NO LUNCH??? NO BREAKS??? Is that common in nursing????? - page 3

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. by   lee1
    There are somthing called "labor laws" maybe, if every time you miss a break or meal you call the 1-800 # for you state and REPORT anonymously to the department of health, labor, the hospital/institution will be evaluated/investigated.
  2. by   learning08
    I take my 30 minute lunch every single 12-hour shift, although at different times depending on what's going on. I turn over my pagers to my lunch partner, give brief report, and get off the unit. S/he only responds to unexpected things that have to be done right now, and how many of those are going to come up in half an hour? There's certainly not a constant stream of them. I can always make time to toilet an extra patient of my buddy's, suction somebody or assess a potentially unstable situation. For reference, we work on an acute floor, non-unionized, not in CA.

    I make time to pee throughout the shift :-) It only takes a minute or two, and it takes precedence over everything but patient emergencies. I do not want to abuse my body and honestly, would not want to work in a crappy environment where employees are pushed so hard that they can't take a few minutes to themselves throughout their long days.

    If I were laid off, I would potentially tough it out in a worse working environment (or maybe go wait tables somewhere :-) only as long as necessary to find a decent job, and I'm prepared to take out loans and go back to school. It makes me so mad that eating and using the bathroom are even a question for us.

    I strongly encourage new grads to stay out of abusive work environments. It doesn't have to be that way. You *have to* have standards for yourself even in this day and age, don't jump on the very first gig just because someplace said yes, especially for your very first job. Consider potential workplaces very carefully and never negotiate out a fear.
    Last edit by learning08 on Feb 22, '09
  3. by   fracturenurse
    It definitely happens. I used to work in an OR where nobody got breaks or lunches, and nobody cared. I learned to love Slim-Fast because I could run to the bathroom and drink one real quick. However, where I work now is really good. We all sign out for breaks and lunches and everyone usually gets one. I believe it's a management thing. I remember working on the floor and having to get another nurse to cover me while I'm on lunch. I never had any problem, but our manager insisted that we cover for each other. I'm sorry this is happening to you, that just stinks.
  4. by   jmgrn65
    I ageee with Tweety,
    I have been a nurse for over 16 years, I can count on one hand how many times I didn't get a break in a 12 hour shift, i have worked ICU and stepdown cardiac/surgical floor. There are other workers, as well as other shifts, not everything has to be down on your shift. Yes I agree that sometimes there are days that you just don't have time.
  5. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from lee1
    There are somthing called "labor laws" maybe, if every time you miss a break or meal you call the 1-800 # for you state and REPORT anonymously to the department of health, labor, the hospital/institution will be evaluated/investigated.
    Keep in mind each state has different laws. So one person's workplace experience may be starkly different than another person's in a different state.

    For example in my state, breaks are not required to be taken. Breaks are optional, as determined by the employer, and as the work flow allows. All that is required (supposedly) during a 12 hour shift is a 30 minute lunch or dinner, off the clock.

    Also, in some of these right to work/at will employment states where workers have fewer rights, the culture is so ingrained against breaks, one would be going up against the entire workplace culture. Not something many want to do when their peers are being laid off.
  6. by   Babs0512
    To MASONRN, how dare you call me apathetic! You don't know me or my situation. I have tried to precipitate change where I work, to no avail. I have been called to the DON for "inciting discord" amongst staff, for this reason.

    I live in a rural area. Where I work, it is "the only game in town". The nearest other facility - three of them, are all an hours drive from here. I don't choose to spend two hours of my day commutinig where 9 months of the year the wheather is winter and the roads are a hazard.

    Don't bad mouth me, it is NOT appreciated. Furthermore, until you know me and the whole story, you're speaking out your bottom, which is known to be notorusely inaccurate.

  7. by   RNperdiem
    When my manager asked me a couple of months after I was hired, how I was doing, I told her what a difference it makes to always get a lunch break.
    My manager said that she made it a point to run the kind of unit where everyone took their lunch break.
    If you are behind, the other nurses jump in and help you get caught up so you can go eat.
    Eventually, you return the favor.
    Unit culture plays a role. That is why I have been working on my unit for 10 years now.
  8. by   CleveRN2008

    I agree with you about unit culture. That is what it boils down to. I am happy and glad to hear that there are nursing units out there in which nurses are properly afforded breaks. My plan at this time is to work on my current unit for the one year required period of time and then bid on other RN positions throughout the hospital. However, this time, I will make sure that I understand the culture of the unit before joining it. Thank you for your response...I appreciate it!
  9. by   makes needs known
    Stop!!! We have to stop this. We call in when we are sick and we take our breaks. And everything goes on. If you get used to working without taking care of yourself you will suffer. You already are. You go to someone else and say " I'm taking my break now, please cover for me and I will cover for you when you go." Start taking your breaks. You know you deserve them, You will be a better nurse for it and so will you coworkers, and so will your patients.
  10. by   Valerie Salva
    Q. A woman's body was found. How did the police know she was a nurse?

    A. Because her stomach was empty, her bladder was full, and her butt was chewed out.
  11. by   LilyBlue
    The other day, after about 6 hours of working nonstop, I could feel my blood sugar bottoming out. I was lightheaded, sweaty, and felt like crap. (I'm not diabetic).

    I ran into the kitchen really fast to eat a tablespoon of peanut butter, and the whole thirty seconds I was in there I could still hear people yelling my name.

    I don't know how you are supposed to change a culture like that.
  12. by   Sonjailana
    I had a pt's spouse ask me about nurse breaks during my last shift. So, how does that work he asked. I said, well, technically we should get a morning break, lunch, and afternoon break but that doesn't always happen. Oh, so like a third of your twelve hour shift? Hahahahahahah!!! I was like, well, at maximum an hour, but usually it's about 10-15 minutes for lunch, and a few minutes in the morning OR afternoon, not both. 3-4 hours of breaks? Like we're queens or something...he was clearly blind to how fast I was running to keep my five post ops going.
  13. by   mscsrjhm
    It has been this way forever. You just gotta laugh- what does the world think we are talking about when nurses complain about getting no respect and being over worked?
    And to imply that people are doormats because they don't jump up and fight the big lunch break battle? That is over the top, isn't it? We all pick our own causes, and (I believe) it is wrong to criticize someone because they don't pick the battle that YOU want them to pick.
    This is only one of the many disrespectful conditions that cause nurses to leave the medical field. Not even the decency to make sure that we get lunch.
    I am so very glad that none of my children are nurses!!