As we approach the Fourth of July, you might want to thank our heroes in scrubs! Even though the celebration usually includes fireworks, barbeques, and sunny weather, it also causes a sharp increase in car accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Fourth of July is the worst day of the year for fatal car crashes.”
Nurses across the country will be working over the holiday and helping their communities. Some might wear patriotic scrubs in honor of the day, while others might create Fourth of July treats for inpatients at local hospitals. Throughout history, nurse heroes have come in all shapes and sizes. Many of them have followed soldiers into battle with scrubs and cloth bandages on hand. Their mission has always been to save as many lives as possible.
During the Revolutionary War, nurses became a common fixture in George Washington’s Continental Army. Sick and injured soldiers were suffering greatly at the time. In July 1775, a plan was enacted that provided one nurse for every 10 patients. The Revolutionary War and Independence Day—often referred to as the Fourth of July—helped create a larger role for women in the nursing field.
Holiday Advice from an Expert
As we celebrate this Fourth of July, let’s also remember some safety tips so that we can have a safe and happy holiday. This advice comes from Melissa Conrad Stöppler, M.D., at MedicineNet. Some of these tips might be obvious but bear repeating, while others just might surprise you!
- Swim safely. According to Stöppler, “Water sports and fireworks are two of the biggest pastimes for Fourth of July celebrations, and these are both linked to numerous deaths and injuries each year.” Her advice? Never swim alone, and make sure that kids are supervised in the water at all times. Don’t assume others are watching the kids just because they’re nearby.
- Store and use fireworks correctly. This is a big one! If fireworks are legal in your area and part of your celebration, it’s important that you use them correctly. This means keeping spectators at a safe distance—emphasis on safe—and keeping kids away from the fireworks, too. If you’re concerned, you can always attend a firework display organized by professionals.
- Keep children away from campfires and grills. Along with fireworks, you’ll want to keep kids away from things like campfires and grills. Stöppler cites gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks, all of which can cause grill fires and explosions. These types of accidents happen more often than you might think.
- Drink responsibly. This one probably goes without saying, but alcohol and fireworks can be a hazardous combination. According to Stöppler, “alcohol and swimming can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.” Don’t forget to agree on a designated driver, too!
- Follow safe boating practices. Fourth of July festivities are often taken to the water, which means that lakes, waterways, and seas will probably be crowded with boats. Brush up on safe boating practices, and of course, don’t drink and drive your boat. Lastly, remember to stock enough life preservers for extra guests.
- Cover outdoor food but don’t leave it out all day. There are a number of reasons for this particular tip. Not only do you want to decrease the risk of food poisoning, but you also don’t want to attract bees or wasps. If someone is attending who is allergic to insect stings, you should buy an emergency anaphylaxis kit to have on hand. Avoid fragranced body products, bright colors, and sugary drinks to help prevent bee stings. When it comes to food-borne illness, “The U.S. FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 F and not more than two hours at other times.”
- Apply sunscreen regularly. Stöppler suggests applying sunscreen both before and during an outdoor party. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause premature aging, painful burns, and skin cancer later in life. As Stöppler states, “Even those with darker skin should use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF).”
- Check prescription medications carefully. This one might surprise you! Before partaking in outdoor festivities, check your medications to ensure that you will not have a “sun-sensitizing drug reaction to the medication.”
- Protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. If your Fourth of July festivities include hiking or camping in an area where ticks are abundant, wear light-colored shirts, long sleeves, and long pants that you can tuck into your socks. For bare skin, you might want to use a tick repellent with 30% DEET.
- Avoid dehydration and heat illness. Don’t forget to take breaks and spend time in the shade while drinking plenty of fluids. According to Stöppler, “The risk of heat-related illness is increased when participating in strenuous activity or sports, and those with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are also at an increased risk of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.”
We hope you found these tips helpful! During the holiday, you can have lots of fun and stay safe at the same time.
More About Careers in Nursing
Now that we’ve looked at some great safety tips, let’s go back to nursing for those that are seriously considering a career change. So, what careers are related to nursing? Vocational Nursing might be a great choice if you’d like to become a nurse without spending years in school. Nurses are essential members of the healthcare team, and their job opportunities are only expected to increase in the coming years. Reportedly, employment of LVNs is projected to grow 12 percent by 2026. This growth will likely afford nurses a certain degree of stability and job security.
Alternatively, you could pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Registered Nurses (RNs) with a BSN degree typically receive more management positions and employment opportunities. In addition to clinical skills, BSN students also learn more about communication, critical thinking, and other leadership skills. This combination allows BSN holders to create positive change in their healthcare settings.
Overall, nurses receive valuable exposure and experience. They work alongside physicians and other professionals while making a difference in the lives of their patients. At the end of the day, healthcare careers are all about helping others.
Unitek College can help you reach your goal of becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse or a Registered Nurse. Contact us today for more information about classes, tuition assistance options, and other healthcare programs.