Skipping Meals May ContributeTo Nurse Burnout - page 2

skipping meals may contribute to nurse burnout a new study indicates that nurses are regularly sacrificing their breaks and meal periods to provide patient care. the researchers found that nurses... Read More

  1. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from nrskarenrn
    skipping meals may contribute to nurse burnout

    a new study indicates that nurses are regularly sacrificing their breaks and meal periods to provide patient care. the researchers found that nurses took a break or ate a meal free of patient care responsibilities in less than half (47 percent) of the shifts they worked over a one-month period. during the remaining shifts, they either worked nonstop throughout the entire shift (10 percent of shifts) or were able to sit down for only a short period, while remaining responsible for patient care activities during their breaks or meals (43 percent of shifts).
    do ya think? skipping meals may lead to nurse burnout? how about not having the time to take a meal break, regardless of whether or not one skips the meal? we used to be able to eat at the desk, and i've taken many a "meal break" while charting and watching the monitors. now that we can't do that anymore . . . .
    [color=#4b0082]
    [color=#4b0082]i've lasted 27 years in nursing by making it a priority to take my breaks. if you plan your day with the intention of taking your break at 12:30 (or 2:00 or whatever time you can negotiate with your neighbors) you have a much better chance of actually getting a break. i work in icu, so there's always the unexpected trip to ct, early admit from or or unexpected crash that can get in the way -- but most of the time, i manage to get breaks. i've worked with many a nurse who insisted she/he was "too busy" to take a break -- and most of them are no longer in the icu or even in nursing. now that's my lunch break i'm talking about. i even manage to run downstairs to get coffee in the morning some days, or choclate in the afternoon. once again, i plan it into my day.
    [color=#4b0082]
    [color=#4b0082]there isn't much that's more important that you taking care of yourself. the transfusion can wait (unless the patient is actively bleeding out.) you can draw your labs or give you meds after you eat lunch, and the bath can wait until a quiet moment. road trips, codes and admissions take precedence, but most everything else can be negotiated.
    [color=#4b0082]
    [color=#4b0082]ruby
  2. by   Tweety
    In all my years of nursing I don't remember working a shift where I didn't eat. I've had some awful shifts, so maybe I did and don't remember.

    Taking time to eat is as much a priority as me do assessments, treatments and meds. I can't count how many times it's been an abbreviated lunch, or a lunch while doing paperwork, or interrupted while eating. But the point is I eat.
  3. by   txspadequeenRN
    I work on W/E and at no less than 18 hours/day. There is no way I can make it not eating. My job is flexible and I am not on the floor as the charge nurse all 18 hours. I am also a diabetic so I am useless if I dont eat right. I either call food to be delieverd or have designated people to go get it.I dont care if I have to eat while passing pills, but Im going to eat.
  4. by   boulergirl

    I know how crabby I get when I don't get off the floor and something in my stomach by the time I've been out there for several hours. I have the added problem of coming in at 11 AM, having to break everyone for lunches, and then I get admits and/or post-ops so I don't get to lunch before 3 or 4 in the afternoon when I'm supposed to pick up a whole new team of patients. :angryfire I do take that half-hour, but it tends to put me behind schedule so I really have to hit it when I come back. Breaks? I'm lucky to sit down and snarf a handful of peanuts or gulp down some water while I chart........that's a break. In the meantime, my co-workers who smoke are coming to me every hour or two and going "Couldya watch my team for ten minutes?" even though I am no longer in the PRN role by that time and have patients of my own to attend to.

    I know, I need to be more assertive about taking my breaks.......even my manager has told me so, and I know she's right. I can't expect my co-workers to respect my needs if I don't tell them what they are. But I get so irritated sometimes.......I think they think because I'm the 8-hour person, I don't NEED breaks, and that's wrong. I don't begrudge them the extra break they receive because they're 12-hour employees; I just want them to acknowledge the fact that I'm entitled to a couple of 'em too. And I know it's up to me to make that happen. :stone
    So what if they're twelve-hour employees?? I'm a 12-hour employee, but I expect my 8-hour co-worker to take her breaks, too, just so she can function. If your smoking co-workers get to take their 10-minute smoke breaks, you deserve to take a couple of coffee breaks and give your feet a rest. If they don't like it, TOUGH!
  5. by   UM Review RN
    A long time ago I worked 12-hour shifts. If I missed my break at noon that was the end of it. Evening shift people would go for their break at 1730, and tell me that since I hadn't taken my break earlier, that was my tough luck, and I had to work till the end of my shift without even a 15-minute sit-down. :angryfire
  6. by   boulergirl

    A long time ago I worked 12-hour shifts. If I missed my break at noon that was the end of it.
    I learned this the hard way, and I was on an EIGHT-hour shift at the time.
    In my case the problem wasn't lack of time for a break, it was forgetting to bring food with me to work. I had not eaten all day, and then worked all night without eating, either, except for a packet of peanut-butter crackers I found. The next morning, I had a "sinking" feeling, and got shaky. Although my work wasn't finished by the end of shift, my co-workers sent me home because I couldn't even think straight or function anymore, and started getting emotional. It's possible this was a hypoglycemic episode. Now I make SURE I have a decent meal before work, and something to eat mid-shift (to help me keep going).
  7. by   z's playa
    I'm going to take a lesson from the seagulls I see around in parks. Those nosedives into the unsuspecting carton of fries seems awwwwwwfully effective my friends. Stash some food in a corner here and there.....10 or 12 of those bird dives per shift and you got yourself a hefty snack ! :chuckle

    Z
  8. by   Victoriakem
    I have given lots of breaks for smokers who always seem to be able to leave the floor to smoke no matter what is going on with their patients. One solution that seems to work is for the non-smokers to say to the returning smokers from that break is to have them watch YOUR patients while you leave the floor for 10 minutes. Keep track of when & how long the smokers leave the floor & then take a similar break & see how they like it. :angryfire Is the manager aware of how many breaks the smokers take? I know this is a problem in other work places, not just health care. Many places do not hire smokers because they are not as productive as non-smokers.
    Quote from mjlrn97
    Can anyone say "DUH"?!


