What about breaks?


  • Specializes in Palliative, Geriatics. Has 15 years experience.

Hi everyone,

I have orientation on monday, i am just starting a new job at a long term care facility. I was just wondering how many breaks do you get during a 8 to 12 hour shift? Is lunch usually a half hour or hour? I know it varies per state and/or facility but what is your facilities policy on this.

Thank you, :)


Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho.

I think in my state ,, the state says one 15 min for 4 or more hours. But most places you work 8 or 12 hour shift will give you 2-10 or15 min breaks with a half hour lunch.

virmm1, LPN

94 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

What breaks? they're easy to forget if you get busy.


155 Posts

It is also illegal for an employer to deny employees of breaks for any reason (it is in CA anyway). I work 8 and 10 hour shifts and get 2-10 minute breaks and a 1/2 hour lunch. The 12 hour shifts get 3-10 minute breaks with a 45 minute lunch. I have never worked a job before where I was not given all of my breaks at the appropriate times....until I went into nursing :crying2:

I work 12 hour shifts in L&D, we are automatically deducted 30 minutes for lunch each day. The thing that irritates me most about this job is that we NEVER EVER get our breaks. I have not once in the 4 months I have worked this job seen anyone take a lunch break other than eating bites at the desk in between patient care. I was actually reprimanded for taking a 5 minute smoke break when I first started working there. (yes, yes, nurses shouldn't smoke, whatever!) But its the point of the matter. Needless to say I don't smoke at work anymore, but it just burns my britches every time I get paid and I'm deducted all this time for breaks that I not only don't get a chance to take, but am actually reprimanded if I do!


266 Posts

I agree.......we are docked for lunch whether we take it or not......usually it's 'not'. Who has the time??? Breaks?????? I seem to remember something called that.......years ago.......somebody please refresh my memory on that one...............oh, wait a minute, I think it's coming back to me now...........oh yeah!!! That is those little blocks of time where you can go to the bathroom, get a drink of water or cup of coffee..........ahhhh coffee........oops sorry about that momentary lapse of lust.........oh, breaks.....ok, do you REALLY have time for them??? I sure don't. This sounds sick, but there have been many, many times during my 12 hour days that I don't have time for breaks or lunch.......there have been times when I have gone to the BR before leaving home and the next time I go is when I get back home. Sad, sad, sad..........actually, it's MY fault that happened.

You just get to the point that YOU have to MAKE time to take that little break........your sanity depends on it........and even if you don't eat.........take that break. Go for a little walk, go to the gift shop, etc.

Good luck!!!


2,836 Posts

Yes I take my 30 minute lunch when I work. I always take it away from the nurses desk. I need the 30 minute break so I can relax and clear my thinking. I get too frazzled and stressed out if I don't take my breaks. :)

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,588 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.


Sorry. 30 minutes for lunch and whatever breaks you can get during the day. Last night I ate while I charted and essentially got no break. But I'm not bitter at all.


358 Posts

Just got home from a 12 hour nightshift. I am entitled to two half hour meal breaks and two fifteen minute coffee breaks - get paid for 11.25 hours. What did I ACTUALLY receive? Three five minute smoke breaks (yes, I know - and to the poster that said they were written up for taking a smoke break - it's YOUR break, why do they get to dictate what you can and can't do on it?). No, I didn't sit at the desk and eat. I ran my tail off all night long. Me and two other new grad RNs and the two RPNs who were working while the experienced RNs sat at the desk and gossiped! We weren't just run off our feet with our own patients, but ended up answering bells for THEIR patients because they wouldn't get up to do it! Enjoy the breaks while you're a student because in the real world, they are few and far between. It's a combination of wanting to prove yourself and get everything done, being short-staffed because that's just the way it is, and still taking a little bit longer to do all of the care and paperwork for 7 acute patients because you aren't as experienced.


119 Posts

Specializes in Palliative, Geriatics. Has 15 years experience.

WOW! Sounds like i should prepare myself for the worse. The reason why i asked was because at the last place i worked, i maybe got 10 minutes in a 8 or 9 hr shift. We were always busy. I don't mind it too much, but i find that i can give a heck of a lot more to the patients if i'm nourished & rested myself (for a short time, of course! :))

Thanks all!!

Darlene K.

341 Posts

I work 12 hour shifts and we are "supposed" to get a 30 minute break. It is deducted automatically from you pay whether you take it or not. Usually, the same few nurses get their breaks every shift, when I ask to take a break the answer is usually "there is no one to cover you." :angryfire


43 Posts

I work 12 hr shift and we usually have 30 mins break (breakfast) and 1 hr lunchbreak. The facility were I work is pretty good about it. I always take those breaks because it's deducted on my pay sheet anyway. There's no way that I can manage to work 12 hr straight without a break..it's inhumane. I did it a few times when I was still a new nurse and it made me dizzy and weak.... realizing also at the end of the shift that I didn't even manage to have a toilet break even once. Now, I make sure that I make use of those breaks. No one could ever tell me that I can't take my break because there's no one to cover for me. If I have to call my nurse manager or supervisor to relieve me, I will. I'm a human being and I need to eat and drink and take care of myself first before I can take care of others.

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