How to create a complete nurse’s survival guide for your break room


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There’s nothing we love to see more than nurses helping nurses. Why? Because nurses have unique needs, situations and challenges, and few are better equipped to help a nurse in a pinch, then, well—another nurse.

And since we can’t be on the ground with all of you lovely people, we thought we might recommend a small, highly localized project that every unit can benefit from: the Break Room Survival Guide. Now, this doesn’t have to be anything fancy or time-consuming—just a three-ring binder full of helpful, hospital-specific information that every nurse can contribute to on their own time (think: post-ramen, pre-charting).

Of course, we aren’t going to leave ya hangin’. So we went ahead and brainstormed a few jumping-off points for useful facts, tips and tidings that a survival guide might include.


1. Grub

  • Nearby restaurants open 24 hours: Where can a night-shift nurse go for breakfast at 2am? What about a healthy late-night dinner?
  • Take out: Who’s delivering well into those questionable “late-night or early morning?” hours? Include take-out menus with oh-so-yummy dishes highlighted.
  • Nurse-approved happy hour spots


2. Local helping hands (who to call and how to reach ’em)

  • Babysitters: Contact information for vetted, flexible babysitters. Who’s available overnight? Odd hours? Last minute?
  • Dog-walkers
  • Tutors (for the kiddos): Contact information for trusted tutors who can be the learning charge while Mom or Dad is on duty. Who’s available to come to the house? Who caters to a specific age or area of study?
  • Tutors (for nurses): Contact information for local tutors geared toward nurses juggling both work and school. Are there any supplemental online classes or educational resources that a grad student can utilize? What about suggested courses?


3. Health and fitness

  • Local gyms: Where are all the 24-hour gyms? What about those open later or earlier than usual? Is there a class that’s totally geared toward specific nursey needs, such as relieving lower back pain or tension?
  • Personal trainers: Contact information for trainers who can work with and respond to a chaotic schedule. Who’s great at holding busy folks accountable? Who knows when to lay off the pedal?
  • Local trails and paths: For walkers, runners or bikers at any level.
  • Favorite healthy recipes: Ideas for easy, affordable and make-ahead meals. What’s a nutritious and filling breakfast that can be thrown together in five minutes or less? What about a hand-me-down slow-cooker recipe that cooks itself and lasts for days (in a good way)?
  • Easy-to-maintain fitness routines: Again—we have some starter tips up our sleeve:

10 fitness hacks for nurses to try
5 step workout for a wacky schedule
The fit-for-work workout for nurses
5 easy while-you-work exercises to keep nurses fit


4. Whatcha readin’?

  • Quick ‘n’ easy reads
  • Ultra-informative texts
  • Inspirational books by and for nurses
  • Pssst—we’ve got a few lists and top picks of our own to get you started:

5 great books by and for nurses
10 great novels featuring nurses
Books nurses love
Becoming Nursey by Kati Kleber (aka Nurse Eye Roll)


5. Staying sane (a potpourri of recommendations)

  • Favorite local getaways: Is there an affordable, relatively local bed-and-breakfast just ripe for a staycation? Can reservations be altered or canceled free of charge?
  • Quality walk-in massage parlor: Do they exist? Where can a nurse who’s wound a little too tightly find one nearby?
  • Classes or activities just perfect for relieving stress: Wine and paint nights, flexible club teams, dance or yoga classes, one-off cooking classes, local meet ‘n’ greets—you name it.


6. Brain sheets!

Always a favorite among nurses. Keep copies or templates at the ready for easy-peasy charting.

Scrubs Editor
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