It isn't easy, I'll tell you that. Nobody really looks their best rolling out of bed at 5 AM, pulling on our godawful uniform, and hightailing it to the hospital, but I do make an effort. I'm vain, and I'm single, and dammit I want to look my best, insofar as it is possible. It doesn't help that I have a DIFFICULT skintone. I am SERIOUSLY pale (like, porcelain pale) but without pink undertones in my skin. I'm the world's palest olive tone, the sort that LITERALLY turn green when they're sick. You can see most of my veins through my skin.
On the other hand, you do NOT want to be that girl who shows up with a ton of makeup on- you'll look silly, and you probably did your makeup under different lighting. Hospital lighting is NOT forgiving of makeup errors. There is a girl in my clinical group who seems to think that she cannot go out without bronzer. You can TELL. She looks muddy.
On that note, here's what I've found can be done in a relative haze, and still make you look human without making it obvious that you're wearing makeup.
1. MOISTURIZE. Hospitals are dry, you will be dry, invest in some good moisturizer with an SPF (for when you DO go outside), use it liberally.
2. CONCEALER, for spottiness. Make sure you test it on yourself in NATURAL light, AND under nasty halogens. This will help prevent it suddenly becoming scarily visible at the hospital, and ruining all your work.
3. FOUNDATION- if you wear it, wear as little as possible, mix it with moisturizer, and for God's sake, make damn sure it really matches your skintone.
4. BLUSH!!!!! I cannot stress how much I love blush. I recommend a very light pink for people as pale as me. Something NATURAL looking. Brush it with a really big brush over the apples of your cheeks, then dust a TINY bit on your chin and brow bones. This part might not be necessary for people who actually have color in their skin, but I find it does WONDERS for me. Makes me look human, refreshed, happy. It is also far easier to use than bronzer. DO NOT USE BRONZER. It doesn't look right under hospital lights, I don't know why. Blush is much more forgiving, and gives you color without that "i swear i was just in cancun" fakeness.
5. MASCARA- if you can use it this early in the morning. I usually go for a brown color, and use just one coat of something that will not clump. Rimmel is good. It opens up your eyes, helping you look alert.
6. Clear Eyes solution. Seriously. If you were up late writing your care plan, use this so your patient's dont know.
And that's basically my morning routine, give or take a few products depending on how alert I am. I can't help my uniform, but dammit at least I look awake!