Do Other Professionals Skip Restroom Breaks And Meals? - Page 6Register Today!
- Aug 17, '12 by dudette10From the OP:
Can you name any other professionals who systematically place the needs of their clients above their own?
Any job that caters to clients will be a lot like nursing when it comes to breaks. I worked retail during the holiday season one year, and it was full of holding your pee and scarfing down lunches and mandatory overtime for the closing clean up.
Posters to this thread are nurses who are answering the question based on their experiences in other jobs. C'mon! All of us are much too smart to really believe nurses are the only ones who suffer in workplaces that don't value employees' basic human needs.
- Aug 17, '12 by plf2323The difference between nursing and waitressing, retail, and many other jobs that cater to clients is that in nursing if you make a mistake b/c you are so tired and hungry, you can hurt or even kill someone. I don't think comparing nursing to waitressing devalues nursing. I just don't think it is a fair comparison. If a waitress screws up your order, you send it back or eat something you didn't order. If a nurse hangs the wrong med, most likely the patient won't even know and it could cause permanent harm.
And the original poster asked if nurses were the only "professionals" who skip breaks, not the only "job". Big difference.
My "a-ha" moment came in the mid-'90's when I was taking care of a lot of patients with AIDS. I was on hour 10 without a break or food. I was giving an IV push med to a young man who was actively dying of AIDS and my hand was shaking b/c I was so hungry. The patient's mom asked if I was nervous about something. I said "No, I haven't had a chance to eat." She said "They let you take care of patients in that condition?" Good point!! I had always thought of it as not being fair to ME, but she saw a nurse with a shaking hand taking care of her terminally ill son. She saw it as not being fair to HIM. She was right.
- Aug 17, '12 by joanna73That's my feeling exactly. If I'm not receiving my breaks, I can't do my job properly. Unfortunately, nursing culture seems to be: just suck it up. As if it's some sort of badge of honor that you get to run around all day with no relief. I've been there, done that in my previous line of work. The day that my breaks start disappearing is the day I leave bedside nursing. My health, our collective health as nurses should be a priority.
- Aug 17, '12 by fiveoffiveWhen I am training a new nurse on our unit, I make sure I encourage them to plan their bathroom breaks, and to grab a drink of water on the way back. It can be a challenge to take care of yourself while meeting all of your patient's needs. Some nurses are kind and considerate of one another on this front and others are not. I am not sacrificing my health, because without it, I will not be able to work. We could use MUCH more assistance from our management team in regards to better ratios, but until that comes we need to help each other out.
- Aug 17, '12 by studentnurseCTBathroom breaks will be easier when I am a nurse. There is nothing worse than being scrubbed in a 5-10 hour case hungry and needing to void, with no extra staff scheduled for breaks. If I knew a way to sneak out of a case for two minutes I would. Some days I ask for a foley and I'm half serious.
- Aug 17, '12 by FlatlanderQuote from plf2323Thanks for that clear-eyed view! But why should we have to leave bedside nursing? As a few have noted above, the problem is not without solutions. But nurses believe they have no power to change the status quo (when they admit there is a problem at all). That is another problem in itself. From what others have said, unions are not the only answer. An enlightened management, open to staff feedback and respectful of staff needs would go a long way. Unfortunately, hospitals have become a big business and the focus seems always to be on the bottom line. I think the strongest argument for change is the emphasis on safety. Medical mistakes cost big bucks and the evidence for correlation with staffing ratios is mounting.I personally would not want to be taken care of by someone who has not sat down or eaten a meal in 10 hours. No thanks, I'll take the nurse who had a break and ate a meal. Unfortunately, the culture in nursing is that we can't take a break longer than 2 minutes, which is evidenced in the responses to this post. As long as that is the case, it will never change and that's why I left bedside nursing. I am worth more than that and the patients are worth more than that.
- Aug 17, '12 by sistasoulI always wondered how people who work in the OR took bathroom breaks. I would never want to work as an OR nurse because I would get claustrophobic having to be in that same area for all of those hours.
- Aug 17, '12 by sunny3811This article definitely explains the reason for all the cattiness, snarkiness, and crankiness among us nurses!
Seriously, as others have stated it is best to leave the floor for a few minutes to revive yourself; even if it is going to take something to the lab or whatnot.
As humans we need to put our needs ahead of others at times like to use the BR or even eating! It is like a car if it runs out of fuel, the car is going nowhere and stick in the same spot waiting to be refueled. I have worked in LTC and always made a point to take BR breaks and to eat. I tried the "I am not going to eat because I am behind thing" I will tell you it does not work and may put you farther behind because you cannot concentrate d/t being hungry and irritable. I became a better nurse and I am sure the residents appreciated having a nurse on all cylinders!
- Aug 17, '12 by Aurora77Quote from Been there,done thatWow, I'm sorry you've had such a horrible work experience. I'm surprised you've made it 30 years in this career, you've must love the job. I would have been long gone. Maybe it's because nursing is a second career for me, but I'm not going to put up with that kind of nonsense. I'm impressed with anyone who can.Well, they have been pretty bad environments. .... sadly, most hospital units are . In the last two facilities I worked the patient load of 7 or 8 , constant turnover, excessive charting demands and the phone I am expected to answer... even if I do get in the bathroom.... most certainly cuts into any break time I DESERVE.
I've done this for 30 years, there is no need for hyperbole... the truth speaks for itself. Yes, there have been many times , if I were to have left that bedside ... it would have been unsafe for the patient. GI bleeds, Levophed drips , and ALS patients come to mind.
I didn't realize how lucky I am that I have great coworkers who can watch my patients for a few minutes. Honestly, if I were finding that nursing is as many of the posters here have described, I'd be gone. I love my job, but in the end, it is just a job, not something worth being miserable over. I hope everyone can find a better position down the road.
- Aug 17, '12 by beekerWe have to bring our spec phone to break, so you never actually get a break. You are constantly called to go do something every 5 minutes. If I turn it off, I get written up. The come hunt me down and drag me away. I never get more than a few bites unless I eat while moving toward my next task. It is absurd. Perhaps if they staffed us properly so we didn't have 8 patients each we would get to pee or take a break. Nursing is not about patient care it is about making money. And I am not the one making the money. The insurance company, the hospital administration, the ceos, they are all profiting from my lack of judgement. Staying at the bedside in the environment I work in is poor judgement. I am ready to crack after the week I had so maybe just take my opinion with a grain of salt.