Lunch breaks - page 8

I am interested in knowing if any facilities allow a person to leave the facility for their lunch break. In my facility it is sort of an unwritten rule that you hang around at least in the building... Read More

  1. by   AndiMac
    I work in an itty bitty 11 resident facility, my lunches are usually spent eating with the residents, then running outside to hotbox a cigarette. Sometimes I do the same as the rest, spend my lunch with my tray at the nurses station charting and smearing my food across charts. I try to go out and smoke as often as I can. I figure if I can't take my full breaks, I'll split them up and take what I can. 2-3 minutes to smoke equals 5 cigarrets in 8 hours? Since there is only one nurse, I can't leave, atleast i feel that I can't. I don't know that it is written anywhere, but with it being asssisted living ... there is no nurse 3rd shift ... so where would it be different if I DID leave?

    Sometimes I wonder if they consider charting time as break time...
    Last edit by AndiMac on Dec 6, '03
  2. by   CCU NRS
    Originally posted by moonshadeau
    I am interested in knowing if any facilities allow a person to leave the facility for their lunch break. In my facility it is sort of an unwritten rule that you hang around at least in the building where you can be reachable by phone. (The phone system doesn't work in all parts of the building either). Particularly interested in cardiac units who tend to be a bit more critical with fewer staff.

    My personal belief, I would love to leave the facility to have lunch somewhere else. (if you get a lunch) But I also believe and know that it adds extra stress to the nurse that now has twice as many patients to cover for?

    What do you think?
    I work in an area where there is another facility right across the street and many of my fellow nurses think they have a better cafateria than we do there is also a burger joint right across the street which a few of us sometimes go to and then there is always the ever popular delivery Chinese, Pizza, Deli sandwiches, etc
  3. by   Chrislynn2003
    My 30 minute lunch is included during my shift. I stay clocked in for 8.5 hours. Sometimes there is hardly enough time to go to the cafeteria to eat, yet alone leave the building.

    Christine
  4. by   mattsmom81
    If we must leave the premises we are SUPPOSED to badge out and have supervisor approval. There are people who abuse this privilege however.

    I try to get off the unit, walk stairs, etc. for my unpaid 1/2 hr. Some nights it doesn't work and we get zero breaks out of the unit. But if we were to leave, we would make it impossible for the rest of the staff and we would not only be way overtime, something adverse may happen to our patients. That is how most of us feel on night shift. We are not staffed well enough.

    But we really enjoy our occasional slow nights...that's payback for us.
  5. by   AndiMac
    in reply to myself, i just found a letter to staff from our don at work last night, that says we are not allowed to leave for any reason, other than emergencies. apparently it is an issue at my workplace and didn't know it ...
  6. by   HomeNurse4kids
    Just wondering.......does anyone know where we might find legal info on this topic per state?
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    Law:

    Minimum Length of Meal Period Required Under State Law For Adult Employees in Private Sector
    January 1, 2003
    http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/meal.htm


    Minimum Paid Rest Period Requirements Under State Law for Adult Employees in Private Sector - January 1, 2003
    http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/rest.htm



    Overtime Pay for Interrupted Lunch Breaks
    The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that employees whose meal breaks are frequently interrupted by work demands so that they are required to spend their meal times primarily for the employer's benefit are entitled to compensation. Beasley v. Hillcrest Medical Center, Case No.02-5121 (10th Cir. Oct. 19, 2003).
    The court held that the issue was not whether the meals were interrupted but, rather, the degree to which they were interrupted. In this case, employees were required to watch and respond to patient monitors during meals. Others had to answer call buttons or respond to phone calls, pagers, and emergencies.
    http://www.wfnhp.org/network/fall2003_2.html


    Q: Is my employer required to provide me with rest periods or lunch breaks?

