Nursing & Hypoglycemia

Nurses General Nursing


I have hypoglycemia and am studying to be an RN. I am a little concerned about how my frequent low blood sugar will affect my career in the sense that I'll need constant breaks or I will have little energy. Of course, I would never let this condition get in the way of me wanting to be a nurse, but I am curious to know if anyone else who deals with this as well. Thank you!

Specializes in Emergency Room.

I do not have the condition hypoglycemia, however, I do suffer from low blood sugar at times due to long periods without a break. I work in a small rural hospital ER that is staffed with only one RN (me) and one LPN. I work afternoons. When we get busy, there is no one to relieve us to take a break. We often eat on the run or very late. I've had dinner as late as 10 p.m. I tend to get irritable if I don't eat at a reasonable hour. That said, we usually have some sort of snack handy to munch on while passing through the nurses station. There is also a vending machine nearby. My advice to you is to choose the area you work in carefully. If possible, pick one that is predictible (as much as nursing can be), so you can count on your breaks. ER may not be for you, nor may critical care. Good luck in your endeavors!


I too have had problems with low blood sugar in the past. I agree with the previous reply. You will need to be aware of what Your needs are and plan in advance for them. Be sure you have the appropriate snack food with you.(A candy bar is not a good choice.)

Good luck with nursing school



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Hi , I too suffer from hypoglycemia and no MD would help me. My first jobs and nursing school was very difficult. (5y ago) Then about two years ago, I asked the MD to retest my TSH and low and behold, she started my on Synthroid and my hypoglycemic episodes almost disappeared. I did have normal labs until then. I now take thyroid replacement (Synthroid) daily. It has helped with the Irritable Bowel Sydrome, too. Mentally, I feel as if the cobwebs have cleared. I can't beleive I went through nursing school and my first hospital job like that. Keep getting your thyroid checked yearly-I heard there were alot of false negatives- perhaps someone can verify. Diet is extremely important- my advise is force protein for breakfast, along with complex carbs, ie raison bran etc- try to head off episodes by taking in a drink box of OJ and a lo fat snack bar that may hold you until your break. If you have time to make some oat muffins with yogurt or applesauce, these will help. A beer or two the night before exacerbates it!! There is alot of literature about hypoglycemia online. Good Luck. I know what you're going through, at times my mind was so clouded and my hands shook during episodes, by the time I got through the lunch counter, I couldn't even count out the correct lunch money--not good in nursing! It was a great testiment to my tenacity and fortitude that I did it!!

I am a nursing student and I am doing my 2nd semester of clinical. I have recently been diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemic syncope and hypothyroidism. I would get so bad that I couldn't remember driving home. I would advise you to take your well deserved breaks and put the most focus on your breakfast. I don't need to tell you what to eat, you know that already. Dinner and supper don't have to be the large meals of the day. What you eat for breakfast is what fuels your body most of the day. Just repeating from earlier, pack in the protein. Unless you have a renal disorder you should be able to eat as much protein as you like. Furthermore, just a week ago I have tacked on generalized anxiety disorder to my list. Nursing is one of the most stressful professions especially if you have young children (for many reasons). I would advise you to eat right and exercise. Both of those will help you manage your hypoglycemia. Take care.

Thank you all for your advice and tips! I've been dealing with low blood sugar for approximately 6 years now and supposedly my thyroid is fine. I definitely know about the snack and protein "rules"! At least the medical community knows what hypoglycemia is as opposed to a work place and will be somewhat sympathetic to my needs. Wish me luck!

Smashing: Let me reinforce what Cargal said about checking and rechecking your thyroid! Also, go to a health food store and get some protein tablets to carry with you. I get the little snack size Zip Lock bags so I can carry a handful in my pocket. Don't wait until you're shaking, eat a couple every hour. There are also some great protein bars on the market for when you can't sit down and eat.

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