New Nurse can't eat lunch - page 5

by NightOwl0624 9,881 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


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    We have a "break nurse" who takes our pager for the 15 min break and 30 min dinner break. Since they are only "breaking" for that nurse, the "break nurse" is fine with giving a med or doing a dressing change. The "break nurse" just shows up and says "hand me your pager and what is going on"? Works well.
    multi10 likes this.
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    Does she know most nurses do not get "real lunches"? Meaning an actual 30 minutes away from patient care or charting?
    anotherone likes this.
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    I cover lights only and do prn medications , i don't do dressing changes, scheudled meds or anything else while someone is on break.
    anotherone likes this.
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    Quote from sistasoul
    Does she know most nurses do not get "real lunches"? Meaning an actual 30 minutes away from patient care or charting?
    While beside my point, I generally question "most" statements based on anecdotal evidence as opposed to hard data.

    Regardless, do these "most" nurses eat the time (yes, pun intended) or are they compensated in accordance with federal labor law?
    melmarie23 likes this.
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    "covering" another RN usually means watching for call bells, and dealing with anything out of the ordinary or unexpected, like a code. It doesn't mean DOING another RN's meds, treatments, etc. We do take breaks without all the work being done, depending on what time it is, what the work is that is unfinished.
    I would speak with your charge nurse about it and maybe she can gently explain to the new RN how this traditionally works. Maybe the new RN could use a mentor for a month or two. It's hard being a new nurse for sure. But part of becoming a good nurse is learning from those who have been nurses longer. She will come to understand this eventually.
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    Some nurses whether they be new or experienced and lazy I have seen with this problem. Basically she just needs to be told that the expectation of break coverage are you get what you need done before you leave and when you get back finish what was ok to wait. Your job as the covering nurse is to get things that come up unexpectedly while she is gone, ex, call bells, cleaning up incontinent patients, helping to the bathroom ect. She probably just needs help understanding this concept. Maybe gently point out if she thinks she would have time to do your scheduled dressing changes, ect while you are on break. Completely silly that she thinks you guys should do that.

    I worked with an experienced nurse and when he would go on his 30 minute break, he would be like, so can you do my glucose in 10 minutes and turn my other patient. ? Huh? well needless to say I didnt do it, I suggested he do the glucose now, and I can help him turn his patient when he gets back. He was notorious for being lazy
    anotherone likes this.
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    op. you are not mean. i can not stand working with people like this. we have a few new grads like this. a one time event where someone is swamped i will help out. because some times one nurse does get an awful assignment. but a constant event no, learn to work faster and more efficiently
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    Sometimes we do things for each other, so the other person can finally eat. But it will be things like a PRN medication, answering yet another call light of a very needy patient, checking on a beeping IV pump, helping someone up to the bathroom, etc. Not things that you should've taken care of before going on break that was scheduled.

    That is not being mean at all. I don't know what she is thinking!
    anotherone likes this.
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    Quote from Michigangirl

    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?
    This nurse has to work on her time management skills. It is just not right to just leave her work such as giving meds and dressing changes for the nurse COVERING for her.

    No, you are not being mean.
    anotherone and nrsang97 like this.
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    on my unit the culture on nights is that the covering nurse will deal with iv pumps beeping, give prn meds , help to br etc. some come in and ask if it is ok to give prn med. if something needs paging almost every primary nurse wants to do it his/herself and really s/he knows the pt best and should be the one doing that. dressing change (unless a prn one if one became soiled etc), giving scheduled meds, straight caths etc, that is to be done by primary nurse even if it means the pt will wait at most 30mins. and anything else will be waiting for your return.


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