Who's #1 your patient or you? - page 4

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   Tweety
    Agree that self-nurturing, including breaks, is important. On busy hectic days at the very least I take a break to eat. In all my years of nursing I've never skipped a meal. Sometimes I choose to make it short, or eat on the run, but always eat and go to the bathroom.
  2. by   raven31
    only when you give 110% to yourself can yiu give 100% to you pt. i come first, not just at work but also in personal relationships
  3. by   SCRN1
    I work nights and we don't get a 30 minute break. I work straight through from the time I get there until the time I leave.
  4. by   sharann
    Quote from SCRN1
    I work nights and we don't get a 30 minute break. I work straight through from the time I get there until the time I leave.
    You don't GET one or you don't TAKE one? I think the labor board would like to hear about the 1st scenario.
  5. by   SCRN1
    Don't GET one. All other shifts are to come in 15 mins early and leave 15 mins after their shift so they will get their 30 min break for meals and 30 mins is taken out per shift in their pay. My shift is to come in at 11 p.m. and supposed to clock out at 7 a.m. and there is no 30 mins. deducted for a mealtime. I was told this also when hired. I think we are supposed to get a 15 minute break, but that's a joke. I'm fine with the meal thing & that's why I haven't complained. I'd rather come in & leave (if my relief person is there & I'm caught up) than to worry with those extra 15 minutes before and after each shift.
    Quote from sharann
    You don't GET one or you don't TAKE one? I think the labor board would like to hear about the 1st scenario.
  6. by   nursejenner
    Quote from TeenyBabyRN


    YES YES YES
    Someone else understands this!!

    Excellent post Agnus
    All I can say is right on!! I think there are so many times that we get into a "supernurse" mode, and don't take the time to physically stop. I too work with nurses who consistently run, and state they just don't have time, but if you keep an eye on them, they sure have a lot of time to sit at the nurses station with their buddies and gossip about the next shift....hmmmmm....so maybe they still get there break, just like to be the poor little martyrs.

    I personally after being a registered nurse for 8 years make sure that my patients are very well taken care, and so am I. I organize my time and priorities and take a lunch and a 15 minute break to regroup, and clear my head to ensure that I am functioning for several reasons
    1. patient safety/care
    2. my license depends on it
    3. I physically need it
  7. by   BittyBabyGrower
    For the poster that says that she doesn't get lunch...if you are there for over 4 hours, labor law states that you get 30 minutes of unpaid break. For each 4 hours you get a 15 minute paid break. You need to address this little issue.


    There have been a handful of times that I haven't been able to get out to eat or break, but on our unit we are all very good about making sure we get out. Our charge nurse doesn't have an assignment, so if you have a really bad kid, she can come and relieve you. I will also leave the area, even for 15 mintues just to be away. I take my book and go read and decompress for a bit. You have to take care of yourself to be able to function right! One thing that we have been able to change is that we are allowed to bring something to drink to the bedside as long as it has a lid on it. That helps alot!
  8. by   SCRN1
    Quote from BittyBabyGrower
    For the poster that says that she doesn't get lunch...if you are there for over 4 hours, labor law states that you get 30 minutes of unpaid break. For each 4 hours you get a 15 minute paid break. You need to address this little issue.
    I was the poster & always thought that was the case. I did ask some of the people I work with after I first started there. They seemed to think that there's some loophole in that law, otherwise the hospital wouldn't be able to get by with it. I haven't ever brought it up to my NM because it hasn't really bothered me since I can eat (if hungry) while charting or something and I didn't want to come in complaining since it's been that way forever & no one else complained. There are times I'd love to leave the floor to get away for a minute. But, for the most part, I'd rather get all my work done on time and hopefully leave on time...depending on the person showing up in time to relieve me.
  9. by   BittyBabyGrower
    There aren't any loopholes that I know of. My DH is a manager and so I have been well versed in rights and wrongs LOL. Years ago, our day shift would come in 15 minutes early so that they could have a 45 minutes lunch....well, someone complained and labor relations put an end to that. If we work 4.5 hours IE 3p-730p we are automatically deducted .5 hours because of the labor law stating that anything over 4 hours you are to have .5 hours of unpaid break. So, even if we are working 4 hours we take a break or sign out no lunch/break.

