Sitters, give 'em a break! - page 7

You want to know why you're complaining that the world is ending because you have to take your own vitals? Because your aides are sitting. You want to know why your aides are sitting? 'Cause your... Read More

  1. by   jo272wv
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    Listen. If I can't even relieve myself for a break, I can give a rat's patootie what the state law says about your breaks. Like it or not, it IS my choice when/if to relieve you. I will not ever choose your break over the health and safety of my pts. Sorry. I'd love to see someone report that! I'd love to breakdown my day and list all the things that I still needed to get done while someone is again demanding another break. Hmmm, titrating up on levophed, or relieving the sitter for his 4th break.....hmmm.

    This kind of attatude scares me, Give a rats patootie about the law? Wish I could pick and choose which laws I can follow or ignore. Im busy also but I use the time I relieve a sitter to catch up on charting wow something I have to do anyways.
  2. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from kurosawa
    Yeah, I guess you're in a spot if you're the only nurse. I haven't seen that yet myself, so the nurses all hit the bathrooms whenever they need to.

    I wish I had a nickel for every time I had to run around doing the pee pee dance because I didn't have time to go and wished I had a foley with a leg bag. Break? what break? That's rather funny.

    I'm not saying that you're not a good sitter nor am I saying they're all lazy but in my own personal 31 yrs as a nurse I've come across very few sitter's who needed a break other than running to get food because they didn't come to work prepared. They either slept, watched TV, or stayed on the phone. Help? That's a joke. The patient is incontinent and I need some help..."sorry I'm suppose to just sit" and that's exactly what they do.

    Low pay is their choice, don't complain, get an education, then they could sit around like the RN's and make big bucks doing it.

    Again, this is in no way a judgement of you, just my personal experience with sitters.

    I've only ever worked with agency sitter's, I've never seen or heard of a sitter who works for the hospital. Our patients with sitters are not allowed to be restrained because that's what the family is paying for. Mittens are allowed in some situations. I medicate them just as I would if they didn't have a sitter. If I was the pt I wouldn't want to be anxious or restless if I didn't have to be. Thanks for informing us about sitter's who work for the hospital. Didn't know you guy's exsisted.
    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Nov 27, '06
  3. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from jo272wv
    This kind of attatude scares me, Give a rats patootie about the law? Wish I could pick and choose which laws I can follow or ignore. Im busy also but I use the time I relieve a sitter to catch up on charting wow something I have to do anyways.
    Sorry such a basic concept scares you. I'm not going to jeopardize my pts safety relieving someone if I can't. I chart as I go on a huge flow sheet. I don't ever "catch up" on charting. My pts assessments are changing to often for me to do that. I can't bring it into another pts room and chart while I sit in the doorway either. BTW, does anybody care about MY breaks and the laws on how they apply to nurses?
  4. by   tattooednursie
    I've been a sitter before a time or two. . . No one offered to give me a break . . . until like . . . 5 hours and 25 minutes later . . . Let me tell you . . .. screw the bathroom break, thats a long time without a cigarette for a smoker!!!!!
  5. by   buildingmyfaith57
    i understand of the safety of the 1 on 1 . yea you do need to stay awake as much as possible. a person does need a break, a person does need to emtry their bladder unless you all think the sitter has a cather bag on them. man would that hurt standing up with a full bag. yeaaaaaaaaaaaaa !
  6. by   GeminiTwinRN
    for some reason, i can't get the last page of this (old) thread to load.

    so i'll just post my comment here.

    let's see. if my math is correct, a 10" break q 2 = 120 minutes of break in a 12 hour shift. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?


    yes, the sitters need to have breaks. if the techs can't do it, then i will. if i walk in the door to do an assessment or something, i often ask the sitter if they need to use the bathroom or go get a drink while i'm in there. but there's no way in heck i'm going to work my 12+ hours worrying about whether or not a sitter was able to take 2 HOURS of breaks during our shift.

    my goodness! that is just funny!
  7. by   Myxel67
    sounds like faulty math to me. say the sitter starts work at 7p.
    he/she isn't going to start with a break. so q2h would be at 9, 11, 1,3, 5. our sitters usually relieve each other at 7, so no break then either. so it's 50 minutes. our practice has always been 30 minute meal break, and a 15 minute break every 4 hours (per dol). a person who works 8 hrs is usually due 2 15-min breaks in addition to the meal break, so it seems reasonable that one who works 12 hrs should have 3 15-min breaks. i know i've never gotten any of my 15-minutes breaks since i've been in nursing--and maybe only half of my meal breaks. but that's my problem. i don't begrudge anyone taking the breaks to which they are entitled. but i'd better not catch anyone sleeping when they're supposed to be there for pt safety.
  8. by   GeminiTwinRN
    I see your point, however, I guess I wasn't counting the 30 minute lunch break as part of the OP request. As in, I thought the OP was requesting 10" breaks q 2 in addition to their 30 minute lunch and other mandated breaks. I stand corrected! (never did say I was good at math, LOL!)

    It's usually our techs who get pulled to sit. So they automatically work 12 hour shifts. If we were to give them a 30 minute lunch, plus 5 10" breaks, that still adds up to 80 mins of breaks.

    It's tough. I never cared for sitting except while I was in school and had the odd patient who actually didn't need me constantly so I could study. I know the techs who get pulled absolutely hate sitting for the most part. There are a couple of older techs who offer to do it, they're just plain worn out from teching it all the time and the hope of having some downtime is appealing to them. But if we pull techs to sit, they are expected to do VS, I/O's, personal care, linens, etc. They don't just sit there, that's for sure.
  9. by   Hoozdo
    What about nurses, give 'em a break? Nobody ever comes up to me to relieve me for a break or lunch. If I have a sitter, I expect them to be able to tell me when they need a break.

