Staying Well Fed: with no breaks..

  1. First and Foremost: I love food...steaks, chicken, green veggies, beans, yogurt, steaks lol.
    I was just curious what you guys do to stay healthy. I am big into fitness, not a muscle head but I enjoy staying in great shape. Without getting into any crazy "Bro Science" about nutrient timing and glycogen stores and expenditures, etc etc etc; how do you manage working a 12 hour shift without eating/resting? I get it. Coffee (diuretic) is a necessity, but so is food/water. With the lack of sleep, possible night shift, constant running between patients, and of course constant introduction to bacteria and viruses, a well fed/hydrated body, to me, would be of the utmost importance to maintaining a physically/mentally stable RN/BSN....(Is this why I read of so many people crying in their posts after a long day?) I'm a small guy, 5'7" 180 lbs of lean mass, who needs to eat proteins and delicious fibers constantly to keep me doing whatever it happens to be, that I'm doing. I worry that in being a nurse I would not be able to keep up this lifestyle. When do you get to eat on shift? I guess this question would be more so focused towards floor care RN's, seeing as how their patient load is much heavier than other areas of the hospital/. Thoughts/Complaints/Suggestions??
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    About trhumper

    Joined: Nov '15; Posts: 8; Likes: 3

    11 Comments

  3. by   PewpSmith
    In my experience I've found that how well the nurses are allowed to take care of their own needs (take bathroom breaks, eat, take reasonable amounts of breaks) depends on the 'culture' of the particular floor/hospital you work for. Some places would have outright laughed in my face if I said I was needing to go to lunch and when could I get covered-- but other places, (my favorite place I've ever worked), made it a priority to take care of one another to the point that everyone got lunches (as long as there was not very abnormally high patient flow) and bathroom breaks. The place I'm thinking of specifically was a VERY busy ER in general (the 2nd busiest in that state) so 'being busy' wasn't an excuse. If the culture is there and the atmosphere is there, then it makes it easier. THAT BEING SAID, I think the key to staying healthy, when it comes to diet, is preparation. Few hospitals allow enough time to leave campus for food and few also have good tasting HEALTFUL food available at all times for staff. It's all about meal prep. When I was on the work-out wagon I made sure to have food prepared and in the staff fridge so there wasn't an excuse to make bad food choices. Also, like most things, people tend to find a way to do things that are important to them. If you make your health a priority, I bet you will find a way. Hope this was helpful?
  4. by   ProgressiveActivist
    The new mini crockpot for work is the bomb!
    Anything is 100% more appetizing in your mini crockpot than it is using the microwave.
  5. by   MunoRN
    I carry things that can each be prepared and consumed in 60 seconds or less. I buy little bags of almonds or other nuts in bulk and always have 1 or 2 in my pocket. I stash some celery sticks and raid the little peanut butter cups stashed in the pantry intermittently. My main course is usually a couple of protein or other nutritional shakes a few hours apart somewhere mid-shift.
  6. by   nurse2033
    We get meal breaks, but they don't always line up with my stomach. But I also have food ready to eat. When I get to the point that I have to eat, I go to the lounge and grab a few bites. You can eat an entire cup of yogurt very quickly if you need to, for example. I keep fluids in an approved container at my work station. You have to be flexible but you can git er done.
  7. by   rjones416
    I go out and buy fast food on my breaks. Not the greatest choice but at least I'm getting my calories and protein. Couldn't you just pack a few meals and put them in the staff lounge?
  8. by   trhumper
    Thanks for the replies everyone! Fitness is very important to me thus eating would be too. I would be leery carrying foods in my pockets in case of body fluids/BM getting all over me lol. I do especially like the idea of smoothies and celery and PB though. I didn't know there was a fridge for the nursing staff! That lowers my fears of starving to death on shift by a million %! :P Im guessing if there is a fridge there is a microwave to accompany it in the RN break room ? That'd be ideal for prepping meals! Perhaps I was over examining these things :P
  9. by   sjalv
