NO LUNCH??? NO BREAKS??? Is that common in nursing????? - page 5

by CleveRN2008

56,686 Views | 300 Comments

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


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    When I worked on tele we covered for each other during lunch breaks (which were usually the only breaks where we actually left the floor). During other breaks (when there was time) we just took our phones with us to the break room.

    If we knew another nurse didn't have lunch because she was in a crunch, we'd divide her assignment between us and MAKE her go!
    martinalpn, Tina, RN, AvenueQT, and 2 others like this.
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    Same here. We have a buddy system, and report off to our dinner buddy. I try to make sure there is nothing that needs to be done for my patients before I leave for my meal break. I'll make sure they're medicated for pain and any issues that can't wait until I return have been addressed. That way, whoever is covering for me doesn't have to actually do anything, just be ready in case there is an emergency. If we're not going to have time for our meal break, we're supposed to let our charge nurse know so they can either get us some help or authorize the overtime.
    wooh, truern, and learning08 like this.
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    Quote from 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.
    Nice speech, but let me tell you a true story. I called my boss and asked for a break, I didn't tell her I had to have a BM, I felt it was none of her business. She said "I'll see what I can do". I was alone, recovering 3 patients, I couldn't leave.

    30 minutes go by, I call her again, I told her I absolutely MUST have at least a 10 minute break, again she answered, "I'll see what I can do". Fifteen more minutes go by, I am absolutely miserable now, cramping and such. I call again. She say's to me "You know, we can't always get our breaks, deal with it." Later on in the day, the urge had passed and my patients were gone. I went in to her office and said "you know "Mary", I'm well aware we can't always have our breaks, but I was calling because I hat to take a s**t really bad, and it would have been nice if you had sent someone to break me for a few minutes. I further asked her "Have I EVER call you for a break?" she said "No". Then I said, "then you should have known it was for a good reason." I left the office in a huff, and bound up.

    Everyone here has good suggestions, but they suggest them as if we never thought of them ourselves. I couldn't walk out and leave 3 patients alone - I called my nurse manager and it got me no where. I didn't have the time to spend all morning on the phone trying to go up the chain of command, I had patients to care for. Just realize that some places do not care for their staff. You are a number - and a replaceable one at that. That is a fact.
    Last edit by Babs0512 on Feb 22, '09
    Aurora77, martinalpn, SE_BSN_RN, and 7 others like this.
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    Quote from 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.
    Ahhh, typical day at work for me too..

    Sometimes, when I make it to the bathroom-I just sit. Sit and listen. Listen to the chaos, listen to the monitors, the phones, the vent alarms, my name being called over and over...


    One time, I went to the bathroom, came back and found my pt blue. His vent tubing had popped off his fresh trach. He was filled with secretions. He was diaphoretic and his sats were in the 70s.

    All that happened while I went to the bathroom. Everyone else was too busy to notice. He looked at me like "how could you let this happen"

    Ugh.
    Hoozdo, wooh, janhetherington, and 2 others like this.
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    Lately, we've been getting nurses from around the world at my job site.

    What still amazes us is the fact that we have to explain to the US imports that we get our breaks, we cover for each other, we get paid vacation, we get paid sick time, and our unions protect our rights. They just appear stunned that they don't have to use their vacation to be sick.

    And now we know why so many of our co-workers who went south came back in under six months.

    Same language, same continent, very different expectations.

    I don't work in paradise, there are shifts that we miss breaks but we are paid for them. When we miss too many we talk to our union, who then talks with management and things settle until the next shortstaffed period.

    Yes, nursing is 24/7 but hey, they survived before we were hired.
    annmariern, Valerie Salva, wooh, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from Babs0512
    I went in to her office and said "you know "Mary", I'm well aware we can't always have our breaks, but I was calling because I hat to take a s**t really bad, and it would have been nice if you had sent someone to break me for a few minutes. I further asked her "Have I EVER call you for a break?" she said "No". Then I said, "then you should have known it was for a good reason." I left the office in a huff, and bound up.

