As a nurse, you probably have an opportunity to fine-tune — or even overhaul — your personal ergonomics at work. You have more control over the furniture and accessories you use with technology than you’d suspect. Consider trying one of the following simple fixes so that you don’t become a casualty of the keyboard.

– Replace your phone’s receiver with a headset or earbuds.

Your neck won’t get crimped, you’ll be free to gesture and move around, and more blood will flow to your brain. Best of all, you can adjust the volume so you don’t have to strain to hear.

-Consider a chair replacement or upgrade.

For a change of pace from the standard office chair, try a stool, kneeling chair or giant stability ball. (Or add a lumbar support to your existing seat.) Sounds odd, but even political leaders have relied on alternative seating. For instance, John F. Kennedy kept a rocker in the oval office for times his back pain flared up. Try out a number of chair styles until you find one that’s just right for your body.

-Try working in another area.

Sometimes you have to get away from the noise, confusion, or monotony of your everyday workspace. If you have a laptop or tablet or smartphone to work on, escape to a deck, patio, lunchroom, or quiet conference room for a short while. The change of scenery will send your stress packing, and get your creative juices flowing.

— Keep documents, binders, and printouts in plain view.

Never twist your neck, or turn your head to look at documents as you input data. Data entry shouldn’t be like following a tennis match. So, keep reference materials close to your monitor and at about the same height. Also, type-by-touch and memorize your keyboard commands to avoid head-bobbing.

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— Avoid rickety stands.

Make sure that workstations, shelves, stands and carts are strong and durable with edges that are smooth and rounded. Shake furniture vigorously to be sure pieces are stable enough to hold heavy equipment or devices. Mobile carts should have firmly fastened castors, which glide smoothly and lock securely. Otherwise, you can knock into sharp edges or equipment could fall off and hurt you or a patients.

Jebra Turner writes about health and technology at www.anthro.com.

Jebra Turner
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