12N Sleeping During Break - page 8

: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   PATME
    It is illegal under the FLSA to control what an employee does on their unpaid leave. Napping is their prerogative. However, the supervisor can control when the break period is scheduled.
  2. by   Nurse Entrepreneur
    I worked for the Army in both an active duty and civilian role for over a decade and we rotated shifts. I would say that all of my night shift colleagues would support any staff member taking a power nap on their break time. You take care of the patients and one another. That's why we had such a cohesive unit. We were a team and almost like family. We made sure that everyone got a break.

    You know what happens when you work night shift? I do. I often had to be at mandatory training or testing for most of the day, have 2 or 3 hours to nap in the afternoon and then report for a 12 hour night shift (you do not get paid overtime when you are on active duty). Or, you've been home caring for a sick child all day and then have to work that night. If you call in, you are damned, and if you take a power nap, at the hospital in question any way, you are damned.

    This sounds like a witch hunt to me and it sounds like the nurse involved is someone you would want to keep around. I'd like to see the nursing administration at this hospital working the night shift, night after night and see if their attitude toward doing what you want on your break time changes when they are sleep deprived. How disappointing that anyone would want to write her up. Utter nonsense. What happened to nurses sticking up for nurses instead of knocking them down?

    As for what is going on in with the BON in NC, nurses are disciplined for sleeping on the job every month-now, what does that tell you? Does it mean they are lazy and irresponsible or are they are just exhausted!?
  3. by   Loisanderson
    I worked night shift at a hospital in Wisconsin and we were permitted to sleep during our 1/2 hour break as long as it wasn't at the nurses station. We had a break room with an alarm clock in it and we would set the alarm for 1/2 hour periods. If we did not take our 1/2 hour break plus 2 15 minute breaks during the night, we got paid for it.
    I work nights in a nursing home now and we get no breaks since we are paid for 8 hours and that includes breaks/lunch. We basically eat on the job and get no breaks.
  4. by   cicicross
    I currently work in an almost constantly understaffed unit (Womens- Postpartum, nursery, L&D) in a small hospital. We work 12 hour shifts but have to be at work 20 minutes early for report, 30 minutes are automatically deducted from our pay each shift for lunch and believe me...there is NO mention of those 15 minute paid breaks, EVER. If it is recognized as being busy by the charge, she can put in for everyone to receive a no lunch for the shift, but it doesn't happen as often as it should, if you got even 10 minutes to shovel something in your mouth while charting many consider that break enough. When we are super busy I have been there 2 hours past shift end finishing charting. That makes for a 15 hour day excluding travel, many of the times with NO breaks or lunches, heck I went a 13 hour shift once with barely anything to drink, and only got to pee once! If by any chance there is enough staff to cover you for a break, the managment considers that we are "overstaffed" and send people home on call, therefore we have not had time to eat even when we weren't busy, because we are stretched to the limit on staff.
    I don't have a problem with someone sleeping on an unpaid break, I have provided more than enough work hours "free" to make up for any small naps I might want to take if given the chance. I don't know my hospital's policy on sleeping during breaks, never asked because I am not usually that sleepy on nights and I know most of the girls I work with would help out if we needed a nap that desperately.
    Anyway, got a little off topic at first, but it sure sounds like some people work at some really good places if they make you take your breaks; I feel like a criminal sometimes just asking someone to come sit with my babies while I take a short break.
    :uhoh21:
  5. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from Loisanderson
    I worked night shift at a hospital in Wisconsin and we were permitted to sleep during our 1/2 hour break as long as it wasn't at the nurses station. We had a break room with an alarm clock in it and we would set the alarm for 1/2 hour periods. If we did not take our 1/2 hour break plus 2 15 minute breaks during the night, we got paid for it.
    I work nights in a nursing home now and we get no breaks since we are paid for 8 hours and that includes breaks/lunch. We basically eat on the job and get no breaks.
    If you are off the clock, IMO it's YOUR time. As long as it does not interfere with you getting back to work on time.
  6. by   DRTCBear
    I must be confused here. She was 'on break'. She told her staff where she was and what she was doing. There is nothing in your story to suggest that she was there longer than her break. If this was an intern or resident would you be contemplating punitive action? If she was playing a video game on her break would you be considering punitive action?

