12N Sleeping During Break - page 5

:confused: I am a nurse manager in a HR dept. It has been reported to me that a nurse who was working 12N informed her CNAs that she was going to be in the facility break room for her 30 min lunch... Read More

  1. by   Ann_RN
    Ok, we are talking about taking a short nap during a break here - our own time. Nobody is suggesting that anyone abandoning patients or sleeping for hours. I better not get caught sleeping in North Carolina? Honey, based on your input, I wouldn't be caught dead in North Carolina.

    As a profession, we should certainly have grown enough by now to stop the pettiness. With the advent of 12 hour shifts, it is sub-human for anyone to suggest a person should be expected to be some kind of automaton without a home life where neighbor kids, postal workers, family members and others who interrupt the sleep we would like to be getting in off hours.

    Have they noticed in North Carolina or other places that people aren't exactly lining up in the streets for jobs in nursing? Wonder why?

    Twelve hour shifts stink in my opinion. The other thing that stinks is hypocrisy. If you have access to a private office, and nobody can see you sleeping, were you really sleeping? Personally, I say yes - but I know plenty who would vehemently deny that it is. That is the hypocrisy that promotes the pettiness that makes nursing a sub-profession. Until we overcome that and respect each other as human beings maybe we can get the respect we are looking for as a profession.

    It would be a step up not to threaten people with archaic laws from a state where they don't live. Get input to the state board, change things to bring nursing into the 21st century. Break time is your own time. Most of us are still women, and we need to stand together to stand up for ourselves.
    Last edit by Ann_RN on Sep 23, '05 : Reason: addition
  2. by   Daytonite
    What a very active thread this has been with a lot of responses! Having been a nurse manager and supervisor here is what I would do (and have done). Once an employee is in the building, all the employee rules apply. Sleeping on the job where there are patients being cared for is a safety issue. So, first of all, if the rules of the facility are "no sleeping on the job" that includes breaks. The reasoning is because the nurse (and that includes all categories of employees), even when in the break room, needs to be available for an emergency that might come up. It is very difficult to be aroused from sleep, jump up, and attend to a patient who is coding, having a seizure, respond to a fire alarm, or whatever. I know that when I am awakened suddenly from sleep, I start shaking and can't stop for awhile. How can I push an IV med, let alone draw it up while I'm shaking like that? Secondly, if you like the nurse and want to keep her, and the facility rules do not make sleeping on the job an automatic termination, put her into your disciplinary protocol. Have her written up for the sleeping by the person who observed it and then put her through your facility's disciplinary process. Reassure her that as long as the sleeping stops things will not go any further. However, if she's found sleeping again, the disciplinary process will proceed to the next phase.

    By doing this you're addressing the problem, allowing her to keep her job, and putting the onus on her to correct her behavior. I would let her come up with some solutions as to how to prevent this from happening again. Actually, something similar to that should already be a part of your disciplinary process. By having her come up with some of the corrections you assure a much better outcome to all of this. She may want to go to another shift, or I would recommend that she take her breaks earlier. Nightshift people are more likely to fall asleep after their 4am rounds and before the 6am activity starts. If she is unable to problem solve this herself (which may be possible since she hasn't done anything about it up to now) I would recommend that she plan some work activities around that time to help her overcome any sleepiness she has.

