New Nurse can't eat lunch

  1. 2
    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?
    anotherone and Sandradee0303 like this.
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  3. 58 Comments so far...

  4. 6
    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?
    No, you're not being mean. I'm a new nurse and I don't take a break until I'm caught up. Non of the nurses take a break until they're caught. I'm sure that's how all units are.
    marda, anotherone, nrsang97, and 3 others like this.
  5. 3
    I think it's pretty standard to not expect to break until you're caught up with your work. I don't know what your co-worker is thinking.

    The only times I've ever seen this happen was when two people are friends and have some type of arrangement where they cover for each other no matter what the nurse has going on, but that's rare.
    anotherone, lindarn, and loriangel14 like this.
  6. 3
    It's a learning curve for most new nurses. Yes I'm new but I also grew up with a nurse for a mother so time management skills were learnt early on on life. It basically boils down to if she wants food she has to get all work done beforehand otherwise.....no food! She can't blame anyone else but herself and she won't build a very good rep with other nursing staff either. It's all well and good to cover but dumping a full load to someone with a full load already is inexcusable
    anotherone, nrsang97, and loriangel14 like this.
  7. 4
    Wow that nurse has a need for a rude awakening. I would NEVER expect another nurse to do my treatments, meds, etc. That nurse needs to be educated on this.
    anotherone, nrsang97, Tina, RN, and 1 other like this.
  8. 2
    Well, I'm glad I'm not way off base. I do want to make it clear that I am talking NIGHTS - I am sure it is very different on days when it is harder to get a time when you are all caught up!
    anotherone and loriangel14 like this.
  9. 10
    Maybe the charge nurse needs to see what is keeping her behind. Maybe she is just so overwhelmed and needs a friend.
    grpman, melmarie23, rockstar11, and 7 others like this.
  10. 4
    Yes, this nurse doesn't understand the concept of other nurses "covering" her patients. "Covering" another nurse while she goes on break does not entail doing scheduled meds or dressing changes that should have been done already.

    If you need help finishing your tasks, just ask. The way she's doing things, it's almost like she's trying to trick the other nurses to do her work for her.
    anotherone, nrsang97, Tina, RN, and 1 other like this.
  11. 6
    Why don't you just take her aside and calmly explain how things are supposed to work with this. I bet she's overwhelmed, and needs someone who doesn't look at her like she has the plague. Maybe she just needs some good advice at how to arrange her "to do" list, from someone who knows what mentoring is...
    Janey496, Cinquefoil, grpman, and 3 others like this.
  12. 16
    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.
    Janey496, hecallsmeDuchess, Syrenia, and 13 others like this.


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