Clock OUT and IN for lunch in a NICU???

  1. 0
    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.

    Any thoughts?

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  3. 17 Comments...

  4. 0
    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????
  5. 2
    They are doing this at my facility also. The Labor Laws state that you are to get 30 min "away from your work area." So the hospital is just trying to inforce that. Which I get. But don't worry, one 20 million dollar lawsuit over lunch breaks and they will find a better solution to this. I hear that in Cali they have a nurse come in just to do lunch relief. I want to ask my CNO if a "reasonable and prudent nurse" would leave 9 sick babies with 1 nurse and leave the unit..... makes you wonder.
    Chico David RN and dcampbell like this.
  6. 1
    The hospital needs to provide a competent nurse to relieve you for a break.
    Otherwise those babies cannot get the care they need.
    Perhaps if ALL of you put the facts in writing and sign a letter.
    Go up the chain of command with that letter and copy it to HR.
    Chico David RN likes this.
  7. 0
    After we work for six hours, we automatically have a half hour deducted from our pay. They skip the clocking in and out by just doing it for convenient. I'm lucky to sit down for ten minutes to eat dinner, let alone actually leave the floor for half an hour.
  8. 0
    You must be at an HCA Ours just started that too, and it is ridiculous. I work nights, so we have to be extra careful, because if you take your mandatory lunch less than 4 hours after you start working, you lose your shift differential. It's not like they provide someone to cover you. When your lunch buddy goes on break, you then have 8 patients in a busy ER. I keep thinking it will fade with time.

  9. 6
    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
    sjt9721, HouTx, Chico David RN, and 3 others like this.
  10. 2
    I agree with mamamerlee: these rules are in place for workplace safety and to follow state regulations. Clocking in/out isn't the problem. The problem is that employees aren't taking breaks. If you genuinely feel understaffed and it would endanger patients to take the 30 minute break, you need to address this with your employer. A fatigued nurse does make mistakes. Or even if you don't feel fatigued, if a nurse in your unit does make a huge error and there's an inquiry, it will *appear* as if the nurse was fatigued and the nurse may be more culpable.

    Personally I think it's crazy an employer won't let a worker take 20-30 minutes away from their work during such a long shift. My nursing school tells me nurses are the #2 most likely to be injured on the job. It's no wonder when we push ourselves to our limits.

    Take the break! Have a good meal, rest, and return invigorated.
    herring_RN and mamamerlee like this.
  11. 7
    As has been said earlier in the thread , labor law states you are entitled to a 30 minute unpaid break , with NO responsibility for your patients ( no pager , no interuptions re. stuff to do with your patients), if your break does not mean you are relieved of patient responsibility , legally you have not had a break .

    As to clocking in and out , the employer is requiring this so that they can document your breaks , to forestall a possible law suit re . non payment for worked meal times .

    Chico David RN, NRSKarenRN, lindarn, and 4 others like this.
  12. 2
    Why don't you tell your CNO you would be glad to do this if she and the other VPs of Who-Whatsit can take care of NINE critically ill babies.

    See how fast THAT policy changes.....
    lindarn and DolceVita like this.

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