7 food aversions (courtesy of nursing)

iStock | HandmadePictures

iStock | HandmadePictures

They asked me, “What sort of food cravings do nurses get?”

And I had no answer at all.

I mean, yeah, coffee. Every nurse craves coffee, except for those who crave tea or energy drinks. That’s kind of a given in the entire medical profession, unless you’re a neurosurgeon. I don’t know any neurosurgeons who drink coffee. (Weirdos.)

I guess I’ll occasionally have a craving for a burger or Brussels sprouts or sushi, but I attribute that more to being a normal human being than being a nurse.

I can tell you what I don’t have cravings for anymore, though:

Chili. I’m a Texan. Texans eat chili. Texans crave chili, unless they’re Texan nurses who have seen one too many cases of C. diff in their careers.

Corn tortillas. See above, but substitute “Pseudomonas” for “C. diff.” There’s something about the smell of Pseudomonas that reminds me of freshly baked corn tortillas. Street tacos have never been the same.

Hollandaise sauce. I used to love a good eggs Benedict, until the day a patient showed up from a nursing home, septic and barely breathing. When I put a catheter in the poor guy, his urine was like Hollandaise sauce. Or like…

Lemon yogurt. Just…just don’t, okay? Same goes for lemon cream pie or (yikes) coconut cream pie.

I have serious problems with cream cheese on occasion. I don’t want to talk about it.

Raw chicken. I started having an aversion to raw chicken when I was in nursing school, after I noticed that it looked and smelled a lot like some of the stuff I dealt with in the anatomy lab. Not that I ever had a craving for raw chicken, you understand, but it does limit my cooking choices now.

Chocolate, cookies, donuts, coffee cake (except that one cinnamon one), or anything sweet. I’ve never had much in the way of a sweet tooth, but nursing killed what I did have. Everybody in the world brings sweets to thank the nurses. As a result, I’m usually the last to the break room when donuts show up, and I get the choice of that weird pink one with the sprinkles or the flat apple-fritter thing with the greasy sheen. (Ditto bagels.)

Does anybody else have weird food aversions? And am I the only one who wants a nice plate of sushi now?


Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at askauntieaggie@gmail.com.

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5 Responses to 7 food aversions (courtesy of nursing)

  1. maryamillerres2013

    Most of the time people bring in donuts to the unit. Working nights it hard to get something to eat if you are running late. It’s pretty bad when you have to justify a jelly donut as a balanced meal.

  2. Mystyne-Marie Grant

    I’m completely with you. I love Mexican food, but not Tomatillo Salsa Verde – I’ve seen way too much drainage from NG/OG tubes in Neonates with gastroschisis or other GI issues.

  3. Phoenixgirl

    Roast pork always gets me. I spent a long rotation on a burns ward in my final year at University, and as a result whenever I smell pork roasting it takes me back to the burns ward theatre where I learned how to scrub to debride burnt human flesh! Even now, 25 years later, I still avoid pork…

  4. granyfran

    RICE any form.
    Too many nasty wounds in ER.
    Think fly maggots

  5. NurseRatched

    In the 1970’s refugees from SEAsia tried to leave their dire circumstances by boat. Most were picked up several miles offshore and when they finally came to the US , were known as Boat People. In the ED one afternoon, i witnessed a very sick man projectile vomit a tapeworm. Needless to say, i couldn’t bear the thought of fettuccini pasta for years.