    Lastly, make sure this is addressed on her yearly evaluation.
  3. by   Ann_RN
    How can I push an IV med, let alone draw it up while I'm shaking like that?
    Please get a thorough neuro workup - I'm serious. Some people sleep deeply, some don't. You have a personal problem that you are projecting onto others. What about the resident you just called out of sleep? Residency seperates those who can wake up and function from those who can't.
  4. by   live4today
    Quote from Ann_RN
    Please get a thorough neuro workup - I'm serious. Some people sleep deeply, some don't. You have a personal problem that you are projecting onto others. What about the resident you just called out of sleep? Residency seperates those who can wake up and function from those who can't.
    I completely concur!
  5. by   live4today
    Quote from Daytonite
    What a very active thread this has been with a lot of responses! Having been a nurse manager and supervisor here is what I would do (and have done). Once an employee is in the building, all the employee rules apply. Sleeping on the job where there are patients being cared for is a safety issue. So, first of all, if the rules of the facility are "no sleeping on the job" that includes breaks. The reasoning is because the nurse (and that includes all categories of employees), even when in the break room, needs to be available for an emergency that might come up. It is very difficult to be aroused from sleep, jump up, and attend to a patient who is coding, having a seizure, respond to a fire alarm, or whatever. I know that when I am awakened suddenly from sleep, I start shaking and can't stop for awhile. How can I push an IV med, let alone draw it up while I'm shaking like that? Secondly, if you like the nurse and want to keep her, and the facility rules do not make sleeping on the job an automatic termination, put her into your disciplinary protocol. Have her written up for the sleeping by the person who observed it and then put her through your facility's disciplinary process. Reassure her that as long as the sleeping stops things will not go any further. However, if she's found sleeping again, the disciplinary process will proceed to the next phase.

    By doing this you're addressing the problem, allowing her to keep her job, and putting the onus on her to correct her behavior. I would let her come up with some solutions as to how to prevent this from happening again. Actually, something similar to that should already be a part of your disciplinary process. By having her come up with some of the corrections you assure a much better outcome to all of this. She may want to go to another shift, or I would recommend that she take her breaks earlier. Nightshift people are more likely to fall asleep after their 4am rounds and before the 6am activity starts. If she is unable to problem solve this herself (which may be possible since she hasn't done anything about it up to now) I would recommend that she plan some work activities around that time to help her overcome any sleepiness she has.

    Lastly, make sure this is addressed on her yearly evaluation.
  6. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from Daytonite
    Once an employee is in the building, all the employee rules apply. Sleeping on the job where there are patients being cared for is a safety issue. So, first of all, if the rules of the facility are "no sleeping on the job" that includes breaks.
    The point is that staying in the buidling is a courtesy. This being the case, my point would be FINE! I'll take a nap in my car during my break and won't be available, regardless.

    It is, after all, an UNPAID break - I can take it anywhere - taking it in the breakroom was simply a courtesy.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  7. by   justmanda
    Quote from MEDRQST
    I am a nurse manager in a HR dept. It has been reported to me that a nurse who was working 12N informed her CNAs that she was going to be in the facility break room for her 30 min lunch if they needed her. The ADON of the facility came in at 5AM (early for 12D shift) and saw the nurse with her head down on the break room table. Instead of approaching her she went to the nurse's station and in 10 min the nurse returned from the break room. Is this an acceptable practice since we deduct 30min for lunch or is this grounds for disciplinary action? The ADON was upset stating that she did not know how long she had been in there that night and then the DON started questioning "how long has she been sleeping on the job" - meaning the two months she has been employed. The DON has made statements that patients were neglected and that she should be discharged and reported to the nursing board. The nurse has told me that she saves her break until the later part of her shift so that she can get a burst of energy for the end of her shift job duties and the long drive home. The nurse feels that her break time is her personal time and she was still accessible to the staff and patients if the need arose ie instead of going to her car. The nurse had excellent references and has received numerous compliments from our day time staff. I feel I should recommend assigning her to straight day sfts to not lose a good employee but feel that others would want her to be discharged to set the example of no tolerance, but with her rebuttal of personal time I feel unsure of how to proceed. They have mentioned that it was an isolated incident that was poor professional judgement on her part, but to me it seems that she had thought out her actions and did not feel she was doing anything wrong so I wanted fellow night nurse's opinion of this or similar incidences. Thanks so much.
    I really dislike this nurse manager...and I have never met her. From what you describe, she is a horrible human being. She is actually going to report this person to the nursing board? Gimme a break. Most nurses don't even get time for a break...yet we are still deducted AUTOMATICALLY the thirty minute lunch. The powers-that-be seem to be okay with this though -- they have no problem letting us work for free. It makes me sick. If I want to lay my weary head on a table for a few minutes...ON MY DIME, it's nobody's business but my own. This manager really needs to ask herself what kind of person wants to ruin someone's career simply because they made the most of their measly 30 minute break (and that is probably a twelve hour shift which usually ends up being more like 13 or 14 hours with barely a moment to pee). This is why there is a nursing shortage.
  8. by   FroggysMom
    Quote from MEDRQST
    I am a nurse manager in a HR dept. It has been reported to me that a nurse who was working 12N informed her CNAs that she was going to be in the facility break room for her 30 min lunch if they needed her. The ADON of the facility came in at 5AM (early for 12D shift) and saw the nurse with her head down on the break room table. Instead of approaching her she went to the nurse's station and in 10 min the nurse returned from the break room. Is this an acceptable practice since we deduct 30min for lunch or is this grounds for disciplinary action? The ADON was upset stating that she did not know how long she had been in there that night and then the DON started questioning "how long has she been sleeping on the job" - meaning the two months she has been employed. The DON has made statements that patients were neglected and that she should be discharged and reported to the nursing board. The nurse has told me that she saves her break until the later part of her shift so that she can get a burst of energy for the end of her shift job duties and the long drive home. The nurse feels that her break time is her personal time and she was still accessible to the staff and patients if the need arose ie instead of going to her car. The nurse had excellent references and has received numerous compliments from our day time staff. I feel I should recommend assigning her to straight day sfts to not lose a good employee but feel that others would want her to be discharged to set the example of no tolerance, but with her rebuttal of personal time I feel unsure of how to proceed. They have mentioned that it was an isolated incident that was poor professional judgement on her part, but to me it seems that she had thought out her actions and did not feel she was doing anything wrong so I wanted fellow night nurse's opinion of this or similar incidences. Thanks so much.


