Sleeping at Work

  1. I know this is always a hot topic here but I wanted to share a new policy set forth by my company this month. My company is a nation wide chain 300+ homes.

    In their new policy book it states that any employee found sleeping on company property is grounds for immediate termination.

    I know employees like to snooze on lunch break, sometimes in the break room, sometimes in their car. I personally think it's carrying it a bit too far.

    I have to wonder if someone in HR from the company has been following this on the BB.
  2. Visit ChainedChaosRN profile page

    About ChainedChaosRN

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 183; Likes: 2
    Director of Nursing


  3. by   rebel_red

    We may very well work for the same company. Personally I am glad to see this go into effect. If it actually does. Your posts remind me of our DON. She works so hard to staff for the optimal care of the residents. Our nocs ratio is one aide to 11 residents the highest it ever gets is 1 aide to 18 residents. It is so infuriating to see people sleep through rounds. (Well actually I wake them up much to their chagrin, even though as a CNA they really don't think I should "disturb" them.) Or rush through rounds so they can sit down in front of the tv 5 whole minutes sooner. I can't think of any other job that pays you for sleeping, unless you are participating in a sleep study research. I am not without empathy for my coworkers...I realize some of them don't have much of a support system at home, and finding time to rest properly for work can be a real challenge. However....The one aide who sleeps dang near through the entire night, (unless our regular house sup is there,her residents, each and every one of them has decubs. (Yes there are many factors that can contribute to this, but not being changed for at least 7 hours, turning schedule being ignored, or just changing the brief without cleaning the resident....)

    Anyhow kind of digressed there...Our DON is very generous and has told night shift "If you need to rest, take your 1/2 hour lunch and your 15 minute break together and go to the staff room." This unofficial policy has been much abused.

    One would hope the fear of termination would keep people awake. Since having a work ethic and a sense of responsibility don't seem to be in evidence.

    Sorry if I sound pi$$y I am in no way angry with you. I just hate seeing the residents get cheated out of what they deserve. Quality care done in a time frame that suits their needs...not ignore all night and then rush rush rush last rounds.

    Oh and it should be mentioned that when our regular house sup is there, very little of this nonsense goes on, unfortunately we are a multifloor building and she can't be everywhere at once. When she leaves our floor some heads go down, and the snoring starts.....
  4. by   ChainedChaosRN
    Hi Rebel_Red,
    Please do not think I condone sleeping on duty..not at all. I've fired many for finding them sleeping on 11-7 shift. I and my nurse managers continue to spot check in the middle of the night.

    I just think putting your head down, kicking back on break OFF the unit is acceptable. NEVER on the unit off of break times.
  5. by   canoehead
    I think most sups have sympathy for the times everyone has where they just can't continue, and would allow in house call for an hour rather than have someone go home sick. I like the policy- knowing that sleeping would have to be a rare event and with full knowledge and consent of the sups. Personally I find that if I am busy sleepiness is not a problem.
  6. by   FROGGYLEGS
    I work nights. I'm used to it. I don't sleep at work. A 45minute nap would just tick me off so I wouldn't want to even try it. If others want to sleep on their breaks, so be it. I don't think anyone should get away with sleeping on the clock though.

    At the facility I work at sleeping on duty is grounds for immediate termination, but that isn't slowing the routine sleepers down any. Management knows they do it, but would rather turn a blind eye to it than lose staff.

    The last night I worked, for example, the respiratory therapist is asleep. I had to literally shake him to get him to go check on a vent patient that was asking for RT. 3 CNAs are regular sleepers, two nurses are regulars, one of the other RTs is a sleeper. This is only a sampling of the people I routinely work with.

    I don't think it's right. Obviously everyone can't be asleep. If so, who would wake up the staff when a patient needed them. Actually, I resent having to wake them up to do their job. It isn't fair to the rest of us.
  7. by   pwp1289
    had some trouble with "slacking of jobs" in our ltc house but then unions got involved and some things were just smoothed over until positive proof was found--the employees were videoed sleeping on the job shot- and--video camera was situated so a clock was in the same shot---documented proof of sleeping on job beyond break/meal time--all involved were fired!!!!!
  8. by   night owl
    I think it's a wonderful policy, and everything looks great in black and white, but will it be enforced? We've had basically the same policy since day one. The only time it's been enforced is when the DON payed a suprise visit with the super and found one person asleep and not in her area. Super says to the DON, "This is her third strike!" Had the DON not been there, I wonder if the super would have addressed it at all. Then the nurse in charge had to write her up.
    So many times employees have been written up for sleeping, but it seems it's always swept under the rug and never addressed. So people give up complaining about it and after awhile they just put up with it. Maybe TPTB are afraid of losing staff? A sleeping staff is better than no staff? What kind of mentality is that? Bottom line... it's not the sleeping, it's the neglect of the patients. I'm tired of hearing, "We're here for the patients'', "But we're here for the patients." It gets old.
    The only success we've ever had was two years ago, just before JCAHO was to pay a visit, the security guard would make rounds every night at different times. Many people were observed sleeping and were written up. People stayed awake because they never knew when security was coming around. When JCAHO came and left, that was the end of it. Why do they listen to a security guard and not the nurse in charge? Maybe an unbiased opinion? Maybe they needed to show JCAHO that, "yes, we do discipline people for various things like sleeping." Policies are great guidlines if they are enforced.
    Policy: A plan or course of action intended to influence & determine decisions, actions or other matters. A guiding principle.
    An unenforced policy is no policy at all. I say get rid of the sleepers. Someone out there needs a job and is willing to care for people who can't care for themselves without sleeping through their shift. The root cause is management for sweeping important matters like this under the rug and not addressing the problems until they really have to. WHY?