    It sounds a bit fishy to me what they are telling you. They are getting a nice solid 8 hours out of you and expecting you to just work straight thru. Just because they have been doing it forever, doesn't make it right.
  10. by   SCRN1
    Yeah, like I said, I'm sure they aren't right in this, but I haven't "rocked the boat" myself because I'm ok with not having to work the extra 30 minutes & have it deducted from my pay. I come in at 11 p.m. (well, actually I do usually come in a few minutes so I won't be late) and leave at 7 a.m. if I'm able. The other 2 shifts come in 15 minutes before the hour and stay until 15 minutes after and 30 minutes is automatically deducted. If I go in at 7 p.m. and work a 12-hr shift, 30 minutes is deducted. The cafeteria is closed during our night shift. At another hospital close by where I used to work, the cafeteria was open for several hours during the night shift and we had to do the extra 30 minutes (and 30 minutes deducted from pay).
  11. by   joseph08012
    missing your breaks or not eating lunch does not put your patient first. in the long run it will actually hurt the patient because you are not operating at your maximum ablility.
    the number one reason i hear for missing a break or not taking a lunch is short staffing and the floor nurse feels obligated to stay. i never see a nurse manager on the floor helping out during a staff shortage or a lunch period but i always see them taking their lunch break and going home on time. yes, they have their jobs to do and the floor nurses have their job to do but eveyones job is the patient.
    remember, if you can't take care of yourself you won't be able to take care of the patient.
  12. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from BittyBabyGrower
    There aren't any loopholes that I know of. My DH is a manager and so I have been well versed in rights and wrongs LOL. Years ago, our day shift would come in 15 minutes early so that they could have a 45 minutes lunch....well, someone complained and labor relations put an end to that. If we work 4.5 hours IE 3p-730p we are automatically deducted .5 hours because of the labor law stating that anything over 4 hours you are to have .5 hours of unpaid break. So, even if we are working 4 hours we take a break or sign out no lunch/break.

    It sounds a bit fishy to me what they are telling you. They are getting a nice solid 8 hours out of you and expecting you to just work straight thru. Just because they have been doing it forever, doesn't make it right.
    If you work in Colorado, their state law specifically indicates that nurses and other medical professionals are excluded by the law (as are teachers). I imagine they still give meal breaks, so as to not look bad, but their own state law does not require them to. BOO on Colorado!

    Here is the link to the Department of Labor listing state laws. Other states have exemptions for professionals (which are not listed), so this gives them a little breathing room to cheat too.

    http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/meal.htm
  13. by   Stitchie
    Quote from 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.
    Add my opinion to this one. I am not a self-sacrificing 'angel'; I am a human being with needs just as anyone else is. I do not let my 'personal problems' get to me -- I have just as much baggage/problems/family issues as anyone else out there. I have noticed that all the docs take their breaks/get food/go potty (in the ER). Why shouldn't nurses do the same? We're the ones at the bedside, using assessment skills and noting changes in the patient's condition.

    It's a job, same as any other job. I work best when I'm not worrying that I have to pee so bad I can't concentrate on what the patient is saying (Is she allergic to PCN or ASA? Did she 'CRF' or 'CHF'?) Many times it's up to your judgement just how bad a patient is and how much of a hurry you must be in/how much of an emergency it really is.

    Of course, we must be reasonable about the room. If it's insane and experienced nurses are running like crazy and I have two patients, of course I'll help out, instead of taking my break. ER is all about the teamwork. But if I have to pee, sorry, I'm taking three minutes and the world won't stop if I do that.

    No use killing myself for the 'job'. I'd only end up a patient in my own ER -- and I know better!

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