    She was in the facility-she had not left the premises. She was reachable by the staff. She is entitled to this time by law. You don't indicate there was any evidence with regard to the actual amount of time she took off The DON did not show any understanding of the law and made comments that she could be indeed sued for should what she accused this nurse of be untrue. This is especially true if she did not actually witness any wrongdoing, but only surmised it ALOUD which only makes the situation worse for the facility. She has set up herself and the facility for a huge lawsuit.

    Who is the irresponsible employee here?
  9. by   justmanda
    Quote from finchertwins
    It is hard to say what to do here. I would have to review your facilities policy as far as sleeping or naping goes. I would also have to review your BON policies and see if this is pt abandonment. Even with all of that I would just make a general policy on your floor that sleeping is a taboo and deal with it from this point on. There is no need to make an example of a good nurse unless you have to. It was a break and it was off the clock so I don't think abandonment would be an issue. Her fellow workers knew where she was and how to get a hold of her in case of an emergency. In my hospital it is forbidden and it is considered abandonment by the BON. At my facility I never get the chance to take a 15 or 30 minute breather and we have a no smoking policy for the entire campus so even the smokers don't get off the floor. Oh and by the way I work 12 hour shifts from 7p-7a.
    You work 12 hour shifts without a break? ***** What kind of sweat shop do you work in? I'd be trotting off to the labor board if I were you. I can't believe your managers can make these demands with a straight face.
  10. by   justmanda
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    Years ago, when I was a new-grad PN (am now an RN) I worked w/ an RN who took a nap in an empty pt bed on a rehab unit.

    She had been in a car accident a couple days prior. Her ribs were cracked and wrapped. Her LPN had not shown up, and she had to push the med and tx carts around, which was causing her ribs to ache.

    I was on the next hall. She informed me of where she would be and how long. She did not take a min longer than her assigned 30 mins break. There were no probs w/ her pts, and everythng was fine.

    The DON (a truly evil person in many ways) got wind of it, and turned this nurse in to the BON for "unprofessional conduct."

    I was not even licensed yet, and had to go the original nurse's lawyer's office and fill out an affidavit for her hearing w/ the BON.

