Lunch breaks

  1. I am interested in knowing if any facilities allow a person to leave the facility for their lunch break. In my facility it is sort of an unwritten rule that you hang around at least in the building where you can be reachable by phone. (The phone system doesn't work in all parts of the building either). Particularly interested in cardiac units who tend to be a bit more critical with fewer staff.

    My personal belief, I would love to leave the facility to have lunch somewhere else. (if you get a lunch) But I also believe and know that it adds extra stress to the nurse that now has twice as many patients to cover for?

    What do you think?
  2. Visit moonshadeau profile page

    About moonshadeau, ADN, BSN, MSN, APN, NP, CNS

    Joined: Jul '00; Posts: 639; Likes: 70
    Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience


  3. by   spudflake
    If you are being PAID for your lunch hour then they can have you stay close by for emergencies. If you are NOT being paid then you can do whatever you want, leave the building, go home run an errand - whatever. It's your time. Check with the Labor Board
  4. by   huckfinn

    Something that is of a concern to me long is your lunch break?

    Ours are an unpaid 1/2 hour. Barely enough time to get from the OR to the lounge to wolf it down. Woe is the person who must brave the crouds in the cafeteria.

    True! If you are not paid for lunch, you should be able to do whatever wherever you want.
  5. by   moonshadeau
    Like I said previously that it was an unwritten rule that we needed to stay in reach of our portable phones. They don't reach in the cafeteria for one thing. Someone had been spoken to regarding taking their phone off during the day. So most of us nurses, if we get a break, we run down to the cafeteria to get a tray and then definately feel as though we have to eat it on the floor because we get so busy that if something goes wrong (decreased B.P., patient wanting pain med, telephone calls) we have to deal with it. The other nurse hardly ever will manage the situation for you.

    The only reason why I ask this is because I had a situation the other day that the nurse down my hall (and I happened to be charge that day) announced that she was going to be leaving to run a personal errand concerning her family and she would be back in a half hour. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with this but I really, really, really needed the nurse at the time that she said that she was going. I asked her if she could hold off for a while and she basically said that I had no choice in the matter that she was leaving anyway.

    Lunch break 1/2 hour, not paid, if we take it at all. If we don't we get paid for the 1/2 hour worked

    Whew- venting, venting. . .

    Just call me the human door mat....
  6. by   spudflake
    By law the nurse is entiltled to her break. She can do whatever she wishes DURING that half hour. If she was scheduled to go at that time then she's right - it's her time for lunch. If there is an actual emergency and NOONE gets a break then that's another story and she gets paid for no lunch. Just because things are busy - and when aren't they - doesn't mean the nurse isn't entitled to a break. I know this personally because the hospital I USE to work in just settled a law suit with 20 of us and they had to pay us for ALL the lunch breaks we missed over a 2 year period of time. My check was for $1,750.
  7. by   craff1
    good for you guys. i love to see the employees fight back. I'm glad you got the settlement you deserved. with all the stress you nurses deal w/ the least they can do is give you a darned lunch break. Sounds like it's common for people not to get them though.
  8. by   galenight
    Well, we have an unpaid lunch period and supposedly can leave the building if we so desire.. However, I work afternoons and there is usually only 2 RN's in the building, therefore, I won't leave because I don't think it's fair to leave one RN for the whole place. And also, because I don't want them to leave me as the only RN. But they aren't always as conceintious as I am! And if I don't get a lunch.. I put it down in the overtime log. Doesn't mean I always get it, but I usually do.
  9. by   canoehead
    Our DON tells us that employees are entitled to a a break 30 min per 12h shift with two 15min breaks "if possible" The 30 min is unpaid, so nurses can leave the building, however they do not dictate WHEN they get the break. Nothing says that they have to get it when the cafeteria is open. And... if they get a break at 0530 that it still counts, even if they have not even had time to pee before that. We "try" to accomodate them if they need a particular time etc. But, she says that is the letter of the law. And in Canada you can be called off your break, so get it in 6 5 minute batches, and still not get the benefit of no break OT.

    I don't think it is fair or right, but that is the argument when someone wants to say, group all their breaks and sleep for an hour- that we could be SO much stricter according to the law. That they should be aware that getting a "full" break, or getting to the cafeteria during the lunch hour is actually a favor.
  10. by   PhantomRN
    BREAK!!! What is that?

    At my hospital we will get a lunch break...but rarely will it be off the floor. The majority of the time we will cover each others patients long enough for her to go to the caf and get food and then she sits and eats at the nurses station.
    This is a common event for days and nights.
  11. by   tonchitoRN
    What a great topic. You are entitled to a break. In my facility it was an unpaid 30 minute break. I made it very clear when I take my break do not bother me unless it is an emergency. It is the responsibility of whoever is covering me to handle the small problems. One day the secty called me in the lunch room to ask me to come back to the floor to handle something, no emergency. I reminded them that I was on break and someone is covering me and they are not to call me again. You know I got respect for my break time. I never got called into the mgr's office. I was ready for that one because at least the law back's me up. You better stand up for yourself because no one else will. Those of you who skip breaks, you are only hurting yourself.
  12. by   debbyed
    I know there is such an animal because when nurses from other parts of the hospital are pulled to the ER they always want to know when their breaks are. The answer--When the patients stop comming in. THey never seem to understand this.

    We tend to bring finger food and keep it in the EMRC room attached to the nurses station. You eat what you want when you can. Breaks are strickly for peeing and smoking.
  13. by   spudflake
    The law states you are entitled to a 30 min linch break and 2 15mins breaks. The 30 min lunch period must be given by the time you've put in 5 hrs. I had a manager tell a 7p-7a nurse that 5:30 am was still time enough to take her break. LOL As I posted before, we just won a suit against our hospital for not providing lunch breaks. I worked in a very busy ER. Having the Housse Supe bring down sandwiches was nice BUT according to the law did NOT compensate for a break and we were suppose to be able to take the sandwich and LEAVE THE AREA for 30 mins. For those who work solo - you MUST be paid for your lunch. I just attended a seminar put on by HR people re: this very subject. A those of you in Calif....boy are there some neat loop holes you may not be aware of!!!
  14. by   thisnurse guys get lunches?
    no way.....what kind of high falutin nursing job do you have?

    i take frequent smoke breaks. i dont take a lunch. i eat at the station. that way someone only has to cover for me for a few minutes. im never gone long. id rather get off the floor frequently for a few than take them in half hour or fifteen minute incriments.