Just out of curiosity I am wondering how many nurses get an assigned lunch break and how many actually take it.
I work in a small community hospital, a ten bed ICU. It can be somewhat busy some days but then there are days when if lunch were assigned and my co-workers could organize themselves, we could all have a 30 minute break on our 12 hour days. Instead everyone decides at the last minute they are going to "run and get something" (our cafeteria closes at 1pm) they then bring it back to the station and eat while answering call lights, the phone, charting and letting visitors in.
When I am in charge I post a lunch break schedule for people to fill in the time they would like to go, based on what they feel may come their way during the shift. It is my attempt to get them organized. There are many days when others are in charge that no lunch break is even thought of till almost 12:30 or 1pm. I then ask if anyone has thought of lunch and I get a "roll of the eyes." People seem pretty content to eat on the run but I feel like an outcast because I need a few minutes to decompress during my shift. Another "no-no", is that if I am not assigned lunch and I have no opportunity to take 30 minutes, I put in for "no lunch", to get paid for it. In reality we should get three 15 min. breaks and a 30 min lunch. (We sign in 15min before our shift and out 15min after because we do not get a paid lunch break) Thoughts?
My first nursing job 10 months long, just switched, everyone on days and evenings got a 45 minute lunch break. They said it was their 30+15min combined. We have a telephone system connected to our call lights and we would give a quick description of what was going on with our patients hand our phone off and head to lunch. Now nights, you took what you could get. That was something that really surprised me about days and evenings how much the floor staff had perfected it so that everyone got time away and relaxation. They had everyone assigned lunch 1 or 2 in an order on the floor so that the one group could easily cover the next four or five patients down the hall. I think that really helped keep them refreshed and ready throughout the day.
Last edit by theVaway on Feb 1, '09
: Reason: spelling
Yes, I take my full 30 minutes every time, even though actual lunchtime varies day by day depending on what's going on. Our unit is well run when it comes to lunch breaks. I hand my pagers over to my lunch buddy for that day and get off the unit. If something urgent happens during the half-hour, my lunch buddy takes care of it just as I take care of things for him/her--no biggie. I don't mind to clean up my buddy's Pt., give a prn med, or hang a new IV bag while s/he's gone...it's just 30 minutes. In my jobs prior to nursing, we took an hour for lunch. Half an hour is a short break, the least each of us deserves. I am not working for 12+ hours without a lunch, and I sure as heck prioritize voiding my bladder when the time comes, because I must take care of numero uno.
I resent that nursing instructor's philosophy (mentioned in one of the above posts). Our instructors emphasized the need for a break. I refuse to be a martyr. No staying 4 hours late beyond a 12-hour shift when I have to be back the next morning (I'm sorry, I don't operate on 4 hours of sleep), no skipping lunch and bathroom breaks unless there's an emergency, no getting called in for extra shifts, no coming in to work sick as a dog, no pulling and lifting pts. by myself without help (and I am always glad to help out a CNA...NOONE should be breaking their back). I am nice, but firm about saying no and asking for help. We deserve respect, and we owe respect to ourselves.
Last edit by learning08 on Feb 1, '09