slave labor - page 2

I work in a medium sized er. Busy place. Usually am charge rn & triage rn (if not triage, I take on full assignment-4 pts., sometimes more if we are using hall beds). It is almost impossible to be... Read More

  1. by   MrsWampthang
    One of the reasons I don't miss ER. It is always busy and becoming more so in this time of people having no insurance and no doctor to go to. My husband still works the ER and comes home telling me horror stories about how busy it was. In ER the nature of the beast is to be busy all day. It's all fine and dandy to say, "you have to step away and take your break" but the problem with that is, that you never know what is going to come in the door.

    As for sending anyone home....are you kidding me?! Maybe the ER you work at is fairly slow, at the one I worked at, it could go from no patients, to the ER being full within a matter of literally minutes so there is no way anyone would ever get sent home.

    At our ER the staff doesn't get lunch taken out, and they only work either 12 hours or 8 hours, so sometimes they actually get to eat and get paid for it.

    The other thing is, you can't tell people "well don't come in during such and such time" because there is no good time to come to the ER. I have seen it busy around the clock with no one in the whole 24 hours being able to take any type of break, forget sitting and eating. I only knew one nurse who insisted on leaving the department to eat her dinner and she wasn't happy when she didn't get to do that. She eventually left though.

    Bottom line is, standard rules of play don't apply in the ER. If you want to work somewhere that you get your regularly scheduled breaks, go somewhere besides the ER. I don't know where that place would be though. I work med/surg in an LTAC now, and sometimes don't get a break all day, so.......


    Good luck with your job. Like someone said, being a nurse, you can do a lot of things!


    Pam
  2. by   carachel2
    Bottom line is, standard rules of play don't apply in the ER. If you want to work somewhere that you get your regularly scheduled breaks, go somewhere besides the ER.
    I totally disagree. I've worked in places where the management GETS that an ER needs flexible staffing. Management that understands you don't send people home at 10 a.m. just because the morning has been slow (yes, I've worked in a place like that and of course the ambulances start rolling in at 1030!).
  3. by   weirdRN
    I was told that it is Federal USA Labor LAW that you get 1 thirty minute unpaid lunch break per eight hour shift.

    According to my job discription, I am supposed to get two fifteen minute breaks per eight hour shift and one unpaid thrity minute meal break. I'd like to know how I am supposed to get those fifteen minute breaks when I only have time to PEE once a shift? There is always some family member, some consult some satan blessed thing that needs some kind of attention.

    Can you say Frustration?
  4. by   NicoleRN07
    I work in a very busy Level III trauma center, where we see approximately 180-220 patients per day. It is rare that any of us get an entire break. That, unfortunately is just part of working in the ER. You can't always stop to take a break, so when you can....enjoy it! Try Protein Bars....you can eat them while running down the hall, and you'll stay full.
  5. by   RN BSN 2009
    dont put your health at risk!
  6. by   kman
    I think teeituptom has the right take.
    Say no to slavery.


    Karl
  7. by   OC_An Khe
    Yes, voting with your feet is one option. Complaining to the appropriate authorities is another. By the way there is a difference if you are paid hourly or on salary. For myself I have been there and if admin didn't adjust staffing I chose the feet option and let them know why I was leaving.
  8. by   carachel2
    Quote from NicoleRN07
    I work in a very busy Level III trauma center, where we see approximately 180-220 patients per day. It is rare that any of us get an entire break. That, unfortunately is just part of working in the ER. You can't always stop to take a break, so when you can....enjoy it! Try Protein Bars....you can eat them while running down the hall, and you'll stay full.


    I think all of us work in very busy E.R.'s. I think if upper level management were forced to not take lunches and work the SAME way they work the E.R. staff, then things would change. I disagree that this is just something to be taken lying down. It could EASILY be fixed by staffing so you have at least one extra RN from 11-2. I know a LOT of people who would be willing to work a floater lunch shift. The problem is that hospital mangement is TOO CHEAP to do this because it doesn't fit anywhere on a patient care grid .

    As for eating protein bars while running down the hall........GMAB. When did you last catch your hospital CEO doing that ? NEVER. We are trained and well educated professioanls and we deserve to at least have a lunch. I really don't give squiddly about two fifteen minute breaks, but I think it is LAME when a department can't even staff so people can take lunch.
  9. by   suzanne4
    Local tv station would be your best bet. They will be more than happy to do a story on this. The public eats it up.

