Who's #1 your patient or you?

  1. 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.
    •  
  2. 57 Comments

  3. by   barefootlady
    Patient care is the reason we are there. I try to take a lunch break everyday, sometimes I don't get to do that. I will take a 15 minute mental health break, when possible, if things are hectic. I usually stay busy, that way I don't have time for the politics of the unit.
  4. by   Dayray
    The patient (within reason). Ill skip lunch and sometimes stay over but I do have limits.

    A few weeks ago I agreed to stay an hour over my 12 hour shift because they were short on staff. During that time my patient started pushing (L&D) so when it came time for me to leave I felt like I should stay until she was done. The charge nurse kept offering to relive me every 1/2 hour but she was so close and I hated to make her take a new nurse just before delivery. Anyway things got sort of complicated and I ended up there 5 hours past my shift. I'll never do that again I was so tired.
  5. by   shel_wny
    Welp, if I'm not there I can't very well provide my care.
    The patient is the center of it all but I exist for other reasons too.
    I'm learning how to properly transfer patients who are a 1-assist with a belt.
    We are taught to let the patient slide down our leg or hit the floor as gently as possible if they happen to fall mid-transit. It isn't worth trying to catch them entirely and injurying our backs.
    Both are important in the end.
    If you're asking what is more important - a lunch break or a patient in need...I think we all know that answer. Our compassion and sincere will to do good says the patient.

    Shel
  6. by   Agnus
    Quote from rscarlatti
    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.
    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.
    Last edit by Agnus on Jun 4, '04
  7. by   Truly_Blessed
    I will have to agree with this poster. I am only a student, but when I begin work as a nurse, I am going to try my hardest to get at least my lunch break in. I cannot function when I'm hungry. I get way too dizzy. If I take care of myself, I will be able to be the best nurse I can for my patient.
    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.
  8. by   BGSUstudent
    Pt. is #1 in my book. I leave my personal problems at the door and don't let them interfere with the care I provide. I don't take my break until I know that there is enough staff to provide safe care while I'm gone.
  9. by   Katnip
    I take my breaks. I can't give great care by going without food or drink for 12 hours. It's not healthy, and as said above, consistently missing breaks causes for a lot of stress and burnout.

    Of course in an emergency it's entirely different. But all emergencies end, and it's time to give yourself a break. I work with nurses who are always in a crisis it seems. They never have time for breaks and what not. It's a matter of them overdramatizing things than anything, because I've seen them and their load is never worse than anyone elses.
  10. by   Rapheal
    I didn't take my lunch breaks for over a year. Now I know better. Unless it is an emergency it is better to take your breaks and your lunch. I found that my head is clearer that way. Why risk creating med errors because you are overworked. Not fair to you or the patient.
  11. by   TeenyBabyRN
    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.


    YES YES YES
    Someone else understands this!!

    Excellent post Agnus
  12. by   barefootlady
    Somehow the point was missed that most of us do take our lunch and breaks, but there are times when we just don't feel it is safely staffed to do this. I have requested special help when my patient's are particularily fragile only to be told "I will if I can." That was always said by my least favorite charge nurse. I usually do the buddy system for lunch and breaks, I give a short update on what is going on with my group and when it is time for my buddy to go I listen to her update and answer her bells. I find this is efficient and helpful to both of us. I guess the old idea of teamwork is dying .
  13. by   IamRN
    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! of course, if there is no one to watch my patients i will wait until there is. trust you me, i am no good to anybody if i haven't had anything to eat!
  14. by   laurakoko
    wow Agnus! wrapped it up for me too! Since I am a new mommy of two, 21 months and 5 months, I feel the same! How good is the mommy if she gets no rest and spends all of her time doing chores, entertaining the children, without time to herself? A stressed out mommy, who will eventually take her tired-worn out self on her kids. Same for nurses and the patients. In order to trully care for patients, you must take time to eat, pee, and talk to coworkers. If you don't, it will reflect on your patient care!!!!!!

close