Solutions to Stop Nurse Weight Gain

Solutions to Stop Nurse Weight Gain

Weight gain doesn’t have to be a given for nurses, though it sometimes seems that way. There are so many challenges to eating healthy: working 12-hour shifts (especially nights); eating at oddball hours; not always getting a lunch break; often leaving work feeling starved, etc. 

Losing weight is one of the most popular new year’s resolutions, yet according to many experts less than 10% of us actually achieve our goals. So then, how can nurses rev up their resolutions?

First of all, it’s crucial to identify the reasons why you may have difficulty meeting the challenge of change. (That was yesterday’s task.) Then it’s easier to problem-solve those issues in advance so that you’re not facing down obstacles on the fly. After all, problem-solving is one of the things that nurses do best!

Strategies may be focused on the attitudinal, behavioral, or situational — or all of the above. For example: If you gobble up a box of doughnuts whenever you swing by the bakery, you might try repeating a motto such as “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” That will remind you that the temporary pleasure of a glazed crumpet isn’t worth the damage to your physique. That’s an attitude adjustment.

Or, you might make a deal with yourself to only buy only one doughnut at a time — in order to limit the damage you inflict to your sensible eating plan. That’s a behavioral fix.

Or, maybe you’ll train yourself to take another route home so you aren’t tempted by the scent of fresh, hot doughnuts. That’s a situational solution. Try a variety of approaches and see which one sticks.

What approaches have you tried in your efforts to eat healthy? What solutions stuck? Let us know!

Jebra Turner is a freelance health writer in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at

Job Hunting Amid Fear of a Bad Reference

Job Hunting Amid Fear of a Bad Reference

Are you looking for a job, but haunted by what your former supervisor may say when contacted for a reference check? Were your previous evaluations bad or were you terminated? The good news is you can move forward despite an imperfect work record. 

First, stop worrying about what may be said and find out, by contacting your previous employer. See if an agreement can be reached so the negative incident or work history is not shared. Explain that you have grown from the experience and will apply the lessons learned to new opportunities. 

If reaching out to your past employer is not an option, there are others strategies to pursue when a bad mark exists on your work record:

  1. Check references. There are companies that will obtain a reference from your supervisor so you know exactly what the response is. A “neutral reference” simply confirms your employment dates and title. If the reference is negative, you can avoid using that person as a reference or have an attorney send a cease and desist letter to senior management. 
  2. Network. One of the best ways to find a job is by word-of-mouth. Attend industry events and consider joining organizations. 
  3. Create a LinkedIn account. Keep your profile updated in case prospective employers check it. Engage in other forms of social media, too. 
  4. Volunteer. Hone old skills or develop new ones in a health care setting. You can add your experience to your resume. Also, your work may lead to a paying position.
  5. Be honest. Questions about why you left your last job or a lapse in your work history will come up during the interview. Be prepared. Never lie and keep the conversation concise, productive and positive.

Don’t let your past employment problems jeopardize future job prospects. Take action to transition into your next job wiser and more focused.  Do you have other tips? Please share.

Robin Farmer is a freelance journalist with a focus on health, education and business. Visit her at

Strategies to Guard Against Burnout

Strategies to Guard Against Burnout

The constant stress of dealing with physical and emotional demands as a nurse may leave you feeling exhausted, irritable and disconnected. Some days, it may be a struggle to head into work. You may find yourself increasingly needing a “mental health day” and calling in sick. 

Draining emotions on the job come and go. Or they can be signs of burnout, a psychological condition that affects professional performance and one’s mental well-being. Long hours, limited staff and feeling undervalued can create burnout, which impacts not only nurses, but patients and healthcare systems as well.

Taking extra care of yourself is just one way to guard against this debilitating condition. Consider these other measures to protect yourself: 

Eat healthy, exercise regularly and sleep well. It’s difficult to take care of others when you neglect your own health. Practicing good self-care is one of the best preventive steps against nurse burnout.

Be honest with your feelings. As a caregiver, you ride a roller coaster of emotions on any given day. It’s important to express feelings of sadness, grief, anger and remorse. Avoid suffering in silence. Sometimes a good cry can work wonders.

Communicate with your co-workers. Your colleagues can better understand what you are experiencing than someone who is not a nurse. They can provide invaluable support.  Speak up when you need help and return the favor. 

Become an advocate for a healthy work environment.  Start a planning recognition event, morale committee or reward activities. 

Schedule “me” time. Replenish your soul by engaging in activities that feed it, from hanging out with family and friends to making time for hobbies or a new book. It’s easier to deal with stress when you have opportunities to relax and enjoy yourself on a regular basis.

Leave your job-related stress at work. Create boundaries between the workplace and home with specific activities that you do consistently to mark the end of the work day. For example, once at home, soak in the tub, call a loved one or play your favorite music.