Having your water turned off

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    Recently the hospital in which I work began a policy of not allowing any food, drink, or personal materials (i.e. books, pictures, etc) out visible in any patient care area. So now, not only can we not sit our Steaming Coffee and Pizza on the patient's vent while we are suctioning them (kidding of course), we can not have a covered container or bottle of water at the desk. Nurses have been criticized for having their personal calendar out while checking their schedule!
    We're told by management that WE were just way out of step with the world, and that no other hospitals allow covered drinks in nurses station areas- away from bedside.
    So HELP- were we really the only hospital in the US that allowed nurses to have a drink of water at the desk, or is it standard operating proceedure to have staff run and hide in the staff lounge/report room or similar area for such activities at all hospitals now? thanks for all responses-
  2. 20 Comments so far...

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    Originally posted by woodyRN:
    Recently the hospital in which I work began a policy of not allowing any food, drink, or personal materials (i.e. books, pictures, etc) out visible in any patient care area. So now, not only can we not sit our Steaming Coffee and Pizza on the patient's vent while we are suctioning them (kidding of course), we can not have a covered container or bottle of water at the desk. Nurses have been criticized for having their personal calendar out while checking their schedule!
    We're told by management that WE were just way out of step with the world, and that no other hospitals allow covered drinks in nurses station areas- away from bedside.
    So HELP- were we really the only hospital in the US that allowed nurses to have a drink of water at the desk, or is it standard operating proceedure to have staff run and hide in the staff lounge/report room or similar area for such activities at all hospitals now? thanks for all responses-
    Dear WoodyRN, Where I work, there are all kinds of food and beverages around (of course never on top of the vent, haha)..as a matter of fact, ordering food in is just about as important as patient care! There has never been an issue of beverage prohibition, EXCEPT when JCAHO is inspecting. When JCAHO is here, then all the drinks go in the lounge. Hope that helps!

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    As an agency nurse, I have worked at a half dozen or so facilities the past year and have yet to come across one that would not allow food, beverages, handbags, ect at the nurses station. I have even commented on the mess I have found at some and have cleaned up boxes of stale donuts and half empty, cold coffee cups. It's the bad apples that leave that pig mess that forces some administators to ban EVERYTHING from work areas.
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    Woody,
    We are not allowed any drinks, even covered ones out at the nurses station- my nurse manager goes into a tirade when she sees them, purses,and calanders, she could care less about, but food, well- you can't have it. Our lounge, however is also only baout 2 feet from the nurses station, so it isn't that hard to get in there and have a sip of something and get out. It was actually the same way at the other 3 hospitals I have worked at. It has to do with JACHO- even though they only inspect once in a while, their "Prescence" seems to always be around.
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    this actually seems to be part and parcel of the biohazard control plan--not having foods and fluids in the work area.

    Still and all--and you all really will laugh at me--this seems something that unit management ought to be willing to work out reasonable compromises on. You know as nurses we talk endlessly about forcing fluids but most of us probably find it hard to get 16 oz of fluid down in a shift. I seriously think that I often came off shift dehydrated and I think nurses tend to stress eat when they are actually thirsty. Still food spills on charts, food or drink in med prep areas--those things are not good. I also remember being SO HUNGRY I couldn't focus at times. Nurses, like most humans, do deserve some simple human consideration and I can safely say that their were many shifts where I didn't see the lounge except at the beginning and end of the shift, so telling me that I can keep my fluids in the lounge would have meant that I went without foods and fluids for the duration.

    Hey nurse managers, working this one out in a HUMANE way will tell your nurses that you care. Surely, their can be a designated spot closely adjacent where nurses can leave some fluids or foods. Remember, in some small way, taking care of my needs IS PART OF taking care of the patients' needs.
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    Where I work I eat at the nurses station. I work 2nd and 3rd shifts. 1st shift does not eat at the nurses station, probably because there are too many people at the desk and your food could be talked over or spilled. We have had meetings where they are trying to have a policy about not eating at the desk mainly because our food is being contaminated when we eat around places where patient care is given, which makes sense, but when you are the only nurse you can't leave the floor to eat, but you can't tell management that. Who is going to answer the call light and listen out for anything going on? If there are 2 nurses on duty, which is very rare, then we can go eat in the dining room, which is cold and lonely and who wants to eat in those conditions? Management needs to work the floor for 1 or 2 days before they make judgement calls. Sometimes they give us rules that are just ridiculous and sometimes impossible to live by.
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    It's actually an Infection Control Risk! There should not be any food or drink in the pt. care areas. I do know some nurses who hide their sport bottles in their "luggage", aka tote bags, behind various equipment and/or the cabinets under the sinks. I fervently hope they wash their hands before and after drinking!!! There is also a drinking fountain near the visitor entrance. Nursing mothers are encouraged to bring water bottles to the bedsides-they need their fluids.
    I do agree with these restrictions; I was an Infection control Nurse for 7 years, and some fairly impressive outbreaks have been documented related to eating and drinking in pat. areas, ESP. ICUs.
    I also agree with not having food in the nurses' station, just because it looks tacky. Keep the mess in the lounge where relatives can't see it! I would understand, but a visitor might (rightly) think: what a mess! This is a public area, what's it like where my relative is?
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    I hate this topic - I know how hard it is to get away for a decent break and how easy it is to run...run....run...and need water to help you function better. Unfortunately, OSHA has taken a very rigid stance on this issue in my state. It sounds like from other posts that JCAHO, infection control issues also prohibit this.

    I have avoided dealing with this issue at our facility - I feel we have bigger issues to focus on right now - so we have mentioned OSHA's standard to staff but have taken no definitive action.

    good luck!
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    For crying out loud, the day they ban fluids/food from the floor they had better make provisions to allow us to leave the floor to rehydrate. If I'm losing fluid from sweating, panting, running while on the floor I'm going to drink to replace it on the floor. I have gone the full 12-14 hours without peeing because of fluid loss through other means, and shaking because I haven't had time to stop for food. If I'm working that hard they can have me drinking/snacking on the floor-or in the ER through an IV tube, on their nickel.

    I would make no bones about it too at the next staff meeting. When the urine sp gravity hits 1.030, or glucoscans are less than 70 we all move to the ER.
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    Not only can we NOT drink or eat at OUR desk (apparentely considered a "pt. care area"???)we can no longer apply makeup, lipstick, our contact lenses, nail polish, or any other personal hygeine issues!! This is a true policy now hanging on our board!! Not that I've ever seen anyone doing any of these things, but sometimes I reach for my lip balm (you all know how dry the lips get) and have to quickly put it away and go into our report room!! I know these are all JACHO issues as they are due at our place in March.


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