Back on med/surg after 15 years - page 5

There are a lot of questions regarding older nurses getting back into the hospital so I thought I'd start a thread about my experience. I used to work on med/surg and also a tele unit many years... Read More

  1. by   unknownjulie
    You make some excellent points, but until there is a system in place to prevent retaliation on an individual basis, I will not be the one speaking up at my workplace. It is an imperfect system, but I believe it needs to change from the top down. One person raising their voice will just be thrown out and labeled as a "troublemaker", and won't accomplish anything aside from personal heartache.
  2. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from JKL33
    You're looking at this wrong. Their policy itself is already illegal. Actually it is exceedingly likely that they have no such policy - - who would write that down? "Employees are to punch out for 30 minutes while working in order to make the appearance of mandatory breaks" - ah...no.

    There are so many nursing issues and so many times that various ones of us have spoken up in our respective workplaces and said, "I'm sorry but you are not correct about that..." especially when it comes to matters regarding patients' safety and/or rights - - but then also ours.

    Nostalgia regarding some sort of bygone days where you were actually respected and so you might have chosen to have a sandwich at the nurse's station and not take a formal break - those are of no consequence now. We were told to punch out "no lunch" if we lifted a finger while on break when I was a new nurse. But then it became very obvious that no one was getting a break and also it became way too expensive to pay people for their work. The "work-around" of simply not paying people for working is 100% unacceptable, and acceding to it is quite the show of subservient martyrdom mentality.

    If that rationale doesn't suit your sensibilities, think about this: If they don't have a policy saying that you should work off the clock, and they do have a policy that says you are entitled to an unpaid break, what do you think they will say if you are involved in any kind of patient incident while "on break?" I will tell you: "She wasn't following policy when this happened. All employees are expected to follow policies at all times. No patient care is allowed while off-duty." Etc. And people will be reluctant to speak on your behalf, for the same exact reason you think you don't want to speak up.
    You are right.

    I don't do anything off of the clock.

    I take my 30-minute unpaid lunch break.

    In the event that it is just too busy to take a break, I fill out a form explaining why I was unable to take my meal break.

    Every facility I have worked at, has a form to complete for a missed meal break.

    The facility can also be reported to the State's Hourly Wage Board for forcing people to work off the clock.
  3. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from unknownjulie
    You make some excellent points, but until there is a system in place to prevent retaliation on an individual basis, I will not be the one speaking up at my workplace. It is an imperfect system, but I believe it needs to change from the top down. One person raising their voice will just be thrown out and labeled as a "troublemaker", and won't accomplish anything aside from personal heartache.
    If nurses refuse to speak up, the "top" has no incentive to change.

    My fingers are crossed for you, that nothing bad happens while you are working off the clock.
  4. by   unknownjulie
    Change wont occur until, I imagine, lawsuits from some high profile group of people that are damaged by the current system. Possibly med errors or bad surgical outcomes or something along these lines. Too many people have gone to nursing school and we are a dime a dozen now. BSN should have been the entry level standard long ago and it would have limited entry into the profession. Like PTs, OTs, MSWs etc. Grandfather in the diploma people and move forward. But none of this happened. So now it is impossible to enact any real change nationally until the entire system collapses.
  5. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from unknownjulie
    Change wont occur until, I imagine, lawsuits from some high profile group of people that are damaged by the current system. Possibly med errors or bad surgical outcomes or something along these lines. Too many people have gone to nursing school and we are a dime a dozen now. BSN should have been the entry level standard long ago and it would have limited entry into the profession. Like PTs, OTs, MSWs etc. Grandfather in the diploma people and move forward. But none of this happened. So now it is impossible to enact any real change nationally until the entire system collapses.
    I respectfully disagree.

    Nurses are not a dime a dozen.

    My facility is paying a 10k sign-on bonus for nurses. When I started this job in January, the sign-on bonus was $7500.

    Do you think my employer is paying that amount because nurses are a dime a dozen?

    You can probably file a complaint with your State's Hourly Wage Board anonymously.

    All it takes is the courage of one.

    This is a PRN job for you, not your full-time gig, right?
  6. by   JKL33
    Quote from Lil Nel
    In the event that it is just too busy to take a break, I fill out a form explaining why I was unable to take my meal break.
    If I fill those out, I never turn it into the inconvenience it is meant to be by writing a full accounting in attempt to "defend" myself. My answers are short and sweet and are always on the order of "No RN available to relieve me" or "No RN free to care for my patients."
  7. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from JKL33
    If I fill those out, I never turn it into the inconvenience it is meant to be by writing a full accounting in attempt to "defend" myself. My answers are short and sweet and are always on the order of "No RN available to relieve me" or "No RN free to care for my patients."
    Yes. That is what I do also. Short and to the point!

    My current facility never gives anybody a hard time about it.

    The psych facility I worked at, did balk.

    So that meant you took your lunch break, no matter what.
  8. by   unknownjulie
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm new at my job and will just do what everyone else does for now. It is better than some jobs I've had where I didn't even "pretend" to get a break. I am slowing getting things at work. I am taking 6 patients now and struggling along but haven't made any major errors yet. I like wearing scrubs again and I'm glad they no longer have to be white, or partly white. That white always started to look so dingy after a while. I make sure I eat a large vegan breakfast and then some kind of meat and nuts and veggies at lunch, and then I don't eat for the rest of the shift. This seems to be holding my energy up. I like to eat vegetarian but this schedule has really kicked my butt. I have also been able to keep up with drinking a lot of water through out the shifts and so far so good. I haven't gotten sick yet!

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