Sleeping on the job

Nurses General Nursing


I'm a new grad and meet with a few of my peers monthly to check up on how we are doing. One of my friends mentioned that nurses and techs she works with take turns sleeping while on shift. I know this is not a good thing, but is it an accepted practice among nurses on particular shifts? I guess I mean, is it usual for people to cover for each other in situations like this? I had no advice to offer her. Anyone care to respond? She said no one is in danger when these things happen, as of yet, she just feels weird having to be on guard for docs and such coming on the floor....


35 Posts

I will be scared of losing my job because of that: sleeping on the job. Not only it is unethical, it is also not professional. That's my own professional opinion. I call this "time thief".


4 Posts

Ummmm at the facility that I work at this is grounds for termination!! What is happens when there is an emergency??


6,620 Posts

People can sleep on their breaks, otherwise no. Same thing goes for eating, smoking, chatting on the phone, reading magazines, etc.

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

My son works at a hospital and people sleep on their breaks only on the night shift.


Specializes in CCU (Coronary Care); Clinical Research.

Not Acceptable IMHO, unless it is on a break (and only during that break time...)

FYI: There was a post not too long ago on this very subject with many postings, if you wants lots of info, I would go to the search function and type in sleeping staff... :)

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

I'm an aide, i slept last night for 30 minutes. This was my lunch break. And the only time i'd ever done it.

I work 11-7, i'd been up since 5am the day before. I felt like crap so the charge nurse checked me out, and also took my blood sugar, result was 39. I drank 20 oz. bottle of OJ with 2 packs of sugar, felt better an hour later.

I was off the clock and in the break room.


You're excused by the charge nurse for some much needed rest and recovery. That is most assuredly o.k. but unless it is your 30 minute break and the floor has adequate coverage and approval from the charge nurse, most institutions do not allow for sleeping on the job. This is really the first time I ever heard it was common practice for staff to sleep on lunch time at night. Must have just not been listening.


564 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

If I were management, and I'm not, my view would be that if it's possible to rotate one person off the floor for sleep breaks all shift then it's possible to schedule one less for that shift.



1 Article; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in Everything except surgery.

Several hospitals here in the Puget Sound area allow sleeping during breaks. Plus two hospitals I know of, allow the staff to put all their breaks together to make it an hour for break. Unfortunately I have never been able to take one of these sleep breaks. When I go to sleep, I want more than an hour. However as long as it's your break time, then that is your time to do what you wish!

Sleeping when you're supposed to be working is a whole other thing!

Mimi2RN, ASN, RN

1,142 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

If you take a sleep break of an hour, including your short breaks, that's ok, if you don't plan on taking any other time to eat!


1 Article; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in Everything except surgery.

They don't, they prefer to sleep, but me I prefer to eat:chuckle!

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