Being a physician is difficult on many levels. Not the least of which is being on call. Long nights running from patient to patient can often mean that you have little time to take care of yourself. However, it is important to remember yourself as well. The healthier you are the better you’ll be able to provide high-quality care to your patients. So, next time you find yourself on call, refer back to this wellness guide for physicians. It may just help you get through the night feeling better than ever before! Generally speaking, there are three things you can do while on call to improve your health: eat well, sleep well, and exercise. Obviously, this is far easier said than done. However, below, in our wellness guide, we’ve outlined some ways that you can do each of these even while on call.
Wellness Guide: Eating, Sleeping, and Exercising
The first thing in our wellness guide for doctors is healthy eating. Now, eating well while on call is difficult for two reasons. First, your options are limited. Second, it can be difficult to find the time necessary to eat a nutritious meal. The key to eating well during these long hours is to plan in advance. It is often easier and more convenient to resort to cafeteria meals, takeout from across the street, or whatever you can find left over for doctors throughout the hospital. However, if you take twenty minutes the day before to not only plan what you are going to eat but also to pack it, you will be much better off. Chances are you usually eat better when you are home than when you’re at the hospital. There’s no reason not to put the same level of consideration into the meals you eat while working. Packing a lunchbox with some of your favorite snacks and meals that are also nutritious will provide you with the fuel you need to be focused and energized all night long.
This is easily the biggest obstacle you face as an on call doctor. Even if you are somehow able to carve out the time to get a quick nap in, you will likely be woken up by countless pages. This can make it difficult to stay productive. After all, doctors need sleep too. While being on call certainly means that you will not be getting your full eight hours of sleep, this does not mean that you cannot get some much-deserved rest. Similar to our wellness guide tip for eating well, sleeping well while on call requires you to plan. Make sure that you are well rested before beginning your shift. Once you are on call you will find it difficult to sleep on a defined schedule as patients needs will obviously come first. But by making sure that you have a few solid nights’ sleep under your belt before starting your shift, you’ll be better prepared to tackle the night with only a few short naps. And of course, when you do have the opportunity to rest, take advantage!
Okay so you may not be spending hours in the gym while on call, but that does not mean that you can’t get some much-needed exercise as well. When time permits, take the stairs between floors. Even if you’re not able to go for a run (which is probable), you should be able to do a handful of laps walking around the different floors of the hospital. Keeping your body active will help you feel better. Another easy but effective form of cardio you may be able to do in the hospital is jump rope. Jump ropes are small enough that you can conveniently bring them with you to the hospital. By doing a few sets throughout your shift, you’ll keep your blood pumping and your mind alert.
Obviously living a healthy lifestyle must continue beyond your on call nights, but this is a good place to start. You will be shocked by how much better you feel when you take care of yourself while also taking care of your patients. Being on call certainly makes it difficult to live the lifestyle most of us want but it is possible to keep yourself feeling good even through these long nights. Ultimately, keeping yourself healthy will benefit you, your patients, and the hospital. Hopefully, this wellness guide will help you feel better! Many hospitals even offer wellness facilities for their staff. If you’re looking for a job at one of these facilities, browse through our job listings and see what you can find!