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Staff access to water while on shift

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Student midwife Deepa Santosh recently wrote to the Royal College of Midwives highlighting concerns that many midwives were not able to access water regularly while on shifts. 

She has kindly shared her letter (attached), and the below poster, which can be used by others to highlight the importance of staying hydrated and the potential harm that dehydration can cause to both staff and patient care. 

Have you struggled with similar issues where you work? Or do you have processes and policies in place that ensure you never have to go without water? Share your experiences, by commenting below. 

To comment you'll need to sign up to the hub, it's free and easy to do. 


RCM letter.pdf


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Years ago I remember never being allowed a drink at the desk.  It was against infection control is what I was told.  

however I do remember breaking the rules and then promptly spilling the drink across the keyboard   🤦🏼‍♀️

As an outreach nurse , we are travellers around the hospital.  I know where all the water stations are in each department - the trouble is that there are sometimes a lack of cups.  Disposable cups are not environmentally friendly , however if you are a HCP that moves around wards you can’t always take a bottle with you - especially if you are running to an emergency.  

If you are based on the wards , the culture where I work is that you are able to have a bottle at the desk.  

working on COVID wards , regular breaks were taken as hydration was much more focussed on than ever before. 

Not sure who controls the heating in all hospitals, but turning that off in the summer would help!!

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One of the benefits of community working is providing own supply of water and drinking as much as I want  between visits.  My challenge is not the drinking it is finding a loo when my bladder is full.  As I have over active bladder this is really cumbersome at times.

I cover Trustwide wide home visits. Some visits I can travel 40 to 50 minutes to reach a patient's home. Access to a toilet has been particularly difficult during the pandemic.  Asking to use someone's loo in a pandemic is made even more difficult when you wear a nurses uniform.  Our usual stops eg GP practices doors have been closed and going into a supermarket in uniform is debatable at the best of times but in the early stages there were queues to get in compounding the challenge further.

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