NO LUNCH???  NO BREAKS???   Is that common in nursing????? NO LUNCH??? NO BREAKS??? Is that common in nursing????? - pg.2 | allnurses

NO LUNCH??? NO BREAKS??? Is that common in nursing????? - page 2

Hi everyone! This topic has been bothering me a lot lately. I would love to know your thoughts and experiences! I am a new RN working on a cardiac unit. Since I have been on this floor, I have... Read More

  1. Visit  DeLanaHarvickWannabe profile page
    2
    I work 11-7, many times with no PCT or floating charge, so sometimes I make time to pee and that's it. However, I usually make time to at least warm up my food and scarf it down. Does it take half an hour? No. But that's fine by me. I figure I get enough down time over the eight hours to add up to at least half an hour. Some nights I am bored because no one needs help and my patients are fine. Then there are nights that I find myself running from 2300 until 0800, then finally clock out at that time. Because of that, I don't write in the exception book that I didn't have time for a break. If it was happening every night, this would be a different story.
    rabbitgirrl and lindarn like this.
  2. Visit  masonRN profile page
    17
    Quote from Babs0512
    No one to complain too, just the way it is. We are NOT valued, we are replaceable. There isn't a nursing shortage around here.

    Think twice about nursing as a career, I wish I had.

    Blessings
    This is a very good example of apathy. It is a primary component of self-fulfilling wage slavery. It is sad, but for some it is a facet of their existence they've chosen not to contest.

    Put another way: a person who refuses to be a doormat is much more difficult to walk all over.

    The conditions you (the OP) describe are a result of many factors, all of which can be changed; change is not easy. Complaining to your coworkers and chatting on the internet is NOT going to effect change. Filing complaints with the state department of labor, organizing labor, filing safety complaints with the state department of health, contacting the press and reporting Joint Commission are just the items that jump to mind.

    I used to work in a hospital that was similar to what's being described. There is a little joke about the place, that goes some like "Did you hear about the nurse who was found dead in her car? It was just a few miles from here. They knew right away that she worked here because her bladder was full and her stomach was empty."
    I left that place and went to an institution with much more favorable opinion towards its employees. The place I left has been laying people off; the one I work at now has laid off no one. That move brought a notable pay cut, but I made a concerted effort to see the big picture; and I feel like the decision I made for myself was an excellent one.

    That's a part of the discussion that bears repeating: the decision I made for myself.



    [FONT=arial, helvetica][FONT=arial, helvetica]The next generation will not charge us for what we've done; they will charge and condemn us for what we've left undone.--Mother Jones
    FLmomof5, nola1202, BeenOff, and 14 others like this.
  3. Visit  dreamon profile page
    2
    This is rather discouraging. A full break is one thing- but no bathroom break?
    rabbitgirrl and lindarn like this.
  4. Visit  1stloveistobeanurse profile page
    2
    I am a nursing student, and I maybe starting a pct position at a hospital. I look out for things like this now, because I want to be able to get in with a good hospital that will allow me to grow, and take breaks. LOL.

    My question is this do you find this in union vs non union environments?
    I ask this question because currently I am in a non union state (right to work state GA) and I am seriously thinking about relocating either going back home (NY) or moving to a union state, I want to have a good experience in nursing and I changed to this career to be able to have stability and all. I would hate to go through all this schooling and leave accounting to find out I have jump from the frying pan to the oven
    dana7582 and lindarn like this.
  5. Visit  VU RN BSN profile page
    11
    Welcome to nursing Cleve.

    Better get used to working for 12.5 hours with a full bladder and an empty stomach. That is the reality of working as a nurse in a hospital.

    In my experience, hospital nurses almost NEVER get to take their 30 minute meal break. Instead, if they are lucky, they can perhaps shove a sandwich in their mouth while they catch up on their documentation. However, in many hospitals, if a nurse is caught eating food at the nurses station, they can be written up. In such places, it is safer to go hungry.

    Going to the bathroom to relieve a full bladder means there is nobody else to watch YOUR patients. Everyone else is too busy trying to take care of their own. Trust me, you'll get so used to holding it in for 12 hours, you won't notice it anymore.

    And yep, in most hospitals, if you swipe "no meal break" at the end of your shift, so you can get paid for all your 12.5 hours of work, instead of just getting paid for 12 hours of work, you will most likely get into trouble with your nurse manager. Best to avoid ******* them off these days.

    This current recession and economic crisis means the abuse of nurses will continue to worsen. Most nurses are scared to death that they may be laid off these days. Nobody is going to complain about being forced to skip breaks, if that means they get to keep their RN job and their RN paycheck.
    sweet36amber, Ayvah, sparketteinok, and 8 others like this.
  6. Visit  Virgo_RN profile page
    2
    I work for a unionized hospital, and lately it hasn't been too bad, but I certainly have pulled my fair share of breakless shifts.
    sistasoul and lindarn like this.
  7. Visit  Straydandelion profile page
    2
    I frequently skipped the lunch/dinner break. Basically I found it harder to get caught up later then just to skip it. Typically, even when someone watches your section, they ALSO have their own patients, some sicker then others so things just wait for your return.
    sistasoul and lindarn like this.
  8. Visit  BabyLady profile page
    0
    Not all hospitals are union, and hospitals do not work like retail establishments with regards to breaks or lunches. I mean, seriously, what do you do...stop in the middle of a patient bath or code blue and say, "Oh sorry, time for my break, be back in 15!!!"

    Some professions are exempt from certain things, however, for patient safety, it's not good to the point where you are working to exhaustion every day.

