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

by CleveRN2008

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 observed and experienced... Read More


  1. 21
    Unfortunately, it is very common. Especially in non-unionized hospitals. I work in such a place. I use to work 12 hour shifts in the ER, 90% of the time, without meal breaks. I work PACU now. 8 hour shifts. It happens at least 2 -3 times per week. It happened Friday.

    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
  2. 14
    Why CERTAINLY we can take a break. But if we do, there is nobody to take care of our patients because we are always stretched to the max. In additiion, the one to two hours overshift everyone has to put in to finish their paperwork will expand by the time spent on the break, so you can count on going home even later. Who needs that? I never take a break on the floor, and certainly not a lunch period, unless you count shoving a sandwich in with one hand while charting with the other. And OF COURSE I could put in for no time off, if I wanted to hear about it in evaluations. No thanks.
    Carrie_MTC, SweetheartRN, nola1202, and 11 others like this.
  3. 5
    Quote from Babs0512
    Unfortunately, it is very common. Especially in non-unionized hospitals......
    I work for a unionized hospital and in the last contract we negotiated 4-15min breaks(up from 3) and a 30min lunch for all 12hr shift RNs. Unfortunately the union cannot find a way of forcing the hospital to provide staff to cover these breaks. They may as well have gotten the hospital to agree to 2-15min breaks every hour- why not, as long as they don't have to provide staff to provide relief.
    sistasoul, wooh, rabbitgirrl, and 2 others like this.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.



    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.
  6. 2
    This is rather discouraging. A full break is one thing- but no bathroom break?
    rabbitgirrl and lindarn like this.
  7. 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.
  8. 10
    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.
    Ayvah, sparketteinok, sistasoul, and 7 others like this.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


Top