse walk each shift?

How far does a nurse walk each shift?


From one end of the hospital to the other, nurses are never stationary for long.

Whether it’s rushing to the hospital pharmacy to pick up a patient’s prescription or escorting someone down to the radiology wing, nurses are constantly on the move. From one end of the hospital to the other, nurses are never stationary for long – and even when they are, they’re still on their feet. All of that walking, running and standing can really take a toll. Keep reading to learn how far nurses walk each shift and how they can alleviate some of the discomfort that comes along with it.

How far do nurses walk?

A study found in the National Library of Medicine reported that the median distance traveled during a 10-hour shift is three miles, with some nurses walking as much as five miles a day. For nurses who walk the most, that’s about the equivalent of walking a marathon each week! At that point, sore feet are to be expected.

Each nurse has unique responsibilities, which means some will walk more than others. That said, all of that physical activity can be hard on a person’s body. New nurses especially need to be aware of how to relieve some of the pressure of constantly being on their feet.

Nurses need to be steady on their feet so they can help patients.

Getting the right energy and avoiding muscle soreness

There’s no doubt that nurses need calories to expend during 10- or 12-hour shifts. But where those calories come from is important. While vending machines may be an easy solution to hunger, those snacks are probably doing more harm than good. Chamberlain College of Nursing recommended these snacks for busy nurses:

  • Apples.
  • Bananas.
  • Greek yogurt and almonds.
  • Edamame.
  • Dark chocolate.
  • Hummus and veggie sticks.

Aside from diet, nurses should also consider stretching during their shift. After all, anyone going for a three-mile walk would stretch after warming up. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists suggested stretching to increase flexibility and avoid injury on the job. For example, if excessive walking and standing has caused bottom of foot pain, nurses can press their toes against the ground to stretch the plantar fascia. For lower back pain, the AANA suggested sitting at the edge of a stable chair and bending forward until the chest touches the legs. This stretch should be felt in the back and shoulders.

With the right diet and stretching routine, nurses can look at all of those daily steps as a health advantage.

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