    You need to come and work at my facility. You'd have a ball documenting and firing employes left and right and I'd gladly help you in a heartbeat. If more supervisors were like you, maybe some nursing homes wouldn't be in the state they're in. We need management with lots of spine or gonads or both!! Both are better and you seem to have all of it. What makes you different from other supervisors? They need the "Grab the bull by the.......horns" kind of attitude like you have.
    Last edit by night owl on Jun 27, '03
  9. by   sbic56
    I don't think this is an unusual policy. Many places have the same one, but it is usually enforced in a realistic way. Hopefully your company will exercise some common sense in enforcing the policy. Best to tread lightly for a spell.
  10. by   night owl
    That's the problem. We've been treading lightly for too long. It's time to do something about it or rather it's been time. What is a realistic way? Document, document and document some more. I know of no other realistic way except to go running to the DON.
  11. by   GAstudent
    I use to work in a home for young adults with disabilities. We had two girls in a home to 8 ladies/men and if our boss came by and we was asleep then we would be terminated right then and there. I tought that it was great because then you knew you could not sleep because it could be your job. We never knew when and if she would come. The only bad thing was there was too much time at night to do nothing. The home was always clean and all we really had to do was get their clothes ready for the next day and make sure they got all of there homework done. So we had a lot of time to do nothing. I would take my books and study but it was so easy to get tired.

    Where I work now in LTC and on night shift we have an entire hall to ourself and have to do three rounds, we have to stock all bathrooms, stock all carts, pass out ensure, blood sugars, etc. We have so much to do that we could never have time to sit down and even think of watching tv. We don't have a tv in our break room but we do in the class room and pt sitting room. I am almost shocked to hear some places do this and can get away with it. I think that there is so much more to do then watch tv.

    I have a friend who works in NICU (she is an RN unlike me, a CNA ) and she is working agency right now and she said the same thing to me the other day. The unit she works in the co workers want to watch movies and eat popcorn all night and not take care of the babies. She said they want to play. She is nothing like that at all. She said that when family comes in at night that the co workers say get the family out they don't need to be here. Needless to say her assignment is almost over and she is happy. They want her to stay. She said that she will come in and get the babies a new iv (i think that is what she said, that at the first of the shift they have to start a new iv on all babies and sometimes it can take a long time) She said that one baby had a swollen tube and the other nurse said oh this is still good for a while, she said no, this poor child has to be in pain due to the swollen tubing and redness around the hand and they wanted to report her and really reported themselves. I just sometimes don't understand health care.

    I was on a new hall at work and had to leave one day at 12:00pm and shift started at 7am. Well it was shower day and this halls normal people give me the 6 hardest people for shower day and I got all of them done at 11:45 and still had to make all the beds and change the linen. Well I did not get one bed changed and I was reported that I put dirty linen on a bed and I told the nurse No. You helped me put Ms. Brown to bed and did not notice dirty linen then so why when i leave was it dirty. So she took up for me on that part. But the one bed I did not get made the other FOUR CNA's got mad because one of them had to make ONE of my beds and reported me for that. I told the DON that I did not get the bed made because I had to leave and that I had the hardest time that morning with the hardest and heaviest pts (whom I had never worked with) and I ended up not getting in trouble for it. But my point is WHY does workers complain of not getting enough help and then when they get help they want to report them. I comfronted the girls who reported me and let them know my views on it. I was new and thought that it should have been discussed to get along with one another first and not run to the DON but the next that I saw them do something that I did not like that I would report them for it. That if I did not like what they was doing I would have mentioned it to them the first time and waited to see if they corrected it. I just don't know why people can't do their job and leave everyone else along. If they want I would love to see some of these people try to take care of the whole place by themselves or try to walk a day in your shoes.
  12. by   ChainedChaosRN
    I agree Night Owl, you can't tread softly. That's like covering a draining decub with duoderm and wondering in 3 days what the heck went wrong.

    Frankly I'm tired of having to continually keep "surprising" the 11-7 crew to see if they are awake and doing their job. Babysitting adults who carry a license is ridiculous. They are "supposed" to be professional and responsible. I've literally turned over 75% of the 11-7 shift - because of being fired for not doing their job or sleeping. The rest will go eventually. I'll be in the right place at the right time. Who knows, maybe tonight even. I just took a long nap.

    I'm beginning to wonder if some nursing school is teaching Poor Work Ethics 101 someplace. I'll gladly nurture and guide any nurse along in this profession...until it comes to motivation, ethics and responsibility. At that point they need a new place to practice their poison...I'd prefer Arby's. I hate that place.

    This is patients lifes and well being they are responsible for there is no time for BS and treading lightly.
  13. by   night owl
    I would just like to ask these sleepers one question..."Why did you want this job, so you could come here to sleep and get paid for it? I bet if they went to work at Arby's and were found sleeping, they'd get fired on the spot! Is there something wrong with this picture??? Human lives vs. roast beef sandwiches...In essence, my management is saying that human lives aren't as important as roast beef sandwiches. Me thinks my management needs some management classes...from Arby's.

    ~Arby's. It's what nursing should be all about...
    Last edit by night owl on Jun 28, '03
  14. by   ChainedChaosRN
    LOL Night made me choke on my water