Nurses Are Being 'Banned From Drinking Water' At Work During Heatwave
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Nurses are being banned from drinking water on the job despite temperatures soaring, it has been reported.
A snap survey by Nursing Notes found that out of 403 nurses, 38 percent were banned from drinking in clinical areas.
'Infection control policies' are often cited as the reason for the prohibition, the publication said, despite a lack of evidence to suggest that allowing resealable bottles would present a risk.
One nurse said: "It seems a bit hypocritical… We are told to encourage our patients to stay hydrated, but matron comes around and throws away our water bottles from the nurses' station."
Responding to the reports, Ruth May - England's chief nursing officer - said it was 'crucial' that nurses stay hydrated.
She tweeted: "I've heard reports that some #teamCNO colleagues are being told not to drink water at nurses stations. It's crucial that all nursing, midwifery and care staff are able to drink water and stay hydrated during a shift at nursing stations or other convenient locations.
"This is especially important during the hot weather and as temperatures are set to rise. Equally, we need to ensure patients stay hydrated too."
This is especially important during the hot weather and as temperatures are set to rise. Equally, we need to ensure patients stay hydrated too. #BeatTheHeat— Ruth May 💙 (@CNOEngland) July 13, 2022
Nurses United UK, a grassroots group that campaigns for nurses rights, said managers who prohibit staff from drinking water should be 'ashamed'.
Lead organiser, Anthony Johnson, told Nursing Notes: "We need to have a cultural shift in our profession. Nurses are human beings too. It's why our patients want us there to use our compassion to care for them.
"The managers who think it is acceptable to deny nurses water should be ashamed of themselves. How will our nurses care for us if we don't care for them?
"As a matter of human decency and our patient safety, this 'policy' needs to be challenged and grievances raised."
Royal College of Nursing guidance highlights the importance of workers staying hydrated, with it stating: "In the majority of circumstances, having individual labelled water bottles with lids or drinking cones/ disposable cups for staff to use will pose no risk to staff or patients.
"Being professional means following the Nursing and Midwifery Council's code and ensuring that you are looking after your own health, ensuring it doesn't impact on patients and modelling good health behaviours to encourage your patients to drink fluids."
When contacted by LADbible for comment, NHS England said: "It is vital that all NHS staff and patients are able to drink water and stay hydrated particularly in hot weather whether at nursing stations, in staff rooms or other convenient locations."
The survey results come as the country braces itself for 'exceptional' heat, with the NHS expecting a surge in demand.
An amber extreme heat warning for much of England and Wales is in place for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures likely to peak in excess of 35C (95F) in southern, central and eastern areas of England.
More widely in the area covered by the warning, temperatures are expected to be as high as 32C (90F), the Met Office has said, with Tuesday expected to see the peak in heat.
It is possible that the UK record temperature of 38.7C (101.7F) - set in Cambridge in 2019 - could be topped, forecasters said.
The extreme heat could cause health problems across the population, not just among people vulnerable to extreme heat, leading to potential serious illness or danger to life.
People are being urged to stay out of the sun in the middle of the day, stay hydrated, look out for vulnerable people, never leave children or pets in a parked car, and keep curtains closed to keep out the sun.