Fess up: How many of you REALLY get your breaks?

  1. In this age of "productivity" and "the bottom line" as priorities, I'd like to know how many of you get a half-hour meal break and 2 fifteen-minute breaks in an eight-hour shift and at least another 15 minute break in a 12-hour shift.

    I don't mean what you're supposed to take, or put on your timecard that you did take, but what you actually take on a regular basis.

    On our unit, if it's not too busy, we combine one 15-minute break with our 30-minute meal break (even though our union and the state labor board say it is illegal) and that is all most of us take. In fact, I am the only one who takes that second break (and I only take 5-10 minutes) because I smoke (only at work and on the way to work...)

    Everyone dutifully initials their timecards to indicate that they did get their breaks however.

    How many other business regularly get all of this free productive time?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   kaycee
    I try to take my 1/2hr lunch. If I can't, I fill out a paper and I get paid for it. We are not guaranteed any 15min breaks in either 8 or 12hrs. It's not a law, that you get breaks it's up to the employer. Believe me we have checked it out.
    I work ER and we are happy if we get our meal break let alone any others.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Like anyone, there are days that go by where after 12 hours I realize with horror, I never took time to empty my bladder or take a drink of water. There are others still, where I take more than my share. It evens out in the end, where I work, so I do not complain.
  5. by   meownsmile
    I take my breaks. I consider myself a concientious employee but i'm not superwoman.
    I think it may depend on what state you are in as to the labor laws. I know my state recognizes the half hour lunch and 2 10-15 min breaks per 8 hour period. There is nothing that specifies WHEN you get your breaks, or that they have to MAKE you take them, but again,, in my state they have to be available. I may not get to go to lunch until after the cafeteria closes, in that case i get to use the vending machines. Only if you work 4 hours or less do they not have to give you a break. So those extra 4 hours on a 12 hour shift are at the discrimination of the employer. I usually save a few minutes to get me through the last 4 hours.
  6. by   BadBird
    I hardly get a chance to take breaks but I notice the smokers take theirs plus.
  7. by   rachel h
    I always take my breaks, unless an emergency dictates that I don't. When I worked as an NA I was taken advantage of all the time- worked in a very busy PACU and there were always patients to be transferred. I would ask to go on a break and it would always get pushed back. Pretty soon I just started taking them. No one should have to feel guilty for taking their breaks.
  8. by   mattsmom81
    Seems like I was always in charge, or chronically understaffed...so breaks were not something I routinely took. I was too afraid of what could go wrong if I left...plus I didn't want to be overtime 2 hours.

    Sometimes though, I got so stressed (specially in the last few years as I got older) where I had to get away or I'd scream...
  9. by   Rustyhammer
    I used to never take breaks because I was too busy.
    But then I discovered that when I took a break I actually had MORE energy to do that charting or whatever.
    -Russell
  10. by   Brownms46
    I have taken a break every nite in the last month, that I have worked on this assignment. The last assignment however...this was not the case! Boy what a difference it is...
  11. by   kewlnurse
    When I worked the floor I almost never got a break, In the unit i get a break almost allthe time, If I don't it goes on the time card and I get paid for it.
  12. by   alwaysthere
    Break....hold on lemme get my dictionary...got to look up some other words too..like pee and lunch.


    @---->----- delightfully demented
  13. by   nursegoodguy
    I know it sounds crazy but I don't like to leave my unit for fear that something will happen and the extra minute it takes for me to get there will make the difference...
  14. by   RN-PA
    I try to take 15-30 minutes for a dinner break on 3-11 shift Med-Surg and like it best if I can leave the floor to sit with co-workers in the cafeteria-- Makes me feel so "human" to be away from the mayhem and to chit-chat while we eat. Much of the time, I eat alone in a conference room late in the shift when things have finally calmed down a bit, but the cafeteria's closed. (I almost always pack my own dinner because I never know if I'll be able to get off the floor.)

    I never take other breaks, though. There just isn't time. However, the last time I worked with a nurse who took a number of smoking breaks, I started feeling resentful and vowed that I'd take a couple of breaks the next time we worked together, just so it'd feel more fair-- I'm not sure I'd know what to do if I took a break...

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