View Full Version : Almost 15 hours and no lunch.


MelJayne
03-25-2008, 10:26 AM
I was always on the verge of being caught up yesterday, but never quite got to where I could take a lunch, heh. So irritating! Then, a nightshift friend asked if I would stay over until 10pm for her since she had school. It's not unusual on Mondays for me to do this for her. But, man, it makes a long day. My whole body was aching. Fortunately, I'm off today to recover, lol. Of course, I say this as an 18 month old is climbing me like a tree. Still, he's more fun than work, lol.

LesleyJoy
03-25-2008, 11:37 AM
The "no lunch" issue bothers me. Is it common for nurses not to take lunch (and breaks)? If so, why? After a rather extended investigation at my place of employment I have discovered a couple-three reasons why nurses are not taking the lunches/breaks that are so necessary to good health (not to mention patient safety). I'll post them if anyone is interested.

Would anyone like to express why they occasionally/routinely miss their breaks/lunches?

Thanks!

Joy

MelJayne
03-25-2008, 11:53 AM
I don't routinely miss lunches per say. I do on occasion. I've learned to take lunch right at 11am or as soom as possible. A lot of nurses I know won't take an early lunch and will wait until later in the day when we are too busy and that's why they miss them. I just literally had too much going on at the time. I could have maybe taken a lunch but it would have delayed patient care too long or my patient was too sick and it would have been detrimental to their care. For instance, I had a couple intubated patients come in throughout the day and it was touch and go with their blood pressure or in one case her ET tube wasn't working right and the doctor had to re-intubate from the one the paramedic had placed. It wasn't lack of desire to take a lunch, but just lack of a chance. We did have a float that came in at 1p, but he was slammed helping everyone. He did finally cover me for about 15 minutes so I had a chance to eat some popcorn (someone had taken my lunch out of the fridge for some reason and my sandwich was bad... so annoying). But, 15 minutes to slam down some food I don't count as a lunch really. However, it was better than nothing. Also, at 7pm shift change I took another 15 minutes. So, it wasn't that I didn't get anything, but I didn't get enough to count as lunch either.

LesleyJoy
03-25-2008, 12:16 PM
Oh, MelJayne, I was not asking for you to 'justify' your lack of break/lunch. I hope I have not offended you in any way! :flowers:

The way I see it, there are quite a few reasons why working without rest occurs. Certainly an unexpected increase in acuity, as well as too high census, being a novice or disorganised nurse, and wanting overtime can lead to missed breaks/lunch. Do I sound like the middle-management, paper pusher that I am? Yes, I do. Furthermore, I think that it is incumbent upon middle/senior management to provide breaks/lunches. We have an obligation to ensure that staff have the time and the tools to provide excellent patient care. Adequate rest/hydration/nourishment, along with appropriate staffing and education most definitely facilitates that care.

OK. Stepping down from my soap box,

Joy

MelJayne
03-25-2008, 12:24 PM
Oh no, I wasn't offended in any way. I was just explaining in my case why I missed lunch. I agree, with what you are saying though. The reason why I normally do take an early lunch is because I've learned over the years that a lot of the time I don't get one if I don't go as soon as I possibly can go. And I do think that a lot of the novice nurses tend to miss lunch a lot until they get the idea of priority and organization down which ,of course, is just imperative at my work.

geenaRN
03-25-2008, 05:09 PM
I used to miss lunches here and there before we had break nurses. I would feel too bad making another nurse with two patients of their own also watch MY two patients, many of which had things that needed to be done that could not wait 1/2 hour.

Now that we have dedicated break nurses, the nurse who watches my patients ONLY watches my patients. So anything needing to be done can reliably be done by that person.

Break nurses have been a godsend.

darkogirlie
12-24-2008, 05:08 AM
I've just started in the nursing profession and when I asked on my first day about breaks, I was told 'in this profession, you don't get breaks''.
And I never have. Ok well actually, I did do my first ''long'' day of a 14hr shift the other day and after negotiation managed to get half hour. I understand that sometimes you kinda don't need a break, but on that sort of shift, I think at least two separate breaks are needed. I'm sure others have this problem, but are there any others who work in the NHS who do? And have you tried to tackle this?

runningnurse
12-24-2008, 12:28 PM
I've just started in the nursing profession and when I asked on my first day about breaks, I was told 'in this profession, you don't get breaks''.
And I never have. Ok well actually, I did do my first ''long'' day of a 14hr shift the other day and after negotiation managed to get half hour. I understand that sometimes you kinda don't need a break, but on that sort of shift, I think at least two separate breaks are needed. I'm sure others have this problem, but are there any others who work in the NHS who do? And have you tried to tackle this?