    The charge nurse shouldn't cover a lunch for everyone in the unit or breaks...if she did then she couldn't do her job.

    Another nurse has to cover for you if you go to the bathroom or get a quick bite to eat or take a 5 minute breather (aka mental health break)...but why do you find this strange on a CARDIAC floor? These patients are sick and anything can go wrong in a minute if someone isn't checking on them.

    It's about time management...working harder to get yourself caught up to a place where someone just has to monitor for a few minutes while you eat. However, on day when you are short staffed, it's not going to be possible.

    In our hospital, nurses can only leave the floor to get something in the cafeteria but they have to come straight back and eat in the breakroom on the floor so they can be pulled in an emergency.
  9. Visit  BradleyRN profile page
    15
    Quote from masonRN
    This is a very good example of apathy. It is a primary component of self-fulfilling wage slavery. It is sad, but for some it is a facet of their existence they've chosen not to contest.
    The conditions you (the OP) describe are a result of many factors, all of which can be changed; change is not easy. Complaining to your coworkers and chatting on the internet is NOT going to effect change. Filing complaints with the state department of labor, organizing labor, filing safety complaints with the state department of health, contacting the press and reporting Joint Commission are just the items that jump to mind.

    I used to work in a hospital that was similar to what's being described. I left that place...That move brought a notable pay cut
    It is certainly hypocritical to call the posters on this thread apathetic (just say me or Babs0512 for example), stand on a soapbox and tell us how chatting on the internet will do nothing, cite examples of what we should be doing instead, and then explain how you LEFT the same situation and took a "NOTABLE PAY CUT". Essentially, you did absolutely nothing to effect any change, unless you count building up your calves as you ran. It's funny how none of the methods you mentioned seemed to jump to your mind when it was you in those shoes. Instead, you just settled for cheaper shoes. :spin:
    Aurora77, Carrie_MTC, SE_BSN_RN, and 12 others like this.
  10. Visit  MultipRN profile page
    0
    I don't get true breaks, either, for most of the time. On nights that are exceptionally crazy, I'll write a "no lunch". But other nights, when the pace is steady, or more relaxed, I don't write it. I figure that the down time I have covers that. As long as I get to eat my meal and hit the restroom, whether I spend 30 min. in the break room isn't that big a deal to me. I figured that would be the case when I became a nurse -- of course I didn't realize quite how much! I've adapted for the most part.

    We get reprimanded if there are *too many* lunch breaks written down. But I haven't encountered any problems with that yet.
  11. Visit  Tweety profile page
    32
    What's a "parent shifter"?

    People choose not to take breaks and go to the bathroom whether they know it or not. I've worked busy med-surg, have had up to 8:1 ratios and still have gotten to go to the bathroom and have scheduled lunch breaks. 15 minute breaks here and there are a blessing, but I don't bother with them (and here in Florida they are not required by law because we are getting paid through them), but along with passing meds, teaching, and other patient care activities, I prioritize a lunch as if it's mandatory and low and behold 99% of the time I get one.

    I have drink lots of water and have an overactive bladder on top of that and not going to the bathroom is self-abuse.

    New grads unfortunately don't take a lot of breaks, including lunch. Sooner or later they come to a moment like you are now and realize that the self-abuse has to stop and self-care is a priority along with patient care. Take a lunch, even if it throws you behind, even if you might be interrupted. Sit down and eat or you will surely burn out.
    Cindycin37, Aurora77, annmariern, and 29 others like this.
  12. Visit  mamafeliz profile page
    18
    So, this is my take, and what is legal. Staffing should be adequate enough that all nurses are able to step away from their patient assignments and have another nurse assume whatever patient care responsibilities are being left behind. It is supposed to be a 30 minutes AWAY, both physically and mentally.

    This issue exploded on our very busy floor last year, where all nurses were chronically not getting lunch breaks. A letter was written to immediate supervisors describing the unsafe staffing assignments and dangerous lack of breaks. Let's face it, none of us are working at our best when unable to eat or hydrate, ESPECIALLY when working a 12 hour shift. There was no concrete resolution from that meeting, although some attempts made to remedy how to get breaks, ie a "buddy system", where one nurse would be responsible for double the number of patients. Unworkable on our floor. Eventually, a more pointed letter was drafted to the Board of Directors and CEOs of the hospital describing the actual bedside reality. We got some action pretty quickly. Our charge nurse is now no longer assuming a patient load so she can assist in giving breaks more consistently, staffing ratios have been more concretely defined, and we attempt to have a "flex" nurse to help give breaks, assist in emergencies, float the floor to give assistance where needed.

    It is a legal issue, and no hospital wants the public perception of having overworked, fatigued nurses on the edge of blacking out caring for vulnerable patients. There is protection for workers pointing out unsafe working conditions.

    Not only are we now getting our breaks, our overall staffing is better, even in light of the current fiscal crisis. There is the occassional shift where a lunch is missed, when things are exploding. We all step up and expect that sometimes. But the NORM is that we get our lunch. Push the issue of bedside safety. It is real and consumers EXPECT attentive safe nursing attention. It is our responsibility to insure that is what we are able to deliver.
    Aurora77, annmariern, SE_BSN_RN, and 15 others like this.
  13. Visit  rn4babies63 profile page
    0
    Where I work we often don't get lunch let alone breaks (except for the smokers, of course)! I have worked 14-15 hours without a lunch. Our manager could care less. We are usually short-staffed to the point of not having ANYONE to look after your patients. If we are lucky enough to eat, it's at the nurse's station. The only time we don't do that is if the Department of Health is lurking in the hospital

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