    It's not like she hid away in a closet somewhere and nobody knew where she was and she rolled in fifteen minutes after shift transition began.

    I think the environment you would be creating by taking punitive action is a far greater threat to staff and patient well-being than anything this nurse appears to have done. Personally, I wish I could do 30 minute catnaps. In fact, when I was in grad school in statistics the chairman of the department had a cot in his office for power naps. he was quite prolific and got everything done that he needed to get done. being 'awake' isn't all it is cracked up to be if it is barely sentient - and being aslessp isn't so bad if it makes the rest of the shift smoother...

    Also, has she asked to move to days? You offered no explanation for why yhy are you considering changing her schedule - leaving it unclear whether this is at all appropriate.

    bear
  7. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from DRTCBear
    I must be confused here. She was 'on break'. She told her staff where she was and what she was doing. There is nothing in your story to suggest that she was there longer than her break. If this was an intern or resident would you be contemplating punitive action? If she was playing a video game on her break would you be considering punitive action?

    It's not like she hid away in a closet somewhere and nobody knew where she was and she rolled in fifteen minutes after shift transition began.

    I think the environment you would be creating by taking punitive action is a far greater threat to staff and patient well-being than anything this nurse appears to have done. Personally, I wish I could do 30 minute catnaps. In fact, when I was in grad school in statistics the chairman of the department had a cot in his office for power naps. he was quite prolific and got everything done that he needed to get done. being 'awake' isn't all it is cracked up to be if it is barely sentient - and being aslessp isn't so bad if it makes the rest of the shift smoother...

    Also, has she asked to move to days? You offered no explanation for why yhy are you considering changing her schedule - leaving it unclear whether this is at all appropriate.

    bear
    I agree with you.
  8. by   cicicross
    Quote from Future_RN_Jess
    I agree with you.
    Yeah, she might not want to go to days and may consider it as much a punitive action as if she had been written up or formally disciplined.
  9. by   Lladra
    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 think we are dealing in absolutes too often these days, with the "NO TOLERANCE" policy in effect. It creates a "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING US" feeling, and a hostile work environment. But I can also see why the DON feels so strongly about an immediate discharge of this nurse, with the current state and federal policing, of survey infractions. It can mean lost revenue....and the DON's job!! I agree, the RN shouldn't be sleeping at all at 5 AM either, since there usually are alot of duties to perform before the end of shift. Without talking to her at the time, the ADON really doesn't know if she was asleep, or just had her eyes closed, resting...
    Normally, The nurse should be given the benefit of doubt, for a first infraction. And an accommodation to transfer to day shift, if she is regularly using her break time for her naps. (She should be adjusted to working nights after 2 months) :uhoh21:
    However, with the DON's input of "patient neglect", I would be inclined[B] to discharge her at once[/B ,as the DON may be aware of other issues, that could lead to actions taken against the facility...how many, and what kinds of other infractions of neglect or negligence, have led to the facility's "NO TOLERANCE" policy. It would be good to know this as well.
    If she is still in probationary status she could be laid off at any time. That's it, end of story.
    Its too bad that she has very good references from the day shift...Usually if there is neglect there is a trickle down effect to the following shift. If they have no complaints against her, then she must be managing to get all her work done efficiently so that she can take her break so close to the end of her shift. And her night shift staff also must be doing their work.
    Normally, one instance of this kind of infraction means a verbal reprimand, and also a memoranda in writing to her, and in her file, and a special plan of correction, by the supervisor to set guidelines for the RN to follow at night, without any naps at any time. Otherwise, the day shift looks good to me.
  10. by   midwife2b
    Quote from VickyRN
    "Sleeping on duty" and "Sleeping anytime on your shift" are synonymous here in NC. You can lose your license even if you are "on break." It is simply not permitted. Just about every facility in our area also has a written policy against nursing personnel sleeping (even on break time).

