Let’s face it…in order to be a nurse, you must genuinely love people. You must sympathize, empathize, and show unconditional treatment and care, even if your patient is c-diff and shitting everywhere. 9 times out of 10, you will find that. Unfortunately, the one necessary component of the job that many lack, is STRENGTH…brut and utter physical strength. Now, I think it’s common sense and we can all agree that a majority of the nursing industry is female but the amount of Fockers is on the rise if not even keel…and yes, even those Fockers who stroll around in with muscles, fitted scrubs, a nice pair of Vibrams could use more strength (ok, I wasn’t exactly a Focker but I mean, I did catch the eye of some nurses and docs 😉 )…ok, back to the main point. Nursing duties are far more than charting patient data, putting in med orders, and listening to doctors bitch and complain when they get a late call about patients they aren’t physically dealing with 90% of the time. Nursing have to lift, bend, and move things much heavier than a filled bed pan full of feces.

With that said, you will get COUNTLESS amounts of nurses who pull their backs, hurt their shoulders, and hurt their knees. It’s an occurrence that happens far too often. I have a client who is a nurse and as we were speaking during her assessment, she would tell me about the aches and pains…When it all comes down to it is this:

-A patient needs to be turned so you can change the pad/pan/adult diaper. You are bracing the hip and the shoulders. The bed is at the right height and you pull the patient towards you. That action is a ROW (Horizontal Pull)

-You drop a FILLED patient chart on the side of a chair and you reach down to the right to pick it up. That action involves the core and we call it ANTI-LATERAL FLEXION

-A patient slips and falls (and not only does it suck you have to pick the patient up but the incident report follows and we all know how much that sucks). You have to lift the patient up at least back in to the chair, if not the bed. Whats that action? A HINGE aka DEADLIFT

…the list goes on and on. Everything a nurse does require the basic movements of PUSH(Horizontal/Vertical), Pull (Horizontal/Vertical), Squat, Hinge, and surprisingly even Single-Leg and Lunge movements.

So now, we have the basics down and you want to know exactly, HOW to train. Well, it’s simple. Depending on your goals be it fat loss or muscle size/tone, my suggestion is to mix that in with STRENGTH training. Why? Well it’s simple…

Strength= ^Force vSpeed vVolume (yes, those are arrows) meaning you will be learning to lift heavier weights using the muscle you already have due to the amount of muscle fibers being recruited. The speed is slow because of the recruitment of more muscle fibers and  its more taxing on the central nervous system than it is on the muscular system, so more rest is needed.

Now, how does this translate in to nursing? Well, lets go back to the example of the patient that slipped and fell. If you are the only one in the room and need to lift that patient up, you can ideally set up in a deadlift postion and REALLY use those muscle (stabilizing the low back so you don’t pull it). See, just saved an injury. 🙂

Once you get over the whole, “oh, I have no time because I just worked 3 12’s in a row” phase, you’ll realize just how important training is. I know in nursing school they don’t push physical fitness, but as a former nursing student, hospital employee, and now personal trainer, I feel it’s more important than ever to train.

If you love your profession that much and don’t want injuries to get in your way, start strength training. 1 hour, 3 days a week, will sure as hell beat sitting home, bored, on disability because you didn’t take preventative measures.