I vaguely remember when nurses had enough time to get off the floor and meet around the old Coca-Cola machine. You could get a bottle for 10 cents back then, and you had time to drink the whole bottle before you had to go back to work. I opted to spend my time around the Pepsi machine. I like Pepsi better and the gossip was juicer around that machine. It’s important that nurses have access to Coke and Pepsi at all times. Nurses can’t function without soda.

Now no one has time to leave the unit for a soda, let alone lunch or dinner. There is a nursing shortage you know and nurses barley have time to take a restroom break. And just when you think that things couldn’t get worse, in walks the Joint Commission with their big fat rulebook. Their rulebook holds the 10 Commandments and another 10 billion rules and regulations that hospitals must follow. Some make sense, like don’t kill anyone, but some of them are a bit extreme.

The big bug-a-boo rule involves eating and drinking at the nurses station. That is a big no-no. It makes sense on paper. It’s about infection control, but here’s the deal. Nurses multitask. We don’t get breaks, so we eat and drink at the nurses station while we answer phone calls, taking off orders from patient charts, answer call lights and perform other duties as required. So now, thanks to Joint Commission, we can’t even drink bottled water at the nurses station during our eight, twelve, or in some cases, our sixteen hour shift. So much for staying healthy. This rule also has nursing managers sifting through trash looking for telltale evidence (empty food and beverage containers) that rogue nurses are eating and drinking at the nurses station while they work. Yes, unit garbage Nazis are roaming our hospitals thanks to Joint Commission.

Dehydrated hypoglycemic nurses are working hard in hospitals around the country thanks to Joint Commission. Nurses unite! Urge your local Coca-Cola dealer to donate a truckload of his or her product to your unit and stage a drink in the next time Joint Commission breezes through. Screw em’. Things go better with Coke!