Do you nurses get breaks?

  1. Do you get lunch breaks, etc?

    After just reading some of the forums here on allnurses and Echo Herons books I am scared! Some were saying they work 12 hours with no breaks to even take a pee let alone eat. A new nurse was saying she just graduated 6 months ago and already regrets going into nursing just because the conditions are so bad.

    I am still working on my pre-reqs for my BSN and reading some of that scared the crap out of me. Is it really like that out there?

    Marilyn
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   LauraF, RN
    Originally posted by marilynmom
    Do you get lunch breaks, etc?

    After just reading some of the forums here on allnurses and Echo Herons books I am scared! Some were saying they work 12 hours with no breaks to even take a pee let alone eat. A new nurse was saying she just graduated 6 months ago and already regrets going into nursing just because the conditions are so bad.

    I am still working on my pre-reqs for my BSN and reading some of that scared the crap out of me. Is it really like that out there?

    Marilyn

    There are those days that are so crazy that you don't get a lunch...yes. There are also those days that are kinda slow too. I never regret going to school and becoming a nurse. I love being a nurse, although I'm currently home being a mom. I look forward to getting back into it.

    Hugs
  4. by   MICU RN
    It is all unit dependent, however, most hospital bedside jobs have pretty bad work conditions, hence one of the main reasons for the shortage. Now there are some that don't and I happened to be in one right now, but I believe that is the exception. So my advice is if you go into nursing that you really spend time investigating the work conditions of the unit you are considering. Right now is a employees market, so be very selective you wont regret it. Good luck!!!!!!!
  5. by   Chttynurs
    I work 12 hour shifts and pretty much always get my lunch break. It may only be 20 minutes some days, and I never take the shorter breaks that I'm supposed to get, but that's my decision, to be honest. When I have a particularly bad day, I WILL sit for a few minutes no matter how busy I am!! We always have someone to trade off with to cover patients, and if they're busy and can't watch your assignment, we have GREAT charge nurses who will do it while you take a break. I agree with MICU RN, it's all unit dependent, just know what type of unit you're getting into. Good luck with school!! I've gotta add, even with the tough conditions, I'll NEVER regret becoming a nurse!! If you end up somewhere you don't like, there's ALWAYS another job somewhere that may be better suited to you!!
  6. by   plumrn
    Agee with the above. We work 12 hr shifts and the only break we get most days is 30 mins for lunch, and sometimes that can be after we've been there 8 hrs already. Occasionally, it will be slow, and we can take a short break, but that is a rarity. I am still glad, and proud to be a nurse. Take your time. Ask the hard questions when interviewing, and take what is right for you.
  7. by   Chaya
    Where I work we believe a break is essential for your mental health and ultimately for the quality of patient care. At least that's the goal. Doesn't always happen that way BUT we do make a concerted effort to make the time somehow; we're all willing to pitch in when a co-worker is off the floor , 'cause they'll be covering for you next.
  8. by   zudy
    When I work 12 hours in ED usually get a 30 minute break. Some days I get to sit down if we slow down a little, but usually not. I also work 8 hour shifts in a clinic, I get a 30 minute break most days.
    Worked in a hospital once where none of the nurses or aides were getting breaks, we were always so short-staffed. Someone reported the hospital to the labor board, the hospital had to give us back pay for all the breaks that we worked. I loved it!
  9. by   fergus51
    I always eat at least once a shift, even if it means sneaking a bite at the nurses station, and usually am able to get my breaks in. That said, if I don't get my breaks on a busy day I make sure I am paid time and a half for them.
  10. by   mattsmom81
    Breaks seem to be an individual decision. Sometimes I'll run downstairs with a smoker coworker just to get off the unit for a bit. Generally, though , I will choose NOT to take breaks as I worry my patients won't be watched closely enough, or a minor disaster will occur (creating more work for me when I get back, and/or exposing me to liability). As mentioned, it also depends on the night and what all is going on in the unit. Some nights are quieter and we have some time to relax and visit, which is nice.

    Some choose to take ALL their breaks, but the rest of us can't always promise we'll be able to closely watch their patients as we're frequently understaffed and hectic with our own group. What I notice, is the ones who religiously take their breaks end up on overtime finishing up. Personally I choose to complete my work and get out of Dodge ASAP...LOL!
  11. by   jlsand
    In a word, yes! I rarely get a full break. As to getting breaks like the law states, forget it! I know there are exceptions out there. Also noticed that smokers seem to get more breaks, too. (woops, there a whole other topic).


    My blog
  12. by   Rocknurse
    In my unit in the UK, my manager insists we take our full breaks every day, and on time too. This is because the work is so stressful that you can't perform to the best of your ability if you don't take a break. Also, if you don't take a break, you don't get paid for the time, so why should you lose out? If I worked in a unit that didn't take breaks I would defintely bring it up at a unit meeting. Everyone has to eat and everyone has to pee. It can be done with good time management. We cover for each other and it works unless there is something unusual going on, like a code or an admission.
  13. by   marilynmom
    I knew I should never have read those posts over on "Would You Recommend Nursing as a Career"! LOL

    So overall you guys really do enjoy nursing? I dont mind hard work, but I dont want to burn out and hate it either.

    I don't plan on doing bedside nursing forever, I really want to go on to be a NP or go into Forensic Nursing. I just see so many good things in nursing, so many opportunities and constant learning that is why I want to be a nurse. Its just hard when you read so many negative things that scare you!

    Marilyn
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Welcome to the boards! My advice, for what it is worth:

    Remember some of the negative comments you read here are sometimes a form of appropriate venting by human beings who have had a hard shift, week, month, whatever, or dont' feel supported in what they do. This is not uncommon in nursing. Just don't take anything totally to heart, but enter nursing with your eyes open. Shadow some nurses instead of reading Echo Heron's books or posts here, if you really want to see for yourself what it is like. Or get your CNA and do some time as an aide on the floor. If after doing these things, you still wish to become an nurse, I wish you the very best in your pursuits. You have to want it badly, more than anything, though, to succeed, IMO. Good luck to you.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on May 21, '03

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