I Just Don't Understand....

  1. One of the most frequent complaints I've read on this board about being a nurse (besides the pay) is that you get no lunch breaks or breaks in general. How Is This Legally Possible? Can't you DEMAND that you be allowed to take care of YOU first? Someone please help me understand this, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!
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    About crp2000

    Joined: Nov '02; Posts: 43; Likes: 1
    Case Manager


  3. by   SmilingBluEyes

    sorry for that bit of irreverence.. It really depends on management practices, union presences (or not) and how much crap the individual nurse is willing to take. Really. Really!!!! It is a choice we make to be continually abused.....

    or not.
  4. by   cindyln
    So who takes care of the patients,answers the phones and call lights while we are taking our breaks??
  5. by   NurseShell
    That was the first thing I noticed as a student in clinicals...no breaks. Now, you can just go (and damn the consequences) or you can be responsible and take care of your patient. At least that's what I see. Some of my classmates JUST GO and they seem to be getting some low scores for "abilities" wonder if that's because their pts aren't receiving quality care? I make sure that I can go (i.e. nothing NEEDS to be done right now) and then I make sure my pt is covered - this is not an easy feat to accomplish mind you!! Lunch? Well....I make sure I bring food with me just in case...I think I got to leave the floor twice for a "lunch break"...for the life of me I cannot figure out how so many of us are overweight since we dont' get to eat!!!!! OR drink water!!! I get so dehydrated when I'm at the hospital - it's ironic isn't it?!?! we hammer I & O to pts all day long and then we don't drink much ourselves...then again no I = no O = no need to take a bathroom break
  6. by   LilgirlRN
    I work in the ER where our idea of a "break" is walking over to the soda fountain, put some in your cup and take two sips before another doc calls your name and says go do this or you look at the monitor and notice that bed 2's BP is suddenly 70/40. I was oncall yesterday, we have an overflow area not attached to the main ER where we have 6 beds to utilize in case we are very busy. I saw 22 patients by MYSELF in an 8 hr period, we were all tied up, there was no one to relieve anyone else (heck, I barely got to relieve myself!). It was about how much "crap" I was willing to take, it was about doing what had to be done. The only consolation I get out of the deal is pay, time and a half plus 5 bucks an hour for being on call
  7. by   Tweety
    I demand nutrition for myself and the people I work with. I will bust my butt, I will eat at the desk and chart and answer the phones, do what I have to. But 12 hours is too long to go without eating.

    Usually it's not a problem.

    But no, it's illegal to require people to work without a break. Take the hospital to the labor board about it, and they will say "Yes, it is written in policy that we give breaks."

    There is no policy that nurses don't get breaks. The reality however is different. Time flies when you're having fun.
  8. by   fergus51
    I either get my breaks or I get time and a half pay for them. I will not give up my time without any compensation.
  9. by   NurseWeasel
    Do you think weight adds itself not because of not eating, but because when we finally DO get time to eat it's only moments and we grab what we can out of the machine (high fat, high carbs, zero nutrition usually) just to get us through for another few hours? It's always been my pet peeve that vending machines don't have nice, fresh apples and bananas and pears and cheese and... HEALTHY stuff in them. I'd gladly pay more for that...
  10. by   crp2000
    Just how 'high' can a nurse's 'quality of care' be if he/she is hungary and experiencing dizzy spells? Also, are nurse's allowed to have drinks/snacks at their station?
  11. by   spineCNOR
    Nurses are not generally allowed to have food at the nurses station. Whether drinks are allowed depends on the facility. Hospitals are more concerned with keeping up a professional appearance for patients and visitors that concerned about their nurses well-being.
    As one of the above posters noted, if there is no one to relieve the nurse, s/he cannot just leave their patients.
    In the OR we get breaks only when someone is sent to relieve us- which sometimes means no morning break and no lunch until after 1P. Managers get their breaks (they take care of each other), but staff nurses who ask for relief are seen as an irritation by the managers. Where I work nurses will not stick together to support each other, and there is no union, so...

    Of course the surgeons have food and beverages catered in their lounge at the hospital's expense, so they can alway grab a quick bite, or have something to drink between cases.
    Last edit by spineCNOR on Jan 20, '03
  12. by   Rustyhammer
    Some days you get breaks...some days you don't.
    If you are going into nursing you should know this little fact.
    If you think you are going to get a 15 min. break q2h and a 1/2 hour lunch on time you are sadly mistaken.
    We have learned to live with this. Granola bars in our pockets and 10 gallon bladders are pretty common.

    Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy
    Time flies when you're having fun.