Who's #1 your patient or you? - page 2

Who's #1, Your patients or you? No matter how busy it is I always take my breaks. Some nurses miss lunch, skip breaks. I would like to here from nurses their opinions on this topic.... Read More

  1. by   moia
    Take my breaks when I can..sometimes they aren't at the same time everyday but I take them.
    I think I come first...I enjoy nursing and looking after patients but I am not going to kill myself for them. I need to care for myself because I am a real person not some robot that winds themselves up for another day of nursing.
    I am important to me and my loved ones...the patient won't remember who I am after a week and in ICU they may never remember me..so I look out for myself.

    I don't get the "Iam a nurse..the noble self sacrificing all caring blah blah blah..I'm just another schmuck trying to survive and do the best work I can and enjoy life and family.
  2. by   adidas99
    Quote from Agnus
    As corney as it sounds by taking your breaks and looking after your own welfare you are putting your patient first.

    I totally agree.
    Last edit by adidas99 on Jan 29, '07
  3. by   Gompers
    Just because we go for break doesn't mean that we are putting ourselves first. If you're tired, hungry, and dehydrated, there's nothing wrong with taking a break if staffing allows. Sometimes just taking 10-15 minutes and sitting down with your Diet Coke and a snack...I swear it's like Popeye with his spinach!!! Total rejuvenation!!! It's worth taking the time, because you feel so much better afterwards and it makes the shift less stressful because you're not so malnourished.

    I'll admit that I'm very spoiled. Work in a large NICU with an open layout, usually with about 15-20 nurses per shift. We have plenty of staff so that everyone gets out on break. Even if you've got the sickest kid in the unit, there are other nurses PUSHING you out to the break room, and they'll sit right in front of that baby until you get back so you don't have to worry. Almost always take a full 60 minute break during an 8 hour shift. The only time we miss our lunches is usually if we have a crazy amount of new admits or codes, or if we're out on transport. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled!!! :imbar
    Last edit by Gompers on Jun 5, '04
  4. by   FROGGYLEGS
    I used to work through my lunch breaks until mgmt starting having a fit and suspending people for not clocking out for lunch. They say it has to stop because of OSHA requirements, I say they are worried about the extra money they're losing by paying us for 30 extra minutes. I also say that they should stop decreasing staff while increasing workload and this may not be an issue.

    Several nurses still make the trip to the clock, punch out, set their timer, work through lunch break and then go back and clock in. I say THAT is against guidelines and that they can't ask you to work off the clock. Now I clock out and LEAVE the premises. Usually I drive my car around the neighborhood until my time is up. If I don't leave people will page me and chase me around throughout my breaks anyway. If I am going to work, I am going to get paid for it.
  5. by   NursesRmofun
    I have skipped a few breaks and lunches in my life, when I have needed to, but all and all, some things can wait until after lunch or for the next shift. It depends what it is. Certainly paperwork can wait most of the time. I have found that many nurses don't stop for breaks because they think they will get out of work sooner, in other words,...not be so late getting out. Some nurses are chronically late getting out....like an hr. or more everyday....So, they don't take lunch, in my experience.
  6. by   Erin RN
    Quote from Agnus
    As corney as it sounds by taking your breaks and looking after your own welfare you are putting your patient first.

    When you sacrafice yourself to your patients you burn out and are not giving your best. IMHO that is the most selfish thing you can do. Some nurses actually say no one can take care of their patients as well as they can and will not take breaks. They are on thier own ego trip and doing a diservice to the patient.

    Think about it this way. Would your perfer a refreshed nurse who takes her breaks and takes care of herself or someone who is so "superior" that she negelcts herself so that you have a nurse who has low blood sugar, poor health habits and no rest taking care of you.

    Personally, I would prefer a nurse who is clear headed and relaxed even if she is not as knowlegeable or experienced as the nurse who doesn't eat, doesen't take a break and brings all that extra stress to my bedside.
    ITA!!! very good post! I remember early on in my career not taking breaks since I was "too busy" and the patients "need me" to much. I think that good nurses learn that we must take care of ourselves in order to take care of others..that is a healthy balance. Of course there are always the ones that take breaks frequently and leave their work for the rest of the staff (the lazy I am only here for a paycheck nurse) then on the flipside you have the ones that never take breaks even though it is feasible and then proceed to bi*** about it loudly and constantly (the martyr nurse). There were times in the ED when we were running behind but our nurse mgr stood firm on us taking our breaks and our charge nurses made sure it happened..we all need pit stops, if we don't get them we will either run out of gas or blow a tire and hit the wall...
  7. by   debx
    The only way I've coped with the chaos for all these years is to be in the mind set that, at work, "it's all about the patients". When at home, it's "all about me".

