Breaks?

  1. My manager said something to me last night and I want to see what you all think of it. I had 5 pts, one who spoke only Spanish (and my Spanish is terrible! It's been years since I actually used it and I hardly remember any of it!!), one who had just returned from a chemo embolization, one who had just been diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma 2 weeks ago and was told he had 2 - 6 months, and is now completely out of it - his family is having a really hard time, so I spent a lot of time with them, and then 2 others who were okay. But I was so busy between the three that I mentioned, that I never stopped the whole shift - I had to ask another nurse to help me pass a few meds because I just didn't have time. I finally broke away long enough to eat, and I was gone for maybe 10 minutes. We are supposed to get a 45 minute lunch (they give us the extra 15 minutes because we are so far away from the cafeteria). Right at the end of the shift (we are talking last 5 mintues), I finally got all my charting done and sat down. My manager (well, asistant manager) said "You didn't take a long enough break. You need to take your whole break. Everything will be here when you get back." Then I said that I would rather take a shorter break and get out on time, to which she said, "But then you are telling the hospital that this is okay and they are going to expect everyone to do that."

    So what do you think about that. I can see where she's coming from, but I sitll don't want to stay an hour late every night. Normally I take at least half an hour, but I was really busy last night. Thoughts?
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    About miko014

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 684; Likes: 552

    7 Comments

  3. by   RN4NICU
    I tend to agree with your manager, but I understand your wanting to get out on time. If it is an option, clocking "no lunch" would address both issues - especially since you only took 10 minutes - that is not a lunch break, IMO.
  4. by   MIA-RN1
    If you can't take a break because you are too busy, first you want to see if your coworkers can cover a bit for you so you can get out. If everyone is too busy to help (and I know that happens!) or your patients are a too high acuity, then write/clock no break. Your manager is required by law to ensure that you get a break, so she had to tell you that, but reality is that it doesn't really happen that way. If however, you are missing most of your breaks, then maybe you want to look at your organization, time management etc.
  5. by   miko014
    I said that I normally take at least half an hour for break. This is not a normal occurrence. I just want to know what you would do in this situration - would you rather take your break or get out on time? I know that in a perfect world, we would always do both, and my coworkers do cover for me...we always give a mini report to someone before we go anywhere.

    As for the "no lunch" thing, we do that, but either way they get on us. If you stay over, they yell at you,and if you get out on time but dont take a lunch, then they yell at you for not taking your break, so it's really the same either way.

    Our acuity varies greatly from week to week (or even day to day - I bet my chemo embo will be fine today!), so this does happen occasionally, and it has nothing to do with time management or organization. And for the record, I did have someone help me last night. I'm not stupid, I had the manager give a pneumonia and flu vax to a pt (since that was left for me by the shift before), and I had another RN who was caught up pass a few meds for me. I prefer to share the wealth, you see.
  6. by   Antikigirl
    In addition, the hospital can get in trouble for labor law violations for not offering a chance for their employees to take their breaks. I always take mine...well at least my 30 minute break..sometimes I have to forgo the old 15 minute breaks (we get two 15 minute and one 30 minute for my 8 hours same with 12 but with the addition of another 15 minute).

    The laws tend to get wierd when it comes to medics...but the basic rule is that if there is another RN present to do your job in the case of an emergency, then you can be relieved for your breaks. I had to look these up (and they do differ between states, but this one seems pretty common from the states I have looked into) because my employer before this one made us RN's stay on campus and wear a walkie and answer any urgent or emergent situation...I argued that that time should be paid time since I am not free to go out to get a meal or take a walk or anything I typically would do on a lunch break...They kept putting the whole convo off and then it was found that I was in the right, should have been considered 'on call' during that time...and they jipped me thousands by the time I left them because heck yes...my breaks were constantly interupted..always!!!!!

    Take your breaks though, you need to take a moment out and refresh the mind and body. Those are the times I take a step back, re-think my time management and priorities...and get back on track...I need them! I also need food or I become a brain slow RN by the time 3/4 of my shift is done..and that doesn't help anyone!

    The thing is you sometimes really have to step up, plan for a break, or officially tell your charge you must get a break and report to another nurse. I don't feel bad doing this because I add...and then when is your break so I can cover you? That seems to be helpful to show that yep...you appreciate them helping and you are right behind them on their time to get a break!
    Last edit by Antikigirl on Oct 21, '06
  7. by   miko014
    We're not supposed to leave campus either, but we couldn't if we wanted to...it takes 15 minutes just to go to the cafeteria, where could I go in 45 and still be back on time??? We are expected to return to the unit stat if we hear an overhead page involving our unit (codes, etc.).
  8. by   Antikigirl
    Me I stay on campus too because there is little time for anything else..but I certainly leave the floor and am unseen! If a code or urgent call is paged I return post haste because I know I may be needed! That is just me .

    For me, I have to leave the floor or else someone will find me and tell me things about my pts and I will never get a break. I go to the cafeteria, or even just outside for a while...just as long as I am off floor and seated so I can relax, re-examine my day and evaluate if I am on track...and eat!
  9. by   puggymae
    My advice - take your allotted time. You do not get any brownie points or anything else for short changing yourself. Plus, if you cannot get your work done on time that shows managment that due to the acuity of the patients more help is needed.

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