How to make the most of summer as an agency nurse

By Emily James

Summer is officially upon us, and Australian summers in particular are known for being some of the best in the world. And with the La Nina potentially easing off this year, there’ll hopefully be plenty of sunny days you can spend outdoors, whether you’re at the beach or enjoying a bushwalk. 

As an agency nurse, you can use your flexible schedule to your advantage and organise shifts around days and times of the day you’d like to spend outside. Many of our nurses from overseas will take morning shifts so they can enjoy a cooler afternoon at the beach, and others will take extra shifts in order to take a weekend getaway. There are endless ways you can adjust your schedule to make the most of your summer while earning just as much (or even extra) cash.

In this article, we’ll take you through some ways you can maximise your time this summer while staying safe at the same time. We’ll also provide some official resources on summer safety in Australia so you can be well-informed before your first trip to the beach: 

  • Organise your shifts and schedule 
  • Protect yourself from the sun 
  • Stay safe in the water 
  • Your next steps
Photo by Chris Galbraith on Unsplash

Organise your schedule 

Although summer encourages us to enjoy some lazy days by the pool or at the beach, we still have other commitments like work we have to keep up over the season. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. In fact, the flexibility provided to agency nurses allows them to join the best of both worlds if they’re organised. 

Many of our international nurses are particularly keen to enjoy their time at Australia’s renowned beaches before having to head home or before the weather gets cooler. As such, they often take morning shifts in order to enjoy some time on the beach in the afternoons. They might even organise their shifts so they have one or two full days off, so they can travel to faraway beaches or summer spots they otherwise couldn’t get to. 

Consider how you can best optimise your schedule to enjoy summer while earning as much money as you usually would (or maybe even more!) Get in touch with other agency nurses you know to see if they have any tips for creating a schedule, or even to make some summer plans together. The possibilities are endless with agency nursing. 

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Protect yourself from the sun 

The Australian sun is famous all over the world, and locals and tourists alike flock to beaches, pools and other summer spots to soak it up at this time of year. However, Australia also has a reputation for having some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Skin cancer is the fourth most diagnosed cancer in Australia and nearly 2000 people die each year from entirely preventable diseases related to skin damage. 

Thankfully, there are many different ways you can protect your skin from sun damage. Here are a few sun safety tips: 

  • Apply SPF50 or higher water-resistant sunscreen at least twenty minutes before sun exposure. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or straight after you get out of the water. You may need to reapply sunscreen more frequently if you are sweating excessively. 
  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and clothing that covers your skin when spending time outdoors. This is especially important if you are sunburnt, as covering a burn will ensure it isn’t damaged further by the sun. 
  • Seek out shade where possible when you’re outdoors.
  • Stay hydrated 

Remember that your best protection from the sun will come from following all of these tips, not just one or two. Unfortunately, just following one of these tips isn’t adequate protection against the Australian sun, as you can still experience sun damage on cloudy days without sunscreen, for example.

Photo by Nico Smit on Unsplash

Stay safe in the water

Australia is known the world over for its stunning beaches and swimming spots, so it’s no wonder we flock to them every summer for hours at a time. It’s important to remember, however, that there is always a risk of drowning when you swim, and certain factors and behaviours can increase your risk. 

Here are some recommendations to help you stay safe in the water

  • Only swim at beaches patrolled by lifeguards and surf lifesavers, as they are experts in constantly assessing the water for danger. Make a note of when the lifeguards clock on and off at the beach you’re visiting, so you’re not swimming during unpatrolled hours. Ensure you always swim between the flags. 
  • Swim with a friend rather than alone. 
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol, drugs or after a large meal.
Photo by Cam James on Unsplash

Your next steps 

Although Australia’s landscape can seem dangerous, it’s got one of the best summers the world has to offer. As long as you put these tips into practice, you can enjoy summer to the fullest while staying safe. 

Interested in visiting the beach but not sure where to start? Check out this list of the ten best beaches in Sydney, as voted by Sydneysiders. You can also check out these nine water parks in Sydney if you’re looking for a place other than a beach to swim. 

For more tips on staying safe from the Australian sun, you can visit the following sites for further information: 

Disclaimer: The information and advice provided in this article is general in nature. For information specific to places you’ll be swimming, please visit relevant government and council websites. 

Looking for nursing agency work? Apply today by completing our online application form or by emailing your CV and cover letter to [email protected]. If we’ve piqued your interest but you’re still undecided, take a look at our FAQs or visit our pages on Facebook and Instagram

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