Non-smokers getting less breaks?


  • Specializes in Gerontology, Psychiatrics, Med-surg. Has 5 years experience.

Let me start off by saying that i'm not trying to ruffle the feathers of the smokers on the forum. To each is their own, and if you choose to smoke, i'm in no position to say anything negative about it. I'm merely venting because this is an ongoing problem in the facility that I work in.

We have "strict" rules (in our handbook) that state that we are allowed two 10 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch per shift. I understand that on a bad day at work, you just need an extra minute or two sometimes to center yourself before you return to the floor, but what I can't understand is why it's ok for the smokers in our building to be able to take a break every hour just to step out and puff away. Charge nurses never say anything about the situation (most likely because the majority of them are out on the deck smoking every hour as well), and it doesn't seem to bother the administration. Sometimes the break cut into resident care, and require the non-smokers to do the extra work to pick up the slack and get out at a reasonable time.

Has anyone ever been in a situation like this? Any advice? I don't mean to complain, but it is very frustrating to be on this boat. Thanks!:banghead::smackingf


903 Posts

If they take a smoke break every hour, I'm taking a Hershey's break every hour, too. I will not work myself to death so that they can shave a few years off of their lives, anyways.

Funny how "I'm just gonna step outside for one minute" is so misleading. "One minute" usually equates more like 10-15. If people can't count that high, they need to go back to kindergarten.


23 Posts

That's how it was at the last place I worked. An ambitious and mathmatically inclined co-worker found that the smokers were getting (on average) about 2 whole weeks worth of breaks more than the average worker. It was like 8-10 hours every month that their smoking breaks were adding up to.

You're right that it isn't fair at all. Smoke breaks should be taken "off the clock" I smoked for years, but never smoked when I was at work, that's what lunch break was for! I sure am glad I kicked that habit. On May 12, it will be 10 years exactly since my last cigarette. I quit when my son was born, I didn't want to give him asthma or cancer or anything! :redpinkhe


14 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology, Psychiatrics, Med-surg. Has 5 years experience.

Congrats! That's amazing!


1,196 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. We have nurses and aides who take a smoke break every hour...and of course they are the first to complain that they are running behind and need help getting their work done.

Now, I don't mind helping people, at all. But when I don't even get my 15 minute breaks and I cut my lunch break short to make sure all my kids get showers, don't expect me to pick up your slack when you've taken an extra hour of breaks on your shift.

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

I've noticed the same thing. I don't know if I've ever taken a break in the afternoon but the smokers all go out at once and they're gone for a good 20 minutes, at least.

Starletta, CNA

109 Posts

Specializes in CNA. Has 2 years experience.

I'm not a CNA at the moment, but at my last job, we also had 2 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. This required "Swiping" your time card. Yet, the smokers had a break every hour on the hour and never had to "swipe" out. :smokin:

Management never said a word. Sometimes I'd get so peeved, I sit at my desk with my arms crossed, just waiting for my manager to ask me what I was doing. My co-worker's take a break every hour, and so will I. :)

I worked at a Laboratory. So it wasn't as easy as grabbing your purse and going outside. They had to take off Lab coats, gloves, shields, THEN get their cigs. and repeat the process when they came back in.


657 Posts

Specializes in Professional Development Specialist.

It's a matter of management taking an interest. And it may mean you might need to be the change. Start keepin track.

In my experience some smokers are good workers. They tell you when they are leaving the floor, for how long they will be gone adn don't go over that, and they don't leave until their patients are 100% stable. Others vanish with no notice for long periods of time. On the other hand I have workers who do the same and don't smoke!

Management who refuses to allow slackers to vanish are the first step. Taking a chocolate break for every minute a smoker is gone sounds like an effective first step.

Starletta, CNA

109 Posts

Specializes in CNA. Has 2 years experience.
Taking a chocolate break for every minute a smoker is gone sounds like an effective first step.

Ah, but it could be a very effective weight gaining :idea: