Saturday, October 18, 2014

What I Eat On Residency Call Shifts

what I eat on call medical school residency
At 10 am this morning I returned to my hospital call room, the still-made bed an indication of how the past 28 hours had gone. It was one of those nights where Emergency was bustling and a good proportion of my eight-page inpatient list was unstable enough to take up any breaks between admissions.

It took some willpower to stop by the university for Mandarin class before heading home at noon for my top post-call priorities: 1) shower and 2) coffee. Since it's now afternoon and I need to get to sleep early tonight (to rest up for call again tomorrow -- this is my joyous Friday-Sunday call weekend), I'm fighting to stay awake until at least 8 pm. ...So this post will be a lazy one -- I'll share (mostly in pictures) what I bring to eat during a 24-hour call shift.

I always pack my meals along, as it's most convenient for me (I'm never stuck looking for an open food place at 2 am) and saves me money. I find that packing meals is pretty quick and easy, as I mostly bring leftovers and lots of simple snacks.

Breakfast -- Before I leave for the hospital, I have protein oatmeal for breakfast to keep me going until lunch-time.
what I eat on call medical school residency
40 grams of protein!

Lunch -- Simple and filling: a plain old peanut butter sandwich, with a banana on the side.
what I eat on call medical school residency

Dinner -- Dinner is usually leftovers or something non-messy that does not require refrigeration or microwaving -- right now that is cheesy scrambled egg sriracha rice with steamed broccoli and carrots.
what I eat on call medical school residency

Snacks -- The 12 hours between dinner and breakfast are very confusing for me eating-wise. I think, despite being awake and busy, my brain remains in semi-sleep mode so it doesn't ever occur to me to eat...until I find myself suddenly starving and realize I've gone 8 hours without a bite. I try to be conscious about eating snacks whenever I get a chance, to help me stay awake and power through the night. Here's what I usually bring:
what I eat on call medical school residency
  • graham crackers -- I usually eat a couple in the evening as a sweet after-dinner snack.
  • cookie -- I have a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies in my freezer and have started bringing one along when I'm on call...and I've got to say, doing this has significantly improved my call shifts!
  • chocolate covered coffee beans -- When I'm starting to fade around 1 or 2 am, these are life savers!
  • fruit -- In the early morning hours I usually snack on some fruit.
  • almonds, pretzels, & protein bar -- I bring these along just in case I'm especially hungry, but often don't end up eating them...but I think it's best to air on the side of too much food, rather than too little!

Breakfast -- I usually bring some kind of sweet carb. Right now I have hot cross buns in my freezer, so I just toss one into a Ziploc bag -- so simple and just the kind of treat I want after a long night :)

Do you work night shifts? How do you time your meals during the night? Do you like to eat anything in particular?

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