    A: Vermont law requires that an employer provide "reasonable opportunities" to eat and use toilet facilities. However, neither Vermont nor Federal law specify a minimum break period nor identify what a "reasonable opportunity" is. Rest periods and lunch breaks are provided at the discretion of the employer or under the terms and conditions of a bargaining agreement, such as a union contract. There is also no restriction (except for child labor purposes) on the number of hours and days an employee may be made to work without a rest period. The employer may select the time or hour of the break(s.) Federal law does state that if an employer provides a lunch break, it must pay the employee unless the break is at least 30 minutes in duration (if the lunch break is 30 minutes or longer, employees do not have to be paid for that time)


    Just what nurses need to read....
    Void Where Prohibited Revisited: The Trickle-Down Effect of OSHA's At-Will Bathroom-Break Regulation analyzes all OSHA citations issued to employers for violating their obligation to let workers go to the bathroom and by interviewing OSHA officials, labor union officers, workers, and employers. The book includes detailed OSHA reports that document stories about workers who have been forced to void on themselves or been disciplined for using the toilet without permission.

    http://www.irra.uiuc.edu/Pubs/newsle...03/2003-11.htm
  8. by   Scififan


    I too am a smoker and I make sure I take my allocated breaks, cos I need that smoke PLUS I'm no damn good to my patients if I don't have a break. I get tired, stressed and am much more likely to make a mistake which puts my patients at risk. On my last ward I seemed to spend a lot of time trying to get my colleagues to take a break, and especially encouraging to get New Grads in the habit of taking their breaks, smokers or not!

    We have enough martyrs in this profession, I recently had an OSH (Occupational, Safety and Health attached to Labour Department) Nurse tell me that Florence Nightingale was dead and the myth should have died too. This was when I was off work for a month having injured my back by being a martyr, I had felt that because our area was so busy and we as usual were understaffed I had to keep going. If we work ourselves to death or at least ill health who the heck are we good for, certainly not our patients, or our families and most especially we are no good to ourselves. We deserve better and should insist on it!!!
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I can't leave the facility for lunch as I am an RN, and RNs can't leave. I am a smoker, unfortunately.

    I live in a right-to-work state. There are no nursing unions here. Our state law says we must get one 20 min break in an 8-12 hour work day. That's it.

    Ironically, it's the NON-smokers who take atvantage where I work. The LPN and techs are allowed to leave. They go out for food, and then come back and eat for 30 mins. Mgmt knows about this but hasn't done anything.

    I work 12 hr shifts, and am allowed (by company policy) two 30 min breaks a shift, and that's what I take. When it's really busy, I will take only two 15s. When I don't get my breaks, I get paid for missing them.

    There are times when I've had to go 8-9 hours no break, no smoke, no hydration, no voiding- I do get really fatigued by this.

    As nurses, I'm sure we've all worked so long and hard at times that our lips dry up at the corners, and you get all itchy from sweating and running around continually- I know I have.

    I prefer to split my breaks up- to take four 15 min breaks instead of two half hr breaks but was told this was not allowed.

    Back when I was an LPN, I worked w/ an RN whose knick-name was "The Nurse of the Seven Deadly Sins". You know- greed, sloth, pride, gluttony, etc.

    She used to brag "I never take a break."

    That lazy butt sat in the conferance room eating all day long- her whole day was a break. No, she did not smoke. She ate, talked on the phone, yakked, etc all day.

    Some smokers take advantage, but some non-smokers do , too.



    BTW- I keep a bottle of maximum strength Febreze in my locker. I spray myself down w/ it whenever I've had a smoke. Plus, I use super-powerful breath mints and good handwashing. People are surprised when they see me smoke. Non-smokers tell me they have never smelled it on me. I wish I was not a smoker, but for now, I am. At least I try and not smell like one.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Dec 24, '03
  10. by   Nurse Soc Mom
    What does your facility policy state? Dependent upon the staffing, your patients acuity, and if there is an RN on duty you should be able to leave for lunch if you clock out as long as you make sure your patients are being cared for. Your DON should be able to work this with the staff.

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