    Our break room has a microwave, a fridge, and of course you have a locker. I personally just buy something from the cafeteria. Our cafeteria has a subway-esque sandwich line most nights, or on weekends has an omelet night. Alternatively you can always get something from the grill, like a grilled chicken sandwich or a hamburger. Not the most nutritious BUT if you're inspired, you can prepare your meals ahead of time and bring them in Pyrex or tupperware containers. As another poster said, it depends on the culture of your unit, but I work nights in an ICU and you can always get someone to watch your patients while you eat.
  10. by   RNator
    Quote from PewpSmith
    In my experience I've found that how well the nurses are allowed to take care of their own needs (take bathroom breaks, eat, take reasonable amounts of breaks) depends on the 'culture' of the particular floor/hospital you work for. Some places would have outright laughed in my face if I said I was needing to go to lunch and when could I get covered-- but other places, (my favorite place I've ever worked), made it a priority to take care of one another to the point that everyone got lunches (as long as there was not very abnormally high patient flow) and bathroom breaks. The place I'm thinking of specifically was a VERY busy ER in general (the 2nd busiest in that state) so 'being busy' wasn't an excuse. If the culture is there and the atmosphere is there, then it makes it easier. THAT BEING SAID, I think the key to staying healthy, when it comes to diet, is preparation. Few hospitals allow enough time to leave campus for food and few also have good tasting HEALTFUL food available at all times for staff. It's all about meal prep. When I was on the work-out wagon I made sure to have food prepared and in the staff fridge so there wasn't an excuse to make bad food choices. Also, like most things, people tend to find a way to do things that are important to them. If you make your health a priority, I bet you will find a way. Hope this was helpful?
    THIS is so "key." I have been trying for over a year at my facility to get all the Nurses "on the same page" and take care of one another. If we don't get our breaks or lunches it's our own fault! We are smart people, there is a way, it is possible. Sadly, I think that I work with too many Nurses who have what I call a "hero complex or hero syndrome." They buck the idea of breaks and lunches and use it to prop themselves up and portray the "oh poor me" position, or "look at me I am a hero because I don't take breaks or lunches..." The culture of nursing needs to continue to evolve into an even more (self) respectable vocation, by standing up for ourselves and not taking "no" for an answer.
  11. by   GhosttRN
    I'm lucky enough that I can ride my bike into and out of work. So there is built in exercise, even on 12 hour days. Nursing lends itself really well to grazing, so have lots of easy little snacks. Bags of nuts are awesome. I get it in bulk and use ziplocks. Its all about prep.
    Honestly the hardest part is staying away from all the crap that people bring in. One day its Doughnuts, the next its a candy barrel. Then its someones birthday and there are cupcakes. Or the DON had a party and brings down the leftovers to the breakroom.
    Then staying on a workout plan while working is hard. Not impossible. You end up with random 12 shifts throughout the week, and for me week by week its inconsistent. Great for muscle confusion, hard for mental confusion.

    Edit: My unit is great in that we plan and schedule staff to come in and start lunch relief. Then when lunches are covered the odd 8 hour shifts go home and they take over. So i get a 30 min around 12-1400ish, and then graze throughout the day. I limit to my coffee to a much as I can tolerate before 1200/2400 respectively and then having my water bottle easily accessible is important. Rarely is it too busy that I cant find 5 minuets to pee. (although a foley leg bag has crossed my mind)
    Last edit by GhosttRN on Jan 17, '16 : Reason: more content
  12. by   K+MgSO4
    I don't understand this martyr like behaviors of not taking breaks. I pack leftovers, cheese triangles, nuts. Have a stash of tuna cans in your locker with some baked beans. If you have a freezer in the break room put a frozen meal in there to stop you making bad choices when you have forgotten your lunch.
  13. by   ProgressiveActivist
    Its pretty sad that the norm for this job has become no meals and advice about foods that are easy to wolf down so that you dont pass out from hunger.

    I cant think of any other job in which it's acceptable to starve the workers.

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