I, too, enjoyed working med/surg once upon a lightyear. I also remember working shifts on med/surg where I was assigned 13 patients
managed to leave on time...charts done, meds done and documented, said goodbye to patients, and even told them who their oncoming nurse would be. Of course, I worked at the speed of lightening all the day long, but got the job done...and SOMETIMES I even had time for lunch and potty breaks because when I had to relieve my bladder, it was either relieve it in my pants which would cause me to have to leave the unit anyway for a clothing change...OR...relieve it where it should be relieved in the first place.
As for taking 30 minutes for lunch...that was the benefit of working agency and being a traveling nurse...it was in my contract therefore, had to give it to me.
Nurses really NEED to stop the madness of their workdays by setting the tone of the unit. FEAR of doing so may cause you to continue in the endless pit of groaning and moaning and bodily injury. Taking COURAGE, even when fearful to stand up for one self for fear of losing one's job, is exactly what needs to be done to let Admin know you aren't a dang robot, but a human being with human needs just like your sick patients. If they need the bedpan and urinal at the push of a button, then you will TAKE THE TIME to relieve your own bladder. If your patients need to be fed due to hunger, lack of proper nutrition, and the caloric value to keep them well, then gosh darn it...so do you, and you are GOING TO EAT ONE MEAL DURING YOUR 12 HOUR SHIFT!!!
Now...that may send you out the door, but I'd rather be sent packing on my own terms than on the terms of someone who constantly walked on me like a wet rug. YOU NURSES HAVE THE POWER...NOW USE IT, GOSH DARN IT!!!