Management has just begun a requirement that all nurses clock in and out for our 30 minute lunch, and if we do not take lunch or take a short lunch we must fill out a discrepancy form.
I am working in an NICU, and in order for us to take lunches, we all must coordinate with our baymates to leave for our now MANDATORY unpaid lunch in the breakroom on the floor. This leaves TWO nurses for 9 critical babies....on vents and such.
I do not feel comfortable leaving other nurses who already have hands full with my THREE babies.
Management says this is so "all nurses get their much needed lunch".
We NEVER get breaks, we are supposed to get 2 15 minute breaks, over the course of our 12.5hour time in the unit.
There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to work environments. You are not simply entitled to your break, it is mandated by law. It is for YOUR protection, your health, your well-being. You are giving away your time when you do not take your break, working unpaid overtime.
As a group you need to develop a safe way to take your lunch breaks; include management in your discussions if need be. There needs to be adequate relief, and management is OBLIGATED to provide that relief.
As an aside, many, many years ago, when lots of nurses smoked, the smokers all managed to take all of their breaks, and then some. As a non-smoker, I finally got annoyed watching everyone else's call lights, etc. So one day, I found a newspaper, and went on a break to the nurses' lounge. The supervisor was told I was in the lounge, and she came to ask me what I was doing. I told her I was smoking. The 'extra' breaks suddenly disappeared.
I have worked enough different ICU's and acute dialysis, I know there are times when it seems nearly impossible to get away. But there are no awards for the fewest breaks taken, or the most lunches missed. Again, management is required to give you those breaks and lunches. And OSHA regs usually forbid eating near patient care areas.
Last edit by mamamerlee on Oct 7, '09
: Reason: needed to add a point
Quote from scaredofshots
I agree with you. I work in the ER. We are also told to clock out for 30 minutes. Some nurses just hand over their badge to one nurse who clocks everyone out and the secretary keeps up with the time so she can clock those nurses back in. We hardly ever sit down during our 12 hr shift. I have clocked out 3 times in the last month for a "lunch break" and then forgot to clock back in because I had to run back out to check in EMS! What are they thinking????
Take a look at Labor laws. No break, don't clock out, and don't ever let someone else clock out for you. You can be fired for that.
I'm a charge nurse, and I will always co-sign when someone missed a break.. I know how crazy we can get.
Last edit by Mimi2RN on Oct 18, '09
: Reason: spelling error