New Nurse can't eat lunch - page 2

by NightOwl0624 9,756 Views | 58 Comments

I am wondering how other units handle their lunch breaks. I work nights, and we have extremely flexible breaks during the work shift. Most of us don't really leave the floor, just get our food and eat in the conference... Read More


  1. 12
    Quote from hiddencatRN
    This notion of having everything "caught up" is interesting to me. If I waited until everything was done, I'd almost never go on break, nor would my coworkers. Sometimes we're lucky and have a float covering lunches, but often we're just walking away from tasks that will just have to wait 30 minutes.
    I totally agree. And this nurse needs to learn that her unfinished tasks can wait until she's back from lunch. But she can't expect her coworkers to do them while she's gone.
    Janey496, nurseladybug12, Savvy20RN, and 9 others like this.
  2. 7
    Quote from BrandonLPN
    I totally agree. And this nurse needs to learn that her unfinished tasks can wait until she's back from lunch. But she can't expect her coworkers to do them while she's gone.
    I had a coworker who would run over his patients before going to break and finish with "As long as everyone is still breathing when I come back, I'm happy."
    mariahlily, CareQueen, 08RNGrad, and 4 others like this.
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    For some reason this thread made me think of a time when I was working in the hospital... a coworker went off the floor and when she came back, we were coding her patient. She wasn't even on break... she left the floor to bring another patient to a test or something (no transport team) and was in an area of the hospital where she didn't hear the code called... she was quite surprised to find the code in progress when she came back.

    That said, I think that when your coworkers are covering for you, you shouldn't expect them to do anything more than address a call-light or beeping IV and spring to action if your patient decides to code. If there's an antibiotic or pain med due, give it before you go. Dressing changes and the like can be done when you get back from break.
    anotherone, nrsang97, tayloramaRN2be, and 1 other like this.
  4. 1
    When I was a new nurse and worked 3-11 on an orthopedic surgery floor, we were required to leave the floor for ALL breaks and half hour meal breaks. Sounds good in theory but it wasn't practical because the dining room was a fifteen minute walk each way -- which left no time to eat. What most of us did was to combine eating our pb&js with going to the john. That way, we at least got a chance to do both things. By the time I was hired to work at the state psych hospital on the 7pm-7am shift, I was much much more organized than I had been in my earlier years and was able to complete tasks more efficiently. When I was lucky enough to get an actual break, so I could leave the building, my tasks were pretty much caught up -- barring someone going off the deep end -- my meds were already given, I had checked on everyone, but it took some time to get to that point. Becoming organized enough that my treatments were done, meds caught up, charting begun, etc. took awhile. Maybe someone needs to work along with her for now.
    anotherone likes this.
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    I don't think she should be leaving several tasks to be done while she eats. But it does sound like she is overwhelmed and could use a helping hand.
    melmarie23 and sharpeimom like this.
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    HA! She expects you guys to do dressing changes and give her meds while she is on break?? Is she princess of the unit? I'm afraid she would also think I was "mean"...

    That's not what covering is
    mariahlily, anotherone, nrsang97, and 2 others like this.
  7. 2
    I'm with everyone else, she can't expect other nurses to do her work while she is on break. I would be pretty upset if I was getting "report" (we give a very quick run down) I was told I needed to do dressings and scheduled meds, I have my own patients. I should only have to babysit.
    KelRN215 and anotherone like this.
  8. 3
    You just need to explain to her that "covering" her patients while she is on her break just means that you will take care of any nursing tasks that come up while she is gone, such as giving them prn meds if they ask, stopping a beeping IV, assessing them if a change in their condition happens, etc. It doesn't mean you are going to go in and do all the dressings, treatments, and scheduled med passes for her. Maybe she doesn't understand this?
  9. 1
    Quote from Michigangirl
    I am wondering how other units handle their lunch breaks.

    I work nights, and we have extremely flexible breaks during the work shift. Most of us don't really leave the floor, just get our food and eat in the conference room. We usually have enough down time in the wee hours of the morning to equal at least an hour break (if not more)

    Some nurses do leave the floor, and they do it when they have caught up and only ask us to cover call lights. The other nurses are perfectly fine with that. Even though I don't choose to leave the floor, I am perfectly fine with those who do.

    Anyway, this new nurse just gets off orientation and is getting really upset with the rest of us because "she's not allowed to get her break." She is having trouble with time management and still can barely get all of her stuff done that is required. We are more than happy to help her get her work done, but no one is willing to do her work for her while she goes off for an hour. For example, she will ask if I can cover her, then proceed to tell me that room 1 will need his pain medication in 15 minutes, room 2 still needs a dressing change, blah, blah, blah... I would never assume to go on break when there is still a lot of stuff to do with my own patients, especially in the middle of the night when these things should have already been done. We are trying to help her with her time management, but she will not listen to suggestions as she already knows everything there is to know about nursing!

    Last night about 2 hours into her shift she asked me if she could take her break and wanted to give me report on her 5 patients. I told her I was too busy with my own 5 patients at that time and couldn't handle hers as well. She thinks I'm mean. I think if she is the only nurse on the unit that is having this problem, maybe it is a problem with her.

    What do you think?

    You were right to tell her what you did. Granted, she's a new nurse but that's nothing to do with her attitude.
    It's an issue of work ethic. She has none AND she's inconsiderate.
    You don't pass the keys/hand off the halls and leave the other nurse with a butt-load of tasks to do. That's not 'teamwork'.
    What's wrong with her?

    I'm a newb. I would've told her to go on break AFTER she finished her wound care and given her pt his pain pill...and 'why'.

    Anyway, everyone's busy. I don't want to over-burden my coworkers. I'd never leave and expect someone to finish my tasks.
    Of course, that's me and the one thing I've got going for me stamina...and this job is testing my limits. I can run for hours...literally. I understand that others differ but you're saying that she requested a break after 2 hrs?
    Why does she break so often? Does she smoke?
    Ordinarily, I wouldn't care but ordinarily people who constantly break don't leave others with work or expect them to pick up their slack.

    Why can't she get her things done? Are unscheduled interruptions screwing her up?
    I hate that. When I work a standard 8hr shift? I'm perfectly fine so long as everything stays 'on schedule'. LOL
    ...and it NEVER does. There's going to be an re/admit at the last minute. Someone's bound to fall. Someone's going to need to be transported via EMS. Someone's going to try to escape. Someone's going to come to me at the last minute and say, "Oh, did you know we're doing the skin assessments with the look-backs?"
    "Huh...?"
    "Yeah, they changed it."
    AGAIN? They've 'changed it' 4 times in 5 months!

    No matter which hall I pick.
    I picked an easy hall on monday. The male hall. I like the male hall b/c, while I love my ladies, they're all needy and crazed. Men are easy. They just poop, watch sports and sleep. You don't have to beg them to eat or fight them to take their meds.
    They request their meds. When they have bowel issues? They tell you:
    "Ma'am - I can't s...t!"
    It's wonderful.

    Within 15 minutes, someone had fallen from their wc. 2 hours later? Another one bit the dust. The meals were late....
    sigh

    I normally work 16 hrs shifts. When I work a standard 8? I'm accustomed to working right through what should be my break. Something unplanned is always happening.
    anotherone likes this.
  10. 1
    My situation is a little different. I'm a new nurse in the ED. We are assigned lunch breaks, but we only get 30 minutes. On my unit, you just go when you are assigned to go, unless something crazy is going on. Works well for us.
    CareQueen likes this.


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