Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nurses With Diabetes: 10 Ways On How To Survive A Hectic Work Day

A day in a life of a nurse is overwhelming. I truly believe that the words multi tasking came out from this very dear profession. A twelve-hour shift is not enough to fulfill the assigned tasks and satisfy your heart and soul. Yet, we make the best out of everything making sure everyones needs are met.

In the process, we forget our own needs.

As a type 1 diabetic of 42 years,  I constantly make sure that my blood sugar is normal (or close to normal), In Addition, to withstand the demands of the unit, not only do I monitor my patients blood sugar, I also have to pay attention to mine.
Throughout the years, I have learned ways to cope with the requirements of an insulin dependent diabetic in conjunction with the workflow of a nursing unit.

This is how I do it!

1. Check, check, check that blood sugar. I know its easier said than done! But, I cannot stress it enough that this is the key to better control of diabetes. I always tell my patients, if here is any time of the day you need to check your blood sugar, it's in the morning. Right when you get out of bed. This way you know "where" you're at in the beginning of the day. And this applies to us diabetic nurses too.

2. Eat. If you are taking insulin or medications by mouth, feed that insulin. You have to, There is no other way around it. Eat your breakfast! It's your go to meal of the day. I know, sometimes you just don't really feel like it. But, it will save you a lot of trouble during the long 12 hour shift. If you're counting carbs, great. You know exactly how much you need to bolus. If you are doing the sliding scale, plan for the insulin peaks.

3. Carry a snack in your nursing scrub pockets. Something. For those insulin peaks. A piece of hard candy for fast relief. Chocolate? Why not. Longer duration and great for the psyche. You know what I mean. In extreme emergency and you have nothing on hand, go for the unit pantry. OJ. Stat!

4. Check blood sugar again. Re assess. Take a breather. I do this when its time for the noon accu checks.  Really this would be around 2 - 3 hours after you had your breakfast. A great way to know how you did for breakfast. It will also let you know your status for lunch. If you get one! See what I mean about breakfast?

5. If you get the lunch break. That's awesome. If not, at least you know your blood sugar and can proceed if you need to bolus or eat that chocolate. What the heck, eat it anyway. You'll probably burn it off walking back and forth down the hall, turning your patients, answering your phone and call lights, arguing with pharmacy, talking to family members,,,,,to name a few!

6. I try to eat my snack discreetly during those "quiet" charting moments. Take those little opportunities.

7. If you weren't able to take a lunch break, take that late afternoon break! Time to relax a little bit and take care of yourself. A time to re focus on everything. Or better yet, a bladder break. This is like a "cigarette break" for nurses who do not smoke. If you do, here's your chance.

8. At the end of your shift, when everything is accounted for, hopefully, check your blood sugar before driving home. You do not want to be caught off guard when it comes to hypoglycemia in the middle of you driving, It's a no - no. A big safety issue not only for yourself but for everyone else on the road.

9. Home sweet home. Ahhhh... Isn't that a great feeling?

10. Be thankful for a day that you managed to survive. It's not easy, Not only as a nurse but also for a diabetic. There is just so much. It's different for everyone. But I'm hoping that with what I shared you, can help you out. or at least let you know that you are not alone in your struggles as a nurse with diabetes.

Thanks and be safe.


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