Nutrition Tips for Clinicians: Staying Healthy During Busy Days

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Between the double shifts and stressful days, keeping energy up and eating right can seem like an insurmountable challenge.
Between the double shifts and stressful days, keeping energy up and eating right can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

Between the double shifts and stressful days, keeping energy up and eating right can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

Every day, clinicians advise patients how to stay healthy, but they often put their own health aside. Self-care is so important to remember, especially during those long, stressful weeks.

“The first thing is to eat breakfast,” said Thomas Kottke, MD, MSPH, cardiologist, epidemiologist, and medical director at the nonprofit healthcare research organization, HealthPartners Institute. “I start out with strawberries, bananas, almonds, protein. In order to think, you have to have glucose.”

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many professionals pass it up. However, eating breakfast can be the difference between starting the day with energy and burning out before noon.

During busy days it can seem almost impossible to carve out time to take a break. But allowing yourself even a few minutes to rest is important.

“Take that lunch break,” said Dr Kottke. “There was this one [physician] I knew, he always took a break for lunch. He was always in a good mood when everybody else was burned out by the end of the day.”

Fill that lunch break with vegetables and fruit to keep energy going. Rather than grabbing food at the last minute, take the time every week to plan what you're going to eat so you aren't tempted to reach for some empty-calorie junk food. You'll be thankful you planned ahead, later. Your stomach ­— and patients — will thank you.

“Take a good break. You're doing your patients a service because being recharged you are able to think straight,” said Dr Kottke.

Reference

Pronk NP, Kottke TE. Health nutrition and dietary considerations for the workplace. ASCM Health Fitness J. 2018;22(5):56-59.

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