managing Hypoglycemia during clinicals?



I'm starting my nursing program in Spring 2015 and I'm worried about getting into trouble with my blood sugar during clinicals. I've heard stores of not being able to use the restroom or eat anything during the clinical shift, and I'm worried that my blood sugar will be an issue. I manage it pretty well but I've never NOT been able to access juice or a snack in an emergency situation when I start feeling clammy and stammering... Has anyone dealt with blood sugar issues during nursing school/clinicals? Will it be a huge problem if I have to get some juice or keep a protien bar on me?


897 Posts

Specializes in CVICU. Has 1 years experience.

I'm not diabetic but I've never had an issue where I couldn't use the restroom or eat a snack if I needed to during clinical. Just check on your patient before you do either, and ask the nurse of the patient if she needs anything before you do. It's probably a good idea to tell your instructor too. Be sure to inform your clinical instructor at the beginning of the semester that you'll need to check your glucose level and likely eat snacks periodically. If your NURSING instructor doesn't get that, then she's likely not human.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

Are you diabetic? If you are there is no worry that your instructors will not allow you to carry a protein bar in your pocket. Yes we all talk about not getting breaks but we do get opportunities to grab a bite or drink here and there to keep is from hitting the ground


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Never had a problem getting to use the restroom or grab a quick bite. I keep Kind bars in my bag, and if it was a hectic day, I'd shove one in a pocket and take a bite when I could.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

Are you diabetic? If so, approach your clinical instructor and inform him/her. It will not be an issue. Every floor I've ever worked/did clinicals on had a small kitchen where things like juice and crackers were kept. Bring a lunch bag with snacks and keep it in the fridge at the nurses' station/in the backroom/wherever they have and keep some snacks in your pockets.

Specializes in ICU/ Surgery/ Nursing Education. Has 9 years experience.

You have to take what you see here in stride. The idea that nursing programs will not allow you to eat, drink, or use the restroom are pretty over stated. There are basic necessities a person needs to survive, look up Maslow's hierarchy of needs, get familiar with them you will use them often.

In our nursing program many students started a big uproar about this subject and frankly it was a little to do about nothing. In reality the truth is you will not be given time to leave for lunch or a dedicated 30 minute lunch window. It was suggested that all students bring crackers and a sandwich to eat on the go. Wheat crackers with peanut butter is portable and can be good to maintain blood sugar.

When you are at clinicals, learn then to care for yourself. As a nurse you must care for yourself so that you can care for your patients. Take bathroom breaks and grab a glass of water when you can. I always had the motto in school that if my clinical nurse didn't take a break I didn't either, but I was sure to drink fluids and carry crackers with me as needed.

meeep, BSN, RN

853 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatry. Has 7 years experience.

If you're too worried about it, you can carry glucose tablets in your pocket. I've always been able to bring a protein bar to clinical though, so I assume you will get a snack break.

NICUmiiki, DNP, NP

1,774 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.

We always got at least a 30 minute lunch break in every clinical I've been to. We are allowed to keep our stuff in the employee break room, so its not a problem to run in there to sip on a drink or scarf down a snack either.


15 Posts

Hello, I am a nursing student and hypoglycemic as well. I realized that when I began the program, I would need to do something to address this. As for me, I have orange juice boxes and protein bars with me when I leave each morning (that would be 6 a.m. clinical days). I have trouble eating that early in the morning, tends to upset my stomach, so I have something small. on the way, I ALWAYS drink my orange juice and eat my bar. I carry an extra, and if necessary and after my patients are taken care of, I go to the nurses lounge and it that. We are very lucky in that we get at least a half hour lunch break scheduled, my CI writes it along with our assignments and tapes them to the desk at the front of the nurses station (she is awesome), so everyone is aware. Good luck, its fun, its hard, it is so worth it.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I have been nursing >20 years and have never had an issue with bringing nuts or other snacks as long as they fit in my pocket. This was true during clinicals too. You do what you have to do but do not make a martyr of yourself. Lots of people snack during the day. Good luck!


41 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

Thanks everyone! I guess I heard too many "horror stories" you really put my mind at ease


90 Posts

In reality the truth is you will not be given time to leave for lunch or a dedicated 30 minute lunch window.

In my program we definitely get lunch breaks.