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  • 09 October 2018
  • 4 min read

A day in the life of a children's nurse

  • Grace Barry
    Paediatric Critical Care Nurse

Grace Barry filmed a few days of her life as a children's nurse. In this video she gives advice on maintaining a healthy life / work balance.

Play video: Grace explains how she maintains a healthy life on a 12 hour shift routine

Abbreviated transcript

I'm going to show you how I manage my shift pattern and routine for work when I'm working three twelve and a half hour shifts in four days.

I'm also going to show you how I still manage to prepare food, eat healthily, get to the gym and have a little bit of a social life in between all those hours at work.

Day 1 6am

Morning everybody! It is 6am.

Whether you are a nurse, a shift worker or maybe just curious about a shift pattern routine we are going to go through my shift pattern this week.

It is 6am and I'm ready for work.

Day 2: 6am

Good morning everybody! It is the next day, the next 6am and the next 12 hour shift. In typical nursing style yesterday did not go to plan at all. I did not have my breakfast until after lunchtime and by the time I got home I was so exhausted - if you're a nurse you just completely understand that.

I’m on the way back into work now and I start at 7am again today and finish at roughly 7:30 pm tonight.

Then I'm going out for a Nando’s with a friend at work.

7:40pm I finished my day at work, it is now 7:40pm and I'm going for a cheeky nandos for dinner after my two twelve and a half hour shifts.

Day 3: A day off

It's the next day now and we are two twelve and a half hours shifts down!

Today has been my day off and then I'm back in on another day shift tomorrow. I'm going to show you guys what I take to eat at work and how I fit a healthy meal prep into the evening.

I like to eat my fair share of calories at work because 13 hour days are very long you need a good substantial breakfast to keep you going through the day, and then again a great lunch packed with good carbs, protein and some fats just to keep you going.

What I like to eat at work does vary but this is quite often what I will have.

A typical work breakfast will be some blueberries on porridge; I'll make the porridge with water and mix in a little protein powder.I’ll also have some protein flapjack with my breakfast or as a snack later on.

For lunch I generally like to have some rice or pasta. I’ve got some Uncle Ben’s rice which is super easy to just throw in the microwave for two minutes, and I'm gonna mix that with chicken mini fillets.

I'll only use half of these with some broccoli, green beans and an apple.You're probably looking at around the £3 mark for the lunch but breakfast is very cheap - without these Graze little protein flapjacks you're looking at probably £1.

I think it's great to prepare because you know you're getting something healthy and something that you want to eat.

You could go to a cafe but you might end up spending £7 on lunch alone and it definitely wouldn't be as filling or as calorie dense for the money.

For dinner Joe and I are having salmon with rice and vegetables vegetables for today and tomorrow.

It can just be cooked together in the same steamer and we can cook the chicken and salmon together as well so very easy meals for work. That is everything ready for work, my gym kit is packed and my uniform is ready so I'll see you guys tomorrow.

Day 4: It's 8pm

We've done a full day at work and I am just about to head to the gym for an awesome little workout.

I'm not feeling anything too taxing or heavy after the last 4 days.

I'm probably gonna get a little workout session in - I don't always feel like working out after a shift but I do find that quite often having a little workout will clear my head, or if I've had a really stressful, difficult day or a sad day then focusing on my body and myself really helps me to just relax and calm down.

I also think that getting enough sleep between your shifts is absolutely vital for concentration on feeling good throughout the day.

As well as eating some healthy foods, having a little bit of what you fancy, like a mocha from Starbucks or an old doughnut or a piece of chocolate every now and then, that definitely helps me feel better at work as well and just makes me feel like I can keep going. 

  • Grace Barry
    Paediatric Critical Care Nurse

About the author

  • Grace Barry
    Paediatric Critical Care Nurse

My passion within nursing has always been in critical care and helping teach others since qualifying in 2015. I create YouTube content for nurses and aspiring nurses to provide education with a healthy twist.