    I bring quick snack foods that I can shovel in if I can't get a break. If I'm busy and I take a 30 minute lunch then I'm 30 minutes behind when I return.
    It's not worth it to me.
  8. by   angel337
    Quote from Gompers
    Just because we go for break doesn't mean that we are putting ourselves first. If you're tired, hungry, and dehydrated, there's nothing wrong with taking a break if staffing allows. Sometimes just taking 10-15 minutes and sitting down with your Diet Coke and a snack...I swear it's like Popeye with his spinach!!! Total rejuvenation!!! It's worth taking the time, because you feel so much better afterwards and it makes the shift less stressful because you're not so malnourished.

    I'll admit that I'm very spoiled. Work in a large NICU with an open layout, usually with about 15-20 nurses per shift. We have plenty of staff so that everyone gets out on break. Even if you've got the sickest kid in the unit, there are other nurses PUSHING you out to the break room, and they'll sit right in front of that baby until you get back so you don't have to worry. Almost always take a full 60 minute break during an 8 hour shift. The only time we miss our lunches is usually if we have a crazy amount of new admits or codes, or if we're out on transport. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled!!! :imbar
    you are blessed to work with such nice people. the people you work with can make the worst job worth it because of their work ethic and teamwork. i am still trying to organize myself so that i can take lunch but it is hard because when i come back there is a ton of stuff to do and i fall behind. i think it is something that nurses learn overtime, because when you first start out in nursing everything is a priority. but i am learning that i am a priority too.
  9. by   Farkinott
    Take your breaks! Do you think the money man cares?
  10. by   IamRN
    Quote from FROGGYLEGS
    I used to work through my lunch breaks until mgmt starting having a fit and suspending people for not clocking out for lunch. They say it has to stop because of OSHA requirements, I say they are worried about the extra money they're losing by paying us for 30 extra minutes. I also say that they should stop decreasing staff while increasing workload and this may not be an issue.

    Several nurses still make the trip to the clock, punch out, set their timer, work through lunch break and then go back and clock in. I say THAT is against guidelines and that they can't ask you to work off the clock. Now I clock out and LEAVE the premises. Usually I drive my car around the neighborhood until my time is up. If I don't leave people will page me and chase me around throughout my breaks anyway. If I am going to work, I am going to get paid for it.
    Wow! You have to clock out? I have never been required to punch out for lunch. It has automatically been deducted. The exception is to do something extra to get your 30 mins of lunch time if you *didn't* get a lunch. For example, my current employer uses Kronos and we have to perform a punch or two of the keys that tells the timekeeping system we didn't get lunch. I have used it once in the last seven months.

    On the down side, our closet of a break room is only feet (literally) from a patients bed (I work in an open bay ICU), and people are forever coming to you w/questions. The up side, we always push each other to take our break/lunch and are great about covering for each other.

    It seems to be that your co-workers are choosing to work off the clock; nobody is asking them to.
  11. by   IamRN
    Quote from Gompers
    I'll admit that I'm very spoiled. Work in a large NICU with an open layout, usually with about 15-20 nurses per shift. We have plenty of staff so that everyone gets out on break. Even if you've got the sickest kid in the unit, there are other nurses PUSHING you out to the break room, and they'll sit right in front of that baby until you get back so you don't have to worry. Almost always take a full 60 minute break during an 8 hour shift. The only time we miss our lunches is usually if we have a crazy amount of new admits or codes, or if we're out on transport. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled!!! :imbar
    60 minutes for an eight hour shift?! That is very generous of your empoloyers
    In the SICU I work in we are very supportive towards covering for each other for breaks (OK, I have to admit, it gets a bit old covering for those people who have to take smoking breaks every couple of hours!!!!! :angryfire ). We usually get 30 mins for breakfast and 30 for lunch/dinner, in our 12 hour shift. Sometimes though, we only have time for one of the above.
  12. by   camay1221_RN
    When I first started working on a med/surg floor, it was all I could do to stop and pee sometimes, so to actually get a meal in was sometimes impossible. However, I was also a new RN at that time, and I learned a great deal about prioritizing my pt care so I was at least able to sit down and have a yogurt or slimfast drink. When I started working in postpartum, it was so much easier to get my pt work done so I could take my full 30 minute break for dinner. It helped immensely that I didn't have 12 meds to give to one multiplied by four or five pts! Needless to say, there were times it got very busy, but rarely did any of us have to go without a break.
  13. by   Gompers
    Quote from IamRN
    60 minutes for an eight hour shift?! That is very generous of your empoloyers
    It's not a whole 60 minute PAID break, mind you. Normal 8 hour shifts are supposed to include one 1/2 hour unpaid lunch break plus two 15 minute paid "coffee" breaks, right? It's been this way at three hospitals I've worked at. The only difference is that on our night shifts, we simply combine the 3 breaks into one big one. Still legal!
    Last edit by Gompers on Jun 5, '04

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