4 Simple Stretches for the Travel Nurse

Whether you're on a mountain top or in the middle of your shift, you can do these quick stretches anywhere!

Whether you’re on a mountain top or in the middle of your shift, you can do these quick stretches anywhere!

You spend most of your day caring for patients, and that can be a full body workout. After a long 12-hour shift, the last thing you probably want to do is go to the gym. And while we certainly don’t blame you, your personal fitness shouldn’t always take a back seat.  With just a few minutes each day, you can actually help prevent potential injuries and increase your endurance when you practice these 4 simple stretches for the travel nurse:

Cat and Camel Stretch: This easy to learn stretch can help relieve lower back pain and help strengthen your spinal cord. According to WebMD, a static Cat and Camel stretch can be done using the following steps:

  • Lace your fingers together and turn your palms to face outward in front of you.
  • Reach your arms as far as you can, curving your back and shoulders forward.
  • Hold for roughly 10 seconds.
  • Release your fingers, and grab your wrists or fingers behind your back.
  • Raise your arms as high as you can behind your back without releasing your hands so your chest opens and your shoulders roll back.

Lying Bed Stretch: According to nursing blog Scrubs.com, the lying bed stretch can help reduce back and neck pain. And the best part? As its name implies, you don’t have to leave your bed for this one!

  • Simply lie back on your bed.
  • Raise both arms over your head, so that your elbows face the ceiling and your hands dangle over the edge of the bed.
  • Hold for 15 seconds, then slowly bring your hands back to your side.
  • Repeat one to two times as needed.

Half Dog at the Wall: This modified yoga pose is also great for the busy travel nurse. All you need is a wall and a few seconds of free time. Doyouyoga.com suggests this stretch to help relieve stress and boost your energy level:

  • Stand facing a wall, about a leg’s length apart.
  • Place your hands on the wall roughly at shoulder height.
  • Press your hands against the wall, and bend your knees a bit and slowly walk your feet away from the wall.
  • Keeping your hips positioned over your feet, gradually walk out until your arms are straight and form a long line with your torso and belly.
  • Push your arms strongly towards the wall, while creating an upward lift from your knees to your hips.
  • Gradually straighten your knees.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • Slowly come back up.

Supine Pelvic Tilt: This classic exercise routine works well for those of you who suffer from low back pain. So basically, all nurses everywhere, right? This stretch can take a bit more time, but it’s worth the effort! The American Council on Exercise recommends you follow these steps:

  • Lie back on a mat or the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat on the ground, and your arms at your sides in a “T” position.
  • As you exhale, use your abdominal muscles to press your low back into the floor. Be careful to not lift your hips. Hold this position for a short time.
  • Next, slowly inhale and slant your pelvis in the opposite direction. This should create an arch between your low back and the floor. Again, make sure to keep your hips and tailbone on the ground. Hold this position briefly, then return to your starting position.
  • Rest a few seconds between each set. Depending on the amount of time you have, you can do 2-3 sets at a time.

As a travel nurse, you’re constantly on the move, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with constant back pain and stress. These quick stretches can help you let go of stress, relieve your tired and sore muscles, and help prevent personal injuries on the job.

What other activities help you unwind after a long day?

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5 Fantastic National Parks Travel Nurses Should Visit This Fall

The U.S. National Park Service celebrates its centennial anniversary this year, so it’s the perfect time for travel nurses to explore some of America’s natural wonders. Take a break from your busy travel nurse schedule and discover the majesty of the Grand Canyon or reconnect with nature at Yosemite. Need some inspiration to help you get started? National Geographic has listed the Top 10 Most Visited National Parks, and we think the first five parks on their list are fantastic for fall:

  1. Smoky Mountains autumn

    Straddling the North Carolina and Tennessee border, the Great Smoky Mountain range is part of an international biosphere reserve and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee: Experience the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as its beautiful landscapes explode into vibrant fall color. With more than 800 miles of hiking trails and auto tours, you can explore the nation’s most popular park on foot or by car. Avoid the summer crowds and visit during the fall season so you can appreciate on your own the natural fog that often hangs over this mountain range.

