1. Stress! We have stressful jobs. We’re not Walmart Greeters (no offense to Walmart Greeters). What we do on the job makes a difference: legally and physically. There is no room for mistakes. And…what relieves stress better than eating? Just about nothing.
2. Everyone Donates Junk Food: Why is it that the large majority of foods people like to donate to staff are sweets? Donuts, chocolate, cookies, and even candy seem to always appear when you most need it (or rather, when you’re at your most desperate)
3. Potlucks, Birthdays, and Staff Meetings: Nurses love to celebrate by a show of food. It seems to be the culture! Birthdays, going away parties, holidays, and staff meetings are among the many opportunities for everyone to “meet and eat!”
4. After-work Pick-me-Ups: Now this isn’t everyone, but many of the nurses I know love to throw back an after-shift (or just anytime we can get together) drink! Those are empty carbs you know…tsk tsk!
5. Rationalizing: Have you ever thought along these lines? “Well I’ve been running around all day. I’m sure I’ve more than burnt off the calories to make up for this [insert junk food here]. Gobble gobble gobble.” I have rationalized this way…I’ll admit that. Although I don’t say “gobble gobble gobble” as I gobble.
6. We Work Hard! Wait…what’s wrong with the previous line of thinking? We do work hard! We do run all day! We practically get 40+ hours of cardio and exercise every week, and probably cover a marathon’s distance every pay period or so! Not to mention the lifting and pushing and pulling. So yeah…it’s fine.
7. Addicted to Caffeine. I bet most of us are. And we of all people should know that caffeine is a vasodilating, diureticizing (is that a word?), and stimulating substance. But we can’t live without it!
8. Vending Machines. Yeah, they’re everywhere…but they seem to be especially prevalent in every facility I’ve ever worked in. Those snacks and drinks, staring at you through their glass prisons, wanting to get out for just a measly dollar bill! So hard to resist.
Kevin is an RN and co-founder of Brilliant Nurse, a company offering an online NCLEX Review Package for nursing students. His wife makes him healthy food in spite of his eating habits.