Unwritten Social Contract: Your Needs Come First! - page 3

by TheCommuter 8,466 Views | 33 Comments Senior Moderator

According the the unwritten social contract, "each individual in a society has an underlying obligation, to the best of his ability, and before all else, to take care of his own basic needs, both immediate and for the foreseeable... Read More


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    usually my shifts are too busy to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom
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    I work PRN now on an Acute Rehab Unit. I have never really looked at my paystubs closely until two weeks ago. I work two 12’s for the pay period and did not take a lunch. The hours on my paystub equated to exactly one hour less in pay. I brought it to my manager’s attention. The response was, “we take out a half hour break automatically for lunches.” To which I responded, “funny, I never clocked out for lunches those two days because I did not have the chance to a lunch break.” My manager said, “That’s your fault for not taking lunch.”

    So, three days ago I told my charge nurse that I was taking a lunch. She got mad and was verbally unprofessional. I grabbed my lunch and went into the break room. About ten minutes later, the unit manager came in and said, “The floor is too busy for you to take lunch, you need to get back on the floor.” To which I responded, “I’m sorry, but if you’re taking time out of my pay for lunch, I am taking lunch. Besides, it’s your fault for not appropriately staffing the floor today.” She left upset. Who knows, maybe I will not receive another call to come in or perhaps I will be told that my services are no longer needed.
    ChiTownRN5, afranklin, CherylRNBSN, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from ParkerBeanCurdRN,BSN
    I work PRN now on an Acute Rehab Unit. I have never really looked at my paystubs closely until two weeks ago. I work two 12’s for the pay period and did not take a lunch. The hours on my paystub equated to exactly one hour less in pay. I brought it to my manager’s attention. The response was, “we take out a half hour break automatically for lunches.” To which I responded, “funny, I never clocked out for lunches those two days because I did not have the chance to a lunch break.” My manager said, “That’s your fault for not taking lunch.”

    So, three days ago I told my charge nurse that I was taking a lunch. She got mad and was verbally unprofessional. I grabbed my lunch and went into the break room. About ten minutes later, the unit manager came in and said, “The floor is too busy for you to take lunch, you need to get back on the floor.” To which I responded, “I’m sorry, but if you’re taking time out of my pay for lunch, I am taking lunch. Besides, it’s your fault for not appropriately staffing the floor today.” She left upset. Who knows, maybe I will not receive another call to come in or perhaps I will be told that my services are no longer needed.
    I don't know how this will end, but good for you! I worked last night and the same happened to me, I was denied my break or lunch inspite of the deduction from my pay for a break (that's a gov regulation, BTW). They deduct it because it is the law, then they benefit by paying us less while still not giving the required break. It's illegal, but everyone does it. Even other nurses work peer pressure on you to not take your break because they don't take theirs. I am taking mine- even if I have to break it up into two 15 minutes or 3 ten minute breaks. I have to eat something or I'm going to crash. It's unsafe for the patient and me. Period.
    afranklin and CherylRNBSN like this.
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    Yikes, this whole thread peeved me.

    I am on orientation, and have not gotten a break for two weeks now.

    Took lunch at 2p (b/c that's when cafeteria closes).

    So I worked thirty minutes for free! Yay for employer!

    It was not b/c I didn't want my break; believe me, if I weren't on orientation, I would have taken them. But my preceptor looked at me and asked "Have you charted your am assessments?" Basically saying that I didn't deserve a break. Rather than argue with her about the need to be hydrated and nourished and refreshed in order to better render care, I turned on my heels and went right back to work, Seven hrs. without stopping.

    What a crap culture.

    So when it's my turn to orient a new nurse, I will make sure she gets her breaks, which she is being docked for.
    ceccia and afranklin like this.
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    Quote from CherylRNBSN
    Yikes, this whole thread peeved me.


    What a crap culture.

    So when it's my turn to orient a new nurse, I will make sure she gets her breaks, which she is being docked for.
    I agree! It's going to take the new and upcoming to change the way things are! Good for you!
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    Quote from ParkerBeanCurdRN,BSN
    I work PRN now on an Acute Rehab Unit. I have never really looked at my paystubs closely until two weeks ago. I work two 12’s for the pay period and did not take a lunch. The hours on my paystub equated to exactly one hour less in pay. I brought it to my manager’s attention. The response was, “we take out a half hour break automatically for lunches.” To which I responded, “funny, I never clocked out for lunches those two days because I did not have the chance to a lunch break.” My manager said, “That’s your fault for not taking lunch.”
    If you contact your state labor board, they will ensure you are paid for those missed breaks. Not only is that facility cheating you of your pay, they are cheating the Federal and state government of their taxes that would be taken out of that pay. --Facilities that do this can be fined...and should be.
    ceccia likes this.
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    Deep thread! I'm starting my 3rd week of work as a new grad nurse and I have had to tell my trainer, it's break time because she doesn't take them.

    I have a dear friend outside of work who encourages me not to skip my breaks, to not work for free because it sets you up for your boss to criticize you later on when you decide to take a break.

    The list of tasks is never ending as a nurse. Recently I ran into the conundrum of having the nurse I relieve leaving urgent items undone to add to my tasks. I don't stop moving all shift and I never leave stuff undone for my relief to do.

    Then my administrator told me I can't take any more overtime! She told me to leave stuff for the night shift.

    So there is an unspoken pressure on us as nurses to get it all done.
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    In my place of work, we punch out for meal breaks. If you don't (assuming you have a good reason that you couldn't take a break that night-all your patients were coding..at the same time), you get written up. I find it crazy that women I work with punch out on their breaks, then grab their meals and eat while they chart, or skip them all together. I love my job, don't get me wrong, but I'm entitled to take a break just as much as any employee in any other profession. I really wish health care workers would stop making themselves forever the martyrs..We all deal with so much stress in this field already, take the time to sit down and enjoy your 30 minutes of uninterrupted break time. Maybe if everyone did and everyone started having to stay overtime to finish, administration might have to adjust staffing ratios seeing as how we can't handle the workload in the allotted time (probably not, but a girl can dream).
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    Quote from CherylRNBSN
    What a crap culture.
    pretty much. the last place i worked for (SNF/LTC) did the same thing; when talking got me nowhere, i reported the facility to my state's labor board and filed a complaint. (prior to that, i e-mailed my immediate supervisor about the situation and included the DON as a recipient - included specific dates that i was docked 30 minutes of pay without a break, etc) - always good to have it in writing.

    idk if anything will ever happen as far as consequences for the facility, but i couldn't do nothing. (many of my family members are/were labor union organizers and workers' rights activists; i grew up hearing 'don't let people take advantage of you at work' like other kids grow up hearing 'just say no to drugs' ).

    the sad thing is, *everyone* complained about being docked for breaks they never got, but when i tried to encourage them to report as well, everyone just looked at me like i was nuts and were like "that's how this job is, get used to it".
    Last edit by ceccia on Jan 15
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    That's why I'm on break now...30 mins before I click out. Still gotta chart. But I'm tAking my breaks!!!!!!!


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