    Vicky, you are correct. Our HR Dept. has a well worded policy; the rationale is that you are "still on the clock". If you do not clock out for your breaks, you are considered "on the clock" and subject to disciplinary action, including being reported to the BON. If you work through your lunch, you get paid; there is not a lot of hassle.
    It takes me 20 minutes to get to the door so leaving the building is not an option. I don't necessarily agree with the policy.
    I encourage each of you to investigate what the policy is in your own workplace.
  11. by   sa48sh
    Check your State or the Federal Labor Laws. I think this nurse may have a case against the hospital. If you are not compensated for your lunch none of that time belongs to your employer.They can't tell you you must be available or anything else. You may do with it what you wish, go where you wish. If there's an expectation that you will be available for emergencies, then you must be paid for your lunch. We were paid for our 1/2 hr. lunch because we were not allowed to leave the facility. If we're not allowed to leave and do what we want then we're still essentially under the thumb of our employer.......Tell your nurse she should sue to be compensated for all the 1/2 hrs. breaks she has been there unallowed to leave and not been compensated for. That is the law in Florida. Read your state's carefully, but I do believe the Federal Labor Act states the same thing. If you have to work an 8 1/2 hr shift to get paid for 8, then that 1/2 hr is YOURS to do with as you wish. If you are not allowed to leave work, or do as you wish, or are expected to cover emergencies then the employer must pay you for your time...................Our place,after the lawsuit, changed our shifts from 6.45am 7am and 315pm to 3pm.Report of course is a hurried deal but then that was our facilities choice. They want total say so. We get a 1/2 hr for lunch but can't leave and must be available if needed.(btw, we can step out and smoke or put our heads on the picnic table as long as nothing is going on and we're available if needed) Combining 15 min breaks(which btw are not guaranteed by law) is up to the employer. We're not allowed to combine our break times. Sheesh! and then they wonder why there's a nursing shortage!!!!
  12. by   Canuck
    In our hospital night time breaks are always taken....and they are sleep breaks. Nurses on an 8 hour night take 1.5 hours, and nurses on a 12 hour shift take 2 hours...it has been that way for the last 20 years.
    Since we don't have break rooms or lounges, we use any nook or cranny we can find to crash... Clinics, offices, patient beds (when there is an empty room)... We have a buddy system and there is never any problem. If the unit gets too busy, we just simply wake the ones up that are on break and that's it...no questions asked. Your break time is your own time to spend it as you wish.... How are nurses supposed to get through the night without a nap? Do you think firemen and policemen stay away for their 12 hour shifts? Nooo way....It is absurd to even think about "grounds for dismissal" based on sleeping during a break.
  13. by   jsmeddog
    Maybe the person who found her should get written up for not checking the nurses condition instead of just walking off in a huff. What if something had happend to her?

    Quote from loquacity
    I don't agree with those that sleep during their paid breaks or take an hour long lunch to sleep...that is not what we are at work for. JMHO!!

    One shoudl eb allowed to do with their break what they want to do in theri break. & a power nap, even if in a paid break ecspecailly on 12 hour shift, a power nap can do wonders, in my experience (not nrusing) 12 hour shifts are tedious, adn in a job ecspecially nrusing where you ahve to reamin sharp and alert, a nap could do a lot, it sure does for me. People should eb allowed to do what they want during theri breaks. I agree that those smokers who pop out constatnly should be a bigger worry.
    I think you should recomend her to days, ecspecailly if the staff like her, (minus one exception) it would prob. be good for her and it would set and example of how good employees who work hard are an asset to the hospital and get rewarded.[/QUOTE]

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