    Everyone here has good suggestions, but they suggest them as if we never thought of them ourselves. I couldn't walk out and leave 3 patients alone - I called my nurse manager and it got me no where. I didn't have the time to spend all morning on the phone trying to go up the chain of command, I had patients to care for. Just realize that some places do not care for their staff. You are a number - and a replaceable one at that. That is a fact.
    Oh man, sorry to hear this...it just sucks how little respect and consideration nurses get in some places...a lot of places. Doesn't every human being regardless of job title deserve a toilet break? :-(
    AvenueQT, Valerie Salva, Mulan, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    Ahhh, typical day at work for me too..

    Sometimes, when I make it to the bathroom-I just sit. Sit and listen. Listen to the chaos, listen to the monitors, the phones, the vent alarms, my name being called over and over...


    One time, I went to the bathroom, came back and found my pt blue. His vent tubing had popped off his fresh trach. He was filled with secretions. He was diaphoretic and his sats were in the 70s.

    All that happened while I went to the bathroom. Everyone else was too busy to notice. He looked at me like "how could you let this happen"

    Ugh.
    Been there, done this too. Several years ago while working in the ER. I had a critical patient, who had arrested, was on an Amnioderone gtt and a dopamine gtt. Anyhow, he was so unstable, each time I upped the dopamine gtt, it would last maybe 10-15 minutes and the alarms would be sounding because his BP was back in the 60-70 range. So I would have to titrate it up.

    I was given another patient, I had to go in an assess that patient, start a line, do an EKG, put her on O2, etcc... I figured if I rushed, I could be out of the room in 10 minutes. I specifically asked the nurse with the assignment next to me AND the charge nurse if they would listed for the alarms in my room whilst I was in room one with my new patient. BOTH said "sure, no problem".

    I ended up being in the room 13 minutes. I came out, the charge nurse was at the desk chatting with someone of a personal nature, the other nurse was on the other side of the ER telling a joke to some of the other nurses. My patients alarms were going off and according to the monitors, had been for 10 minutes, his blood pressure was 60/24 - I titrated the gtt, came out and gave the both of them a piece of my mind. I wrote them both up, discussed it with my nurse manager a few days later, and nothing changed.

    Our entire hospital has this mentality. It's really discusting. When I was aske to cover for someone, I always rounded on the onther nurses patients and wrote a quick note so she would know I checked on them. I tried to set a good example. Didn't rub off though.

    Blessings
    martinalpn, Hoozdo, Valerie Salva, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from Babs0512
    . My patients alarms were going off and according to the monitors, had been for 10 minutes, his blood pressure was 60/24 -
    Sigh.

    I mean, what can you do? And for someone to insinuate that we are apathetic because we can't go to lunch? I mean, how could you possibly go to lunch on this day? People couldn't even watch your patient for 3 minutes !!(the amount of time it took your guys BP to tank)

    Thank God he was resiliant. (It's amazing how long they can stay with a SBP of 60's isn't it?)


    You know what, when I cover a pt for lunch I'm going to chart a little note as well. That's a great idea...
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    Where I work, you can fit in your lunch most days if you plan your time well. Right before lunch I round on my patients, make sure everyone is brought to the toilet if needed and pain free comfortable in their beds. Then I tell my charge I'm going on my break, turn off my phone, and don't come back for 30 minutes unless there is an emergency. Of course some days you cannot manage to get it all done and take a break, so on those days you don't get a break. I never take 15 minute breaks but I do get to use the restroom as often as needed.

    Our hospital advocates taking your breaks, if you don't get one for some reason it is paid as overtime per union policy.
    wooh and Fiona59 like this.
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    Quote from r*star*rn
    where i work, you can fit in your lunch most days if you plan your time well. right before lunch i round on my patients, make sure everyone is brought to the toilet if needed and pain free comfortable in their beds. then i tell my charge i'm going on my break, turn off my phone, and don't come back for 30 minutes unless there is an emergency. of course some days you cannot manage to get it all done and take a break, so on those days you don't get a break. i never take 15 minute breaks but i do get to use the restroom as often as needed.

    our hospital advocates taking your breaks, if you don't get one for some reason it is paid as overtime per union policy.
    well, i just had to highlight this part of the post.
    Aurora77, Ayvah, Valerie Salva, and 3 others like this.


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