Skipping Meals May ContributeTo Nurse Burnout

  1. skipping meals may contribute to nurse burnout

    a new study indicates that nurses are regularly sacrificing their breaks and meal periods to provide patient care. the researchers found that nurses took a break or ate a meal free of patient care responsibilities in less than half (47 percent) of the shifts they worked over a one-month period. during the remaining shifts, they either worked nonstop throughout the entire shift (10 percent of shifts) or were able to sit down for only a short period, while remaining responsible for patient care activities during their breaks or meals (43 percent of shifts).


    for more information, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/research/mar05/0305ra4.htm#head4
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    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

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    33 Comments

  3. by   KacyLynnRN
    I know I get pretty damn cranky if I don't get to eat!!! :stone
  4. by   tntrn
    Amazing that the suits/high heels/clipboards group, who never miss a meal or a break, would actually need a study to figure this one out.
  5. by   UM Review RN
    *sigh* I think they messed up. It's the workload that causes both the skipped meal AND the burnout. JMHO. :stone
  6. by   Sis123
    Isn't it ironic how patients' health is of top priority, but the caregivers' health is not even considered. I was surprised that the lack of bathroom breaks was not mentioned, but I wonder if that was considered as a "break".

    I guess nurses are supposed to be super-human.
  7. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from tntrn
    Amazing that the suits/high heels/clipboards group, who never miss a meal or a break, would actually need a study to figure this one out.
    My thoughts exactly.
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    Can anyone say "DUH"?!

    I know how crabby I get when I don't get off the floor and something in my stomach by the time I've been out there for several hours. I have the added problem of coming in at 11 AM, having to break everyone for lunches, and then I get admits and/or post-ops so I don't get to lunch before 3 or 4 in the afternoon when I'm supposed to pick up a whole new team of patients. :angryfire I do take that half-hour, but it tends to put me behind schedule so I really have to hit it when I come back. Breaks? I'm lucky to sit down and snarf a handful of peanuts or gulp down some water while I chart........that's a break. In the meantime, my co-workers who smoke are coming to me every hour or two and going "Couldya watch my team for ten minutes?" even though I am no longer in the PRN role by that time and have patients of my own to attend to.

    I know, I need to be more assertive about taking my breaks.......even my manager has told me so, and I know she's right. I can't expect my co-workers to respect my needs if I don't tell them what they are. But I get so irritated sometimes.......I think they think because I'm the 8-hour person, I don't NEED breaks, and that's wrong. I don't begrudge them the extra break they receive because they're 12-hour employees; I just want them to acknowledge the fact that I'm entitled to a couple of 'em too. And I know it's up to me to make that happen. :stone
  9. by   nadja9
    Quote from Sis123
    Isn't it ironic how patients' health is of top priority, but the caregivers' health is not even considered. I was surprised that the lack of bathroom breaks was not mentioned, but I wonder if that was considered as a "break".

    I guess nurses are supposed to be super-human.

    No Kidding!!!!!!

    I developed an "urgency" problem, and was concerned. My OB/GYN told me it was from learned "holding" on the floor. He said he sees more nurses with bladder problems, like enlarged bladders, etc. because they are too busy go to the bathroom. He told me unless I wanted some ugly problems down the road, go every 4 hours whether I felt like it or not!
  10. by   MandyInMS
    Not taking care of ourselves in general ...everyone else is priority..and WE suffer eventually because of it..skipped meals,breaks,understaffing,the stressssssss in general!
    I've needed to go to the MD myself for a few months now, but there's no TIME...caring for pts,family, my sick pet..no time left for me...I need a vacationnnnnnn! lol
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Isn't it ironic how patients' health is of top priority, but the caregivers' health is not even considered.
    I sent a statement similar to the quoted to our VP. "In the era of the 'customer service', the employees are expected to bend over backwards, yet aren't given the time to fuel up before they do it".
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from MandyInMS
    Not taking care of ourselves in general ...everyone else is priority..and WE suffer eventually because of it..skipped meals,breaks,understaffing,the stressssssss in general!
    I've needed to go to the MD myself for a few months now, but there's no TIME...caring for pts,family, my sick pet..no time left for me...I need a vacationnnnnnn! lol
    Better take one ASAP......otherwise you'll end up like me, with your health spiraling out of control and one thing leading to another, and another, and still another after that. :stone Then you get in trouble for being absent too much, and that creates more stress, which lowers your resistance, which causes you to catch every bug that comes along, which causes you to miss even more work, and so forth and so on.

    It all began so innocuously........I got mildly depressed toward the end of last summer, partly a seasonal issue but also because I was dealing with a lot of changes in my life that had really rocked my world. This caused me to lose control of my eating and regain every ounce of the 40# I'd just lost and then some; around the same time I began working an 11AM-7PM shift, which increased the stress level at work because it's such a busy time of the day. I continued to eat, and gain, and became even more depressed as the pounds flew back on. Then in January I got the flu despite having had a flu shot, and that was the beginning of a downward spiral I'm still not out of yet.
    In February I was in the hospital for three days due to chest pain, which led to the discovery of the kidney stones, then I relapsed in March with bronchitis and exacerbation of my asthma.

    In late April I had the kidney stones out, and will probably go back to work tomorrow, but I still have more tests to undergo because I've got some weird bone degeneration that was found on my KUB and some liver enzymes that are wildly out of whack. I don't even want to ask "what's next?" because I'm afraid of finding out.......What makes me mad is, this nonsense has already cost me a promotion at work that I should have gotten, and indeed would have gotten had I not permitted the stress in my life to get so out of control in the first place.

    Oh well, as they say---too soon old, too late smart.
  13. by   leslie :-D
    guilty as charged- never took lunches or breaks just to keep up w/pt demand. yet i don't know if the burnout is derived from the demands of nsg or not taking their breaks.
    i personally think it's the former.
    i know that if i dared to take 1/2 hr lunch, i'd be feeling pressured as to everything i had to do once i was back on the floor.
    and if you didn't finish your work, they'd expect you to finish it w/o overtime pay.
    so for most of us, there is no choice,period.

    and it would really burn my britches when i was looking for my adon, and find the conference room filled with an array of food, w/the administrator, don, adon, physical/occupational therapists,social workers have an extravagant layout of fine food with evident relaxation and laughter. hmmmph.

    leslie
    Last edit by leslie :-D on May 2, '05
  14. by   frodo
    I would love to have a meal, lucky to go to the bathroom. the nurse to patient ratio sucks lately. we need to hire some more nurses, but they just seem to keep working us to death.

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