When you think of qualifications that a nurse should possess, the ability to throw a good punch is probably at the bottom of the list. Nurses, however, can greatly benefit from learning martial arts. According to a survey by the American Nurses Association, over a fifth of nurses and nursing students surveyed reported being physically assaulted by patients. Learning a martial art can give nurses the skills and the confidence to protect themselves and their coworkers while on the job. What’s more, it’s also good for the mind, the body, and the soul. Here are just a few of the ways that martial arts can benefit members of the nursing community.

Keep Physically Fit

Physical fitness is especially important for nurses due to the nature of their job. Rushing around the hospital, standing on their feet all day, and lifting heavy patients and equipment requires nurses to be in peak form. Practicing a martial art is a great way to get fit, as it offers both strength training and cardiovascular benefits. It can lower your blood pressure and heart rate while reducing the risk of stroke. Martial arts are also designed to help you improve your flexibility, your coordination, and your speed, all of which are essential traits for a nurse.

Sharpen Your Mind

In addition to being beneficial for the body, practicing martial arts is also good for the mind. Most martial arts stem from ancient Eastern practices and place as much of an emphasis on training the brain as the body. Mental focus and self-discipline are a cornerstone of many widely practiced martial arts. As a nurse, you can work on finding your center, helping you to concentrate and improve your performance at work. Martial arts have also been shown to enhance your mental wellness, lower stress, and even improve decision-making skills, which can make all the difference in a split-second environment such as an emergency room.

Defend Yourself

It’s an unfortunate truth that nursing isn’t the safest profession to go into, especially for those who are petite. Nurses face threats on a near daily basis, from patients seizing to withdrawal victims acting out. ER nurses in particular, tend to see a lot of violent or intoxicated patients that may pose a danger to them or other staff members.

Learning a martial art teaches you how to defend yourself against attack in the safest possible way. While most martial arts emphasize peace over violence, if talking down a patient fails to work or if they lunge, you may be forced to act. In this case, a keep grasp of practices such as Judo or Krav Maga may help you to defend yourself without risking heavy damage to your patient.

While some may balk at the idea, learning a martial art would be a skill that would benefit just about any nurse. It has long-lasting mental, physical, and emotional benefits that can help medical staff to keep calm and perform better while on the job. Martial arts also give nurses the option to defend themselves if they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

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