    It did go against this nurses license. I feel it was totally unfair; a witch hunt, really.
    Unfortunately, the nursing profession is filled with those who want to play the big hero -- like they are somehow saving the patient population from an evil presence by catching someone doing whatever. I am lucky that I work in a place that has very few people like this, but I hear so many stories about nurses getting burned for minor things....like sleeping on break. It is beyond me why there is this need in them to ruin someone. Perhaps they don't actually want to ruin a person as much as they want to make themselves look on-the-ball...they just don't care about the consequences of this diabolical need. In my hospital, we call these types Nursey-Nurses. We detest them and ridicule them regularly.
  11. by   neurotraumaRN
    In my unit, you get a one hour unpaid break for lunch. You are allowed to leave the hospital to eat and if so, you clock out and then back in. If I stay in the breakroom, and decide to take a short nap, I could face disciplinary action for sleeping? Yet the ones that leave the hospital completely are not penalized? That doesn't make sense. To me, unpaid break=off the clock, employers shouldn't be able to dictate what you do. (And I'm in NC....maybe I'll email the board and ask!)
  12. by   justmanda
    Quote from Daytonite
    What a very active thread this has been with a lot of responses! Having been a nurse manager and supervisor here is what I would do (and have done). Once an employee is in the building, all the employee rules apply. Sleeping on the job where there are patients being cared for is a safety issue. So, first of all, if the rules of the facility are "no sleeping on the job" that includes breaks. The reasoning is because the nurse (and that includes all categories of employees), even when in the break room, needs to be available for an emergency that might come up. It is very difficult to be aroused from sleep, jump up, and attend to a patient who is coding, having a seizure, respond to a fire alarm, or whatever. I know that when I am awakened suddenly from sleep, I start shaking and can't stop for awhile. How can I push an IV med, let alone draw it up while I'm shaking like that? Secondly, if you like the nurse and want to keep her, and the facility rules do not make sleeping on the job an automatic termination, put her into your disciplinary protocol. Have her written up for the sleeping by the person who observed it and then put her through your facility's disciplinary process. Reassure her that as long as the sleeping stops things will not go any further. However, if she's found sleeping again, the disciplinary process will proceed to the next phase.

    By doing this you're addressing the problem, allowing her to keep her job, and putting the onus on her to correct her behavior. I would let her come up with some solutions as to how to prevent this from happening again. Actually, something similar to that should already be a part of your disciplinary process. By having her come up with some of the corrections you assure a much better outcome to all of this. She may want to go to another shift, or I would recommend that she take her breaks earlier. Nightshift people are more likely to fall asleep after their 4am rounds and before the 6am activity starts. If she is unable to problem solve this herself (which may be possible since she hasn't done anything about it up to now) I would recommend that she plan some work activities around that time to help her overcome any sleepiness she has.

    Lastly, make sure this is addressed on her yearly evaluation.
    If you expect the nurse on break to be AVAILABLE for emergencies, then she is in an ON CALL position and should be paid for this. She has someone covering her patients, so that person would respond to her emergency and other nurses would help (as is the case for any code situation). She is on break...any way you want to bend it, she is on HER TIME.
  13. by   talaxandra
    Sleeping on the job is a dismissable offence here, but I've always interpreted that to mean sleeping when we should be working, with nobody aware of where we are, or that we're asleep.

    In general, I sleep well during the day and am rarely sleepy overnight - and never when it's busy. However, there have been times where a short nap was the only thing ensuring my safe practice.

    We all know about the studies on shift work - shorter life expectancy, higher morbidity rates, and a significantly higher incidence of accidents - both occupational and vehicular. Drug errors are a reality even under ideal circumstances, but the rate of mistakes ncreases exponentially with a sleep-deprived orkforce.

    In response to Daytonite - this may not be the case for everyone, but the sleep I have at work, while refreshing enough to allow me to go on, is not deep. I've never woken up unaware of my surroundings. In fact, on the two occasions when there was an emergency situation, I was up and at the patient's bedside before the code was called over the PA.

    If the nurse in question told her colleagues where she was, if she took only the time allowed her, and if her break (regardless of activity taken) did not inconvenience her colleagues, then I really can't see how this is an issue at all.

    Thanks to the OP for consulting with us before making a recommendation

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