Walking at work really adding up for nurses

ROBYN Gralton has probably walked the distance from Sydney to London and back again as she has paced the wards at work.

The Coffs Harbour registered nurse, who has been working in hospitals for 31 years, 25 of them in Coffs Harbour, says she agrees that nurses are 'run off their feet'.

While she has never measured the distance she walks in a day while ministering to patients, three other Coffs Harbour nurses recently joined in a study of nurses walking at work, where they wore pedometers during working hours for five days.

The results for Coffs Harbour showed that the local nurses walked an average of 23.94km in a week, which would be 1125km a year or 34,885 in 31 years - more than three-quarters of the way around the world.

Bellinger River District Hospital nurses walked even further, clocking up an average of 29.33km a week, 1379km a year, meaning they walked almost the distance from Sydney to Melbourne each year.

These results put the Bellingen nurses second top of the leagues table for the 18 different health centres.

The table was topped by nurses at Sydney Eye Hospital, where nurses walked nearly 30km a week.

Robyn Gralton said she exercised regularly outside work, choosing sports that exercised other parts of her body, like surfing and bike riding and she also has regular massages, but her calves and feet still ache at the end of a nursing shift.

"I've got problems with my feet. I have plantar fasciatis, which is an inflammation of the ligament from the big toe to the heel from 31 years of running up and down wards," Robyn said.

She said problems with shoulders and knees were also common among older nurses.

Rushing all the time is not good for the body and she said nurses should be given time to stretch before they start work.

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