Factors Influencing the Eating Practices of Hospital Nurses During Their Shifts

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The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing hospital nurses’ dietary practices during their shifts. Semistructured interviews grounded in the Social Ecological Model focused on individual, interpersonal, organizational, and public policy factors affecting intake. Responses from 20 female nurses were qualitatively coded and categorized based on common themes. Four major themes emerged: occupational characteristics, hesitation to take breaks, influence of unhealthy food, and organizational and industry policies. Of note, nurses’ perceived inability to take breaks was due to patient load, unpredictability of patient needs, reluctance to burden other nurses, a tendency to prioritize patient care over self-care, and the repercussions of working longer hours to complete work. Other influential factors included the presence of unhealthy food options, regulations restricting nurses’ ability to eat and drink in the workplace, and the need for more staff. Multilevel interventions are necessary to ensure nurses take appropriate meal breaks and maintain satisfactory dietary habits.



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