New Nurse can't eat lunch - page 4

by Michigangirl

9,467 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. 2
    Yes. Unless it's an emergency, I do not want to know when I'm on break. It can wait until I return.
    KelRN215 and hiddencatRN like this.
  2. 0
    None of us ever take our breaks until we are caught up. Our first break is after morning med pass. Our company only guarantees 1 30min break. If everything is completed others take the 15min breaks and those are the smokers.
  3. 0
    I opt out of early breaks because I know that if I did so, something bad would happen and ruin my night and leave a ton of unfinished tasks. If she isn't listening to her coworkers, maybe speak to the manager and express concern that she is struggling. A talk from the manager may be more beneficial in letting her know she has to manage her time more efficiently.

    ~ No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent -Eleanor Roosevelt ~
  4. 3
    I think you're both "wrong" and you're both "right."

    Workers - even nurses - are entitled to breaks, even if the work isn't all done. Certainly, if someone is coding, we need to postpone our own needs. On a routine day with stable patients, I can usually carve out time to take my breaks. However, if I have a critically ill patient, I may never be caught up. Does that mean I don't get to eat or pee or sit for 12 hours? Of course not, but I do need to be diplomatic in how I request break coverage.

    Someone mentioned taking your phone with you on break. My understanding of FEDERAL law is that if you're required to be available by phone, you must be paid for your break/lunch. I could be wrong. Do your own research.

    Someone else mentioned that they "maintain our ratios during breaks" (or close to it - forgive me if a word or two isn't quite right). Do y'all know what that MEANS?!?!? It means that the person covering your break is ONLY covering your patients - they don't have their own assignment! What a wonderful thing! It's done that way in California because of legislation mandating nurse-patient ratios.

    To the OP, you coworker sounds ignorant -and I mean that in the nicest way. She seems to not understand "how we do it here." Hopefully, someone can establish a relationship with her and guide her managing her workload and prioritizing care needs. She should not have to work an entire shift straight through with no breaks just because she's new and slow. But neither should she be asking you to do a dressing change or a routine med. On the other hand, if she's really having an occassional bad night, she should be able to go to the Charge and say "I'm drowning. Is there someone who can do Room 12's dressing change? (or whatever)"
    melmarie23, batmik, and noyesno like this.
  5. 0
    I'm 6 months into my first nursing job, would never think of expecting the nurse that covers me to pass a med or do anything for my patient while on my break (except of course tend to the call bell). Is she delusional?
  6. 5
    I agree with AnonRNC. A break is relief from work duties it doesn't mean every single thing is done. Working in California at a hospital that follows keeping ratios at all times makes break relief much more doable. I would not expect someone to do a complex dressing change but pass meds sure, ambulate a patient sure, call a doctor for a sleeper sure. Last night got a new order for Coumadin right before my break, the pharmacy hadn't approve it yet, should I wait to go on break and throw the whole break schedule off, no the break relief nurse is paid to take over my load while on break. I've worked as break relief and rarely am I given tasks to do that I think the primary should do.

    Some times I think nurses are their own worse enemy. They tolerate working conditions such as working without breaks without blinking an eye. In California if you miss a 30 minute meal break you get paid one hour of pay. If you miss one or both 15 minutes breaks you get paid an extra hour. Do I put in for this if I miss a break....... heck yeah! Does it happen often...... heck no! But I always have legitmate reasons for it happening.

    Also by law anytime a break is interrupted you are allowed to restart your break.

    The original poster does need to speak with this new nurse but some issues lay in the unit culture and some at organization and state level.
    melmarie23, AnonRNC, CareQueen, and 2 others like this.
  7. 1
    I just don't get it...

    (I) would never think of expecting the nurse that covers me to pass a med or do anything for my patient...
    Then what does it mean to you that someone is "covering" you?

    When I'm being "covered" then that means essentially that the person covering me is *doing* the work that needs to be done... otherwise I'm not "covered."

    except of course tend to the call bell
    But if the relief is not going to pass meds or "do anything" then what does that even mean, just walking in, making sure the patient's not actively dying, and then saying, "your nurse will be with you in a bit?"
    melmarie23 likes this.
  8. 2
    I ask covering nurses to give pain medication on occasion. Sometimes I have a PRN that I know the patient will want in exactly 15 minutes, but the same situation with another patient/pain med in 35 minutes, Should I put off break for 40 minutes and hope that my new admit doesn't show up as I'm giving the second pain med? I would never expect a covering nurse to do my dressing changes or put down my NG tubes, but giving a med (scheduled or PRN) shouldn't be a huge deal unless the nurse you're asking is already overwhelmed.

    I don't want my nursing buddies starving themselves because they're afraid to ask me to give a norco. I will give your norco. I might even get your patient an extra blanket. Go feed your weary self.
    CareQueen and batmik like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from AnonRNC
    Someone else mentioned that they "maintain our ratios during breaks" (or close to it - forgive me if a word or two isn't quite right). Do y'all know what that MEANS?!?!? It means that the person covering your break is ONLY covering your patients - they don't have their own assignment! What a wonderful thing! It's done that way in California because of legislation mandating nurse-patient ratios.
    And also because it's in our contract.

    All in California, my first two jobs were non-union; this one is union... the union place is so much better... and our nurses are a great team who totally have each others' backs.
  10. 0
    That is what I was wondering, how much do people expect the other nurses to do for them...

    I don't want a detailed report on someone else's patients... just tell me who is a DNR, and who might need pain meds in the next hour. I don't mind answering call lights, toileting, things like that, but if you know that someone needs an antibiotic hung in 15 minutes, why wouldn't you do it yourself before you go?

    Sometimes I have enough trouble keeping up with my own load!

    That said, I LOVE the idea of a break nurse!!!


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