  1. Grand Canyon

    Take a guided river trip on the Colorado River as it winds through the Grand Canyon.

    Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: With its breathtaking views, numerous hiking trails, and whitewater rafting tours, the Grand Canyon should be on every travel nurse’s bucket list. According to National Geographic, even from the best vantage point, you’ll only be able to see a fraction of the canyon’s 277 miles. No matter your view though, this mile-deep geologic wonder will be sure to leave you inspired. Sunrise and sunset tours are especially popular.

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park

    Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park could be your next climbing adventure.

    Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: If you enjoy a challenging mountain climbing experience, look no further than Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. One of Colorado’s “Fourteeners”, Longs Peak offers those who reach its summit commanding views of the region. If you’re not quite ready for Longs Peak, you can still go camping or mountain biking. Nearby towns like Estes Park also provide tourists with fun dining and shopping experiences.

  1. Yosemite magical autumn (P)

    Step away from the concrete jungle and enjoy the bright, jewel-toned colors of fall at Yosemite National Park.

    Yosemite National Park, California: After visiting Yosemite, you’ll know why explorer and naturalist John Muir felt inspired to write, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees.” Nature lovers won’t be disappointed here. Just as John Muir did generations ago, you can stand in awe of Yosemite’s massive sequoias, soak up the impressive view at Glacier Point, and discover the park’s world-famous waterfalls.

  1. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National park

    Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring, shown here, is one of the largest natural hot springs in the world.

    Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: As the world’s first national park, Yellowstone remains the crown jewel of the U.S. National Park Service. Established in 1872, Yellowstone has long captured the imaginations of travelers worldwide, and it’s not hard to understand why. Visitors can watch Old Faithful erupt, spot wildlife in the Lamar Valley, and take in the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest spring in the U.S.

Want to learn more about which national park you should explore next? Click here to see National Geographic’s complete list of the Top 10 Most Visited National Parks.

Have you been to one of these parks? What was your experience there?

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5 Must-Read Travel Nurse Blog Posts

This Labor Day weekend, relax and catch up on all your favorite Travel Nurse blogs!

This Labor Day weekend, relax and catch up on all your favorite travel nurse blogs!

As a travel nurse, you know it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to stay current on your favorite blogs. So, in honor of the upcoming Labor Day weekend, Travel Nursing Central took on the task of finding this week’s 5 must-read travel nurse blog posts for you. Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and start reading as you celebrate Labor Day!

 

10 Things A Nurse Wants To Hear… Never, Nurse Buff: Nurse Buff takes a humorous look at the daily joys of being a nurse. Be prepared to laugh as you read — this post is full of funny phrases you’ll be all too familiar with.

Online Safety Tips, The Gypsy Nurse: This blog is filled with great content for the travel nurse, and its latest article is no exception. It’s always a good idea to refresh yourself on good online safety habits, especially since most travel nurses rely on the internet while on the road.

Dear Nurses, Love Z Dogg MD, TravelNursingBlogs.com: TravelNursingBlogs.com has a reputation as a fun and informative resource for travel nurses. The blog’s most current post, a music video by Z Dogg MD, is a tribute to all nurses. With Labor Day just around the corner, it’s also touchingly appropriate. Watch it! We guarantee it will make you smile!

The Top 11 Travel Nursing Companies, Blue Pipes: This popular travel nursing blog has graciously listed the top 11 travel nurse companies. The best part? The Blue Pipes team based these rankings on traveler reviews across social media platforms, so it’s an excellent way to find a company that provides great service.

The 25 Best Nursing Jobs, TopRNtoBSN.com: Are you a nursing student and not sure yet what kind of nurse you want to be? Or maybe you’re a veteran nurse in need of a change? Then, look no further than this TopRNtoBSN.com’s article. Travel nurses won’t be surprised to find that their profession is recognized on the list!

Thanks for reading! Happy Labor Day to travel nurses everywhere!

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