    I know how crabby I get when I don't get off the floor and something in my stomach by the time I've been out there for several hours. I have the added problem of coming in at 11 AM, having to break everyone for lunches, and then I get admits and/or post-ops so I don't get to lunch before 3 or 4 in the afternoon when I'm supposed to pick up a whole new team of patients. :angryfire I do take that half-hour, but it tends to put me behind schedule so I really have to hit it when I come back. Breaks? I'm lucky to sit down and snarf a handful of peanuts or gulp down some water while I chart........that's a break. In the meantime, my co-workers who smoke are coming to me every hour or two and going "Couldya watch my team for ten minutes?" even though I am no longer in the PRN role by that time and have patients of my own to attend to.

    I know, I need to be more assertive about taking my breaks.......even my manager has told me so, and I know she's right. I can't expect my co-workers to respect my needs if I don't tell them what they are. But I get so irritated sometimes.......I think they think because I'm the 8-hour person, I don't NEED breaks, and that's wrong. I don't begrudge them the extra break they receive because they're 12-hour employees; I just want them to acknowledge the fact that I'm entitled to a couple of 'em too. And I know it's up to me to make that happen. :stone
  9. by   Tweety
    Quote from z's playa
    I'm going to take a lesson from the seagulls I see around in parks. Those nosedives into the unsuspecting carton of fries seems awwwwwwfully effective my friends. Stash some food in a corner here and there.....10 or 12 of those bird dives per shift and you got yourself a hefty snack ! :chuckle

    Z

    Sometimes it's like that for me, especially if I get interrupted. I come back to the meal, shove a few bites down on my way to do something and come back and do it again, until I can actually sit again.

    I'd hate this to become a smokers vs. nonsmokers thread. The smokers make it a priority to smoke (and frankly I'd rather not work with a smoker who skips his/her smoke, they are bears), just the same and the nonsmoker should make it a priority to take breaks. If they can do it, you can do.

    Tweety (high and mighty non-smoker here)
  10. by   UM Review RN
    (high and mighty non-smoker here)

    Well, in this job, I've told all my smoking coworkers that I have an addiction, too--to cafeteria food.
  11. by   Nursesaremyheros
    Wow! I'm glad I saw this, I will def. check out that link!
    I'm currently investigating another area that may contribute to burnout - emotion. I am a graduate student at Illinois State University. I came across this site while I was searching for information for my thesis which is about nursing and emotion.

    I finally have IRB and committee approval for my thesis. I'm finishing up the online version and I need some way for nurses to put the areas they have worked in. Since there are so many possibilities I am thinking something like four basic catagories with:
    a checkbox an example of some areas included yrs

    Well my committee (none of which are nurses!) this that these four catagories would work:
    Hospital: Critical Care
    Hospital: Non critical care
    Non-Hospital: Critical Care
    Non-Hospital: Non critical care.

    Sadly I do not know if these catagories are exhaustive enough, or what "examples" to list after the catagories (e.g. Hospital: Critical Care, i.e. Oncology, ER...)??

    Would nurses just know ?

    Whatever insight you can offer would be greatly greatly appreciated!!!

    Oh! One more question!
    I'm looking at a number of ways to distribute my survey:
    1) post a message with a link on here
    2) post messages on other sites such as this (are there other sites??)
    3) Is there some way ANA or state sanctioned nursing associations could send out a link? That is, do you have email listserv's etc. that might be willing to send out my link?
    4) Any other electronic method you can think of
    5) PAPER, talk to hospital supervisors and see if I can distribute paper surveys to nurses mail boxes (or leave in lounges?) with either postage paid envelopes or a collection box?

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    Thank you!
    Bless you!
    Kate

    PS - I only wear suits and heels to teach - sometimes. But rarely ever to conduct research!!
    PPS - you can also reach me at magsamenk@yahoo.com
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    I didn't mean to point the fickle finger of fate at smokers........I'm an ex-smoker myself, I know just how it feels to have a 'nicotine fit' and I'm sure I wasn't very nice when I was in the middle of one. :stone It's just that where I work, the few smokers on our floor take A LOT of breaks, which means the rest of us often don't get our fair share, which is all I'm asking for. And yes, we HAVE brought it up to management---I myself just said something last week---but nothing real ever gets done about it. They just turf it back to us and tell us WE need to tell the offenders that we can't watch their team while they 'sneak downstairs' for 10 minutes, and that we need to be assertive about taking OUR breaks.

    Which, in a way, is true......we nurses tend to be awful about taking care of our own needs, we don't want to alienate our co-workers, we make sure other peoples' needs are met before we tend to our own, yada, yada, yada. No one can take care of us but US. Still, it would be nice to have a little backup from TPTB.
  13. by   Nursecathy123ca
    Another reason I enjoyed taking a bathroom break--I finally got to sit down for a minute!

close