    And if they complain for you, then things will change. unfortunately, you have to go outside the box if management will not help and I do hope that you have been billing for that 30 minutes in overtime for each and every lunchbreak that you do not take. You definitely do not need to donate the time to them. And if your entire staff starts doing that, they will find that it will be cost efficient to give you your break by having a relief person come in for a few hours at straight time.

    And if nothing else works? Take pictures of management having a leisurely break in the cafeteria...and post them. And why is your manager not providing any relief for you? They can easily take patients if the need arises. If they cannot, then they should not be there in the first place.
  10. by   NicoleRN07
    Quote from carachel2
    I think all of us work in very busy E.R.'s. I think if upper level management were forced to not take lunches and work the SAME way they work the E.R. staff, then things would change. I disagree that this is just something to be taken lying down. It could EASILY be fixed by staffing so you have at least one extra RN from 11-2. I know a LOT of people who would be willing to work a floater lunch shift. The problem is that hospital mangement is TOO CHEAP to do this because it doesn't fit anywhere on a patient care grid .

    As for eating protein bars while running down the hall........GMAB. When did you last catch your hospital CEO doing that ? NEVER. We are trained and well educated professioanls and we deserve to at least have a lunch. I really don't give squiddly about two fifteen minute breaks, but I think it is LAME when a department can't even staff so people can take lunch.

    Of course we all work in very busy ER's and we should all understand that it is not possible for us to get a break every single shift! More staff is not necessarily going to mean that we are able to take a break, all that means is that there's going to be more nurses who didn't get a break! Yes, management is cheap, and yes, every facility and department could use more nurses, but the fact of the matter is....there are just not enough nurses out there. Our management can't make people apply for these jobs! I would love to be able to take a lunch break, but it's not something that I'm going to dwell on or complain to management about. There's nothing they nor I can do....we can't lock down the ER until after we've had our dinner. On days that I do get my lunch break, I'm going to enjoy it and be thankful for it, because I know that I may not get one on the next shift.
  11. by   Draken
    Quote from nicolern07
    i would love to be able to take a lunch break, but it's not something that i'm going to dwell on or complain to management about. there's nothing they nor i can do....your management is not effective and need to be reported. we can't lock down the er until after we've had our dinner. do you work alone in your er? on days that i do get my lunch break, i'm going to enjoy it and be thankful for it, because i know that i may not get one on the next shift.thats just sad

    your argument is flawed, either your a workaholic and in denial or you have been castrated by ineffective management. there is no amount of care one person that one person is going to provide in .041 of a 12 hour shift that is earth shattering.

    i can see if your mid care on a critical patient but on the flip side make sure yout triage is up to par.

    i sat in an er for hours with a broken ankle because the triage nurse didnt beleive me, their reason as far as i can tell is i didnt look in that much pain the nurse didnt even put one hand on me past my bp.

    i had to be rushed to surgery due to the severity of my injury after i was made to hop to the x-ray room and back 4 hours after i got there and 7 hours after the incident.

  12. by   carachel2
    there are just not enough nurses out there.
    This is another LIE management would have you believe. We are discussing this on another board. The nurses ARE out there, but a HUGE % have chosen to leave the bedside because of conditions like we are talking about. I know of TEN RN's in infection control, employee health, case management, NP school,etc.etc. because they are DONE with the crap.
  13. by   NicoleRN07
    Quote from Draken
    Your argument is flawed, either your a workaholic and in denial or you have been castrated by ineffective management. There is no amount of care one person that one person is going to provide in .041 of a 12 hour shift that is earth shattering.

    I can see if your mid care on a critical patient but on the flip side make sure yout triage is up to par.

    I sat in an er for hours with a broken ankle because the triage nurse didnt beleive me, their reason as far as i can tell is i didnt look in that much pain the nurse didnt even put one hand on me past my BP.

    I had to be rushed to surgery due to the severity of my injury after i was made to hop to the x-ray room and back 4 hours after i got there and 7 hours after the incident.

    People don't wait in ERs for hours because the triage nurse don't believe them, they wait for HOURS because the ER is busy!!! How would you have felt knowing that the reason you sat in the waiting room for hours with a broken ankle in severe pain was that the nurses were taking their lunch break? My point is, we can not always take a break when there are still patients to be seen! We are allowed to take a break when the flow of the ER is not going to be interupted! We should not make waits longer for patients just so we can have our 30 minute lunch break!! AND YES, I AM A WORKAHOLIC!! I am proud to call myself a nurse. My needs may not always be met, but it is my job to make sure my patients needs are!

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