Hunger, like the urge to urinate, is often ignored by the nurse on the go.
Ultimately, ignoring these urges is not in your best interest.
It can lead to more problems, illness, mood swings, and fatigue.
Fortunately, you can use some tips and tricks of busy nurses on the go who have had to face hunger on the front lines.
Protein is your friend because it will help give sustained energy over a longer period than simple carbohydrates. Of course, complex carbs, like multigrain bread, would be ideal, but we are looking for quick and easy here.
Now, you can’t carry around a steak or a leg of chicken in your pocket, but protein comes in various forms. String cheese, a bag of peanuts, or a yogurt stick are portable, easy to eat, and full of helpful protein.
You can either carry them in your pocket to munch on while charting or hide them in a strategic place around the nurse’s station for easy access. Even if you need to sneak into the lunchroom, go in, scarf the snack, and run back out.
Most Americans don’t eat well enough to cover all of their nutritional needs, and the problem is even more pronounced in nurses on the go. Although you should get your nutrients from food, that’s not always possible.
This isn’t to say that you should take your weight in supplements every day. No, even that is too much trouble and probably not all that helpful to your overall health.
One a day vitamins come in varieties of easy to consume forms now, such as gummies. Take two before you head out the door in the morning, and you can ensure that you are getting at least a portion of the nutrition you’re missing out on.
Pack Your Lunch
Most cafeterias offer grease soaked fried foods for nurses and patients alike. Some hospitals, like the Cleveland Clinic, are very health conscious and have good choices in their eateries.
However, you probably won’t even have five minutes to run down to the cafeteria to get these fried and/ or healthy foods. In fact, you will be lucky if you have the chance to eat at all.
This is where a packed lunch comes in handy. Not only is it convenient because it is right in the break room, but you can pack it with high protein items and whole grain foods that will keep you going for the second half of your shift.
Finally, you need to keep yourself from getting dehydrated. Again, stopping to get a drink can be problematic, and you certainly don’t get enough time to do it as often as necessary.
The best beverages are generally water, but Gatorade can help to replenish lost electrolytes. You need to find a way to keep the closed containers nearby, as well.
If you can’t keep a container of liquid at the nurse’s station, you should try to keep one in the fridge in the break room. Some facilities have very strict rules for drinks on the floor, but you can easily get around them by having the drink chilled and open in allowed areas.
Just take the time to go and get a sip of water frequently, like on your way between patients or before your start to chart. Even the busiest nurse can find ways to make hydration and nutrition part of their routine.