You ALWAYS need to try and get your breaks in and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. If you don't step off the floor and take care of yourself how are you going to take care of your patients? It shouldn't have to be wrangled out of your day, it should/is mandatory...especially with 14 hr shifts! Where I've worked we did 12 hrs and we were supposed to try and take a 15 min in morning, 30 for lunch, and another 15 in the afternoon sometime...(I don't work in the NHS tho).
I would suggest that you tell the person you are working with (if you do team nursing)that you plan on taking a break at X time and do your best to stick to it (naturally the way nursing is you may not get to it right away) it's important to make a break a priority early on, otherwise you'll burn out way too soon.
Good Luck:)

darkogirlie
12-24-2008, 03:37 PM
Thanks for that. I just assumed that was the case, as I generally don't see anyone taking breaks and it was a senior nurse who informed me I'm not entitled. I also had my shifts for this week and the next totally altered without asking me, and holiday allowance used without my consent. The team I work in are generally a good bunch, but someone, somewhere is taking the mickey a bit.

Glad to know it's not like that everywhere, maybe I should ask about it again tomorrow, thanks :)

P/J
12-24-2008, 05:59 PM
If you are not taking breaks, make sure you are being payed. Many places automatically take out 30min of pay for lunch (as it is an unpayed break).

Check with your employment agreement as to how long you are entitled for. My work places are very strict on breaks, a 10-15min then a 30min, you can elect not to take it one day but you will be 'nagged' (in a kind way) to take it, as it is in your best interest and theirs.

darkogirlie
12-25-2008, 07:21 AM
Yeah I think I will ask about that today. I will make sure I get one if it's being docked!

We have nurses called bank nurses here, they are basically temps and I'm going to try and get on bank. You can nurse on many wards, choose the shifts you like and can cancel within 72hrs if you can't work. A luxury it seems at the moment.

P/J
12-25-2008, 06:00 PM
Be careful of giving up a full time job just to go onto bank. Although Bank is good for the reasons you have already stated, the work can be sporadic and had to always get. Some of the hospitals in my city put a stop to unnececerry leave (sick, annual (by asking for better planing, doctor's cert and cutting budgets) as a result the work for Bank and Agency nurses majorly reduced for a few months (not good if you are relying on it).

Just test the waters, and make sure you have some savings (don't spend your whole pay check each week).

darkogirlie
12-27-2008, 07:13 AM
Well I spoke to some nurses yesterday who were nice. An email has been sent to my team leader about my shifts, so hopefully NY will be sorted. And have learned that we don't get any money docked for breaks. But they are still sticking by their guns on breaks.

Apparently were only entitled to a 1/2hr break on a 14hr shift. No other breaks are given.

Mr Ian
12-27-2008, 07:20 AM
Thanks for that. I just assumed that was the case, as I generally don't see anyone taking breaks and it was a senior nurse who informed me I'm not entitled.

I'm ex UK - and i'm aware some managers in the NHS are a little on the self-important side.

1. You will have a contract of working hours. This is legally binding on both parts and they cannot expect you to work over that without remuneration.
2. Not sure but I tihnk EU WTD (Working Time Directive) gives guidance on this. I recall it expemted certain parts of health care workers in terms of how long they could work without a break.
3. Where's Julie? :proud:

Here in Oz my state has an agreement that nurses working over 8 hours straight get paid overtime. If you don't get your break in the first 5 hours - you're on OT rate until you do get it. If your break gets interrupted by work - then you have the right to START IT AGAIN!
If someone was having a bad day - I used to call my staff half way through their break and say:
"Hi, just wanted to check if you knew that under the nurses agreement that if I interrupt your break with work related business, you can start it again?"
And they'd take another 30 minutes from then.:cheers:

darkogirlie
12-27-2008, 06:22 PM
That's a great idea, what type of working do you do? You'd think with mental health we'd be able to sort out a break rota..it's not like a&e but we are always busy with paitents needs.

Mr Ian
12-30-2008, 09:21 AM
I was in secure mental health - but the nursing agreement is state wide so it effects every nurse in a govt position.

I've recently gone 8-4 mon-fri and it's harder to get routine breaks! (but that's my own time management and being super excited like a schoolboy - but don't tell anyone as I pretend to be mature on these professional forums.)

Mother Jones, RN
12-30-2008, 10:31 AM
I worked 13 hours yesterday without a break. It was terrible. I people wonder why there is a nursing shortage. Duh!

MJ

darkogirlie
01-01-2009, 07:05 PM
It is terrible, I think I may see if the NHS has some kind of forum about this type of thing. Stay strong MN! :)

ianursing22
01-13-2013, 10:05 PM
I occasionally miss my lunch especially if it's toxic in the area!Though I think it should be my new year's resolution to become healthy in general=)