Pressure to take breaks ...

  1. I don't know what is wrong with me but it is often a struggle for me to get all my work done efficiently. It really sucks.

    I always feel like the slowest person on the floor. Everyone else is able to take breaks and have time to socialize except me. I don't even know why I am slow. I once asked one of my preceptors as to what I could do to make myself more efficient and she didn't even really have an answer for me. I recognize that I am a new grad but I see other new grads who are always done their work so much more quickly than me and even complain that they are bored. I feel like such a failure sometimes that I am not progressing as well as these other new grads.

    There have been some nurses on the floor who have confronted me about not taking my breaks and the only answer I can give them is that I have poor time management skills ... I felt embarrassed telling them and I have a feeling they felt uncomfortable hearing it.

    I know that the nurses on my floor often like to talk to others about other nurses and it worries me that word will get back to my managers that I am not effectively managing my time.

    I almost feel pressured to take my breaks now that I will be working more shifts with these nurses who seem to keep tabs on if I am taking my breaks or not. I know they are just concerned and looking out for me but I feel less pressured to do my work if I have more time to work - taking breaks feels like a burden to me.

    Anyone else feel this way or have been in this position?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   RNperdiem
    Put a positive spin on this. The other nurses know the restorative power of a break to help keep stamina up through your day and want you to develop good habits.
    On my new grad med/surg floor, I felt the same way. I blamed myself for poor time management skills. The other nurses didn't have time to sit around either. I very rarely took breaks or ate lunch or even sat down except to chart. I came home worn out, hungry and cranky every day. I'm suprised I lasted that first year. I eventually discovered that I was no less behind than if I did take an occasional lunch than if I skipped it.
  4. by   tddowney
    This is one of those paradoxes in life.

    Taking a break allows you to refresh your mind for a few minutes, grab a snack and a drink of water, tea, etc.

    You'll probably think better with some nutrients and hydration on board. The change of pace will let you think better, too. Taking time can actually save time.

    Give it a try.
  5. by   nyapa
    Are you sure I didn't just write this post? That's exactly how I feel. I'm probably luckier than you in that my boss has the attitude that nursing is a 24 hour job and that what you can't get done someone else can. But that doesn't help when you feel that you are leaving work for people on the next shift...

    In our new graduate year we rotate wards; I am on my third rotation (out of three) and this ward is so totally different to what I have been doing before. I feel like I am letting the side down; because I feel I should be able to do more by this time. I am so grateful for the support I am getting. I am learning though that you do have to take your breaks, so that you have time to collect your thoughts and realise what your priorities are if nothing else. And you can have a cuppa as well.
  6. by   steelcityrn
    Take your breaks! That place is not going anywhere. Do the best you can, think about what you did on the drive home and ways you might have done it to save some time. Pay attention to how the others manage their time. It takes months to learn this. But take your breaks, you need them.
  7. by   Sassybottom
    I don't know but I feel less rushed when I know I will have that extra hour that would otherwise be spent on a forced break. During the break the only thing that will be on my mind is what needs to be done or what might be happening to my patients while i am off the floor ...
  8. by   ebear
    Sassy,
    TRUST ME--- this too shall pass!!
  9. by   EmmaG
    Quote from Sassybottom
    I don't know but I feel less rushed when I know I will have that extra hour that would otherwise be spent on a forced break. During the break the only thing that will be on my mind is what needs to be done or what might be happening to my patients while i am off the floor ...
    You'll become more efficient as you gain experience. But trust me... take those breaks. You'll find you are far less hassled and frazzled --- and work much more efficiently --- when you take (at least) 30 minutes a day to decompress and get some fuel. Seriously.
  10. by   wooh
    Quote from tddowney
    This is one of those paradoxes in life.

    Taking a break allows you to refresh your mind for a few minutes, grab a snack and a drink of water, tea, etc.

    You'll probably think better with some nutrients and hydration on board. The change of pace will let you think better, too. Taking time can actually save time.

    Give it a try.
    It's so hard for me to remember this (even though I always try to preach it to new grads!)
    But it's so right. When you get behind and stressed, you just think slower. Taking a short break, no matter how small, can really get you straightened out!
  11. by   EmmaG
    Look at it this way--- what would you advise a patient who was going full-tilt for 8 to 12 + hours with no food?

  12. by   elizabells
    I don't take my full breaks either. Some nurses on my floor take 30min for a meal break and then 90min later in the shift... I usually take about 20 to eat and then 20 later on to run out for a cup of coffee. I'm just afraid something will go wrong while I'm on a break - that's my new nurse neurosis. Which is totally going to be the name of my next album.

    But you should at least eat something. I think it's okay to not take the entire thing (although be aware that it's getting taken out of your check whether you take it or not), as long as you at least take SOME time to eat, drink, pee, and go OUTSIDE to get some fresh air!
  13. by   nursemike
    I went out to a nice, family restaurant with relatives awhile back. I finished my meal in fifteen minutes. Coulda done it in half that, but everyone was staring at me.

    Don't skip lunch. You need lunch. But if anyone hassles you about skipping other breaks, when I was a novice carpenter, I found I could make up for some of my lack of skill with extra sweat. Now, as a novice nurse, I do the same thing. If I find myself getting overly stressed, I'll make time to go smoke a cigarette, but I rarely have time for more than one, and I don't smoke socially. (Hopefully, eventually, I'll be doing that break smoke free, but there will probably always be times I need to get off the floor for a moment.)
    I do take frequent pauses to get a drink of water or coffee, but I find those more helpful than two fifteen minute breaks.
    One of the best things about night shift is my whole crew seems to be free-thinkers. As long as I'm not criticizing them for taking breaks (and I'm not--if they can get their stuff done more efficiently, good for them) nobody seems to object to my method.
  14. by   everthesame
    Count me among those who feel you really need to take your break. I find if I don't take a break, I have a harder time concentrating by the end of the shift. Even on crazy nights, I try to grab a quick bite...even if it is just a couple of crackers with peanut butter on them from the unit nourishment room. It's not so much that I am hungry, I just know if I go 12 hours without food my mind gets pretty "fuzzy" and I am afraid it then takes me twice as long to get my charting done.

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