    If you are a sitter, let the RN know you need a break. I am far too busy with my patients to consider your break time needs. Speak up and take a break........simple as that.
  10. by   RNsRWe
    Guess I'm missing the point of the Pity Party for sitters....? Their job is to sit with the patient and occupy them so that they don't pull off dressings or pull out tubes, caths.

    It's hard for them to stay awake? Seriously? I'm going to be very concerned about giving them a ten minute break every two hours because they might be tired of...SITTING? I guess I'm thinking that we all have a job to do, and if theirs is relatively sedentary, then they need to bring along a book, some knitting, a laptop and not complain to the nurse who is running around taking care of 10 patients! Get enough sleep before your shift so you're not ready to pass out while you're on the JOB (I know I have to do this, why not you?).

    Mostly, our techs are doing the sitting anyway. It's a rare day when a group home or agency provides a sitter to just sit with the patient. And then, they DO usually fall asleep, requiring us to go in and wake them up so that their charge isn't going to get hurt. We have to keep waking them to do their job, amazingly. So most of the time, it's OUR techs who are on the job.

    When that happens, the tech is responsible for ALL patient care during that shift: vitals, bed changes, baths, bedpans, whatever. The patient is fussing with her O2 canula, and you want me to medicate her so she doesn't? Get real: the reason you are sitting with her is so she has someone to occupy herself with, someone who says "Betty, leave that alone, you need that to breathe". And fixes the NC. I'm not going to medicate her into a stupor for your convenience, so that the one thing you DO have to do is no longer required!

    If a sitter from a home needs a break, we are more than willing to do so (tech or nurse, whoever is available). We'll go in so sitter can get a break for bathroom, cigarette outside, or just stretch the legs. It's not going to be ten minutes every two hours, we don't typically have that much free time to offer.

    If it's one of our techs doing the sitting, then that tech is relieved for scheduled breaks just like every other tech on the floor: another tech will take her place for a meal break or 15-minute "other" break. Our techs are not expected to disappear for ten minutes every two hours, but they are entited to their regular breaks. And everyone gets them, so no complaints! Also, we try to rotate the techs so that if we have three techs on the floor, they divide up the night and each take a few hours with the patient.

    My job requires me to go without breaks for several hours at a stretch. I deal with it. The option is to quit. Sitters have the same option, but I'm not about to feel that it was MY fault that they quit!
  11. by   buildingmyfaith57
    getting a break by sitting one on one doesn't always happen. it depends on where you work. you think the sitter wants to fall asleep. i understand the people who are on the floor are busy, i also understand the safety of the person you're sitting with.
    but we all need a break.
  12. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from buildingmyfaith57
    getting a break by sitting one on one doesn't always happen. it depends on where you work. you think the sitter wants to fall asleep. i understand the people who are on the floor are busy, i also understand the safety of the person you're sitting with.
    but we all need a break.
    Of course we all need a break. But the original complaint that launched this thread was that sitters should be given ten minutes off every two hours, anything less constituted abuse of the sitter. And THAT is what I am reacting to: the very idea that if a sitter falls asleep, it's my responsiblity to have prevented that by failing to keep them awake with frequent breaks!

    The job is what it is. If someone doesn't like it, they quit. And someone else (potentially one who knows they shouldn't sleep on the job) fills their spot. Sitting with a patient is hardly the most demanding job in the hospital, and there are always people willing to do it. Most of the time, techs FIGHT about who gets to do the one-on-one, it's so easy compared to their usual tasks!
  13. by   RNfaster
    I think the bottom line is that all healthcare professionals should receive breaks. From what I have seen, the lowest ranks of healthcare workers, e.g., sitters, CNAs, etc., are not paid enough. They could work at some fast food joints around here and make more. They could also work part-time at a bank and make more plus receive benefits, e.g., healthcare. So, yes, give those folks regular breaks, and consider paying them more to keep them (and offer training to help them to advance into other healthcare positions).

    Pay RNs more and give them breaks, too. I was surprised when I learned how little entry-level RNs make for the critical work they do. One could work as an administrative assistant for equal wages. (I think RNs do markedly better as they gain significant seniority and advanced degrees.)

    I think folks shouldn't say they didn't receive a break so no one else should, rather they should work to improve things for the entire industry.

    One other thing... The state of Arizona does not require ANY breaks for adult employees --they do require some breaks for youth workers. I think that California mandates one 15 minute break every four hours plus a lunch of some sort. It differs per state, and of course, per employer. The employers can always give more than the state mandates. A break every two hours seems like a crazy amount (but if floor folks are getting breaks and the sitter isn't because they are considered on a perpetual break --well, that isn't cool...). The only time that I have really felt stir-crazy when sitting for someone was when I was suited up in a gown and a respirator and the patient was physically threatening (eventually had to put leathers on him) and verbally abusive. I bit the bullet and stuck with it until it was done. It certainly wasn't pleasant.

    Some employers give their employees free meals, espresso machines, sodas, massages, off-site events, and profit-sharing bonuses. I think that breaks are a minimum requirement to employee retention. If all folks on the healthcare team got their breaks, there would surely be lower stress levels and more cooperation, no? (If you're too busy to get your own work done, you're not as likely to be able to lend a hand to another coworker...)

    I think we should look at the issue from a greater distance and consider what it means to healthcare workers and healthcare overall.
    Last edit by RNfaster on Jul 31, '07

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