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Nurses eating on shift...

(576 Posts)
PatsyAndEddy Fri 12-Jul-13 20:44:24

Just back from hospital visiting a friend who had her tonsils out today. She had to fast from 10 pm last night and didn't get taken for her op until 2pm, that's a long time without food for anyone!

She missed dinner on the ward but they got her a sandwich but she's really sore and hungry!

On the ward her bed is right next to the nurses station. She said they were sitting munching on a large bag of kettle chips in front of her between the three of them. She commented on how she thought that was a but mean, they snapped back saying 'well we have to eat' at which point my friend reminded them that's what they're breaks were for.

I don't think she's flavour of the month in the ward! She can be a bit of a grump at the best of times but starving, sore and groggy I think she reached her limit!

We're the nurses being unreasonable, eating on shift?

HeadFairy Fri 12-Jul-13 21:02:46

Kettle chips are absolutely the right thing for a post tonsilectomy snack. I was made to eat crisps and crackers. Apparently it helps healing much more than the jelly and ice cream of old.

Callmedreckly Fri 12-Jul-13 21:03:07

The last two hospitals that I have worked in have not got a canteen.

There was one vending machine, (that hardly ever worked) & we weren't allowed to leave the ward, so if they ask you to stay on for a double shift things get desperate!

Now Im going to sound grumpy but somedays all I seemed to do was arrange flowers! ( I was a health care assistant) It drove me mad when visitors would shove a bunch of flowers in your face & say - could you put these in water.

I wanted to shout NOOOO I haven't got time!


WorraLiberty Fri 12-Jul-13 21:03:20


She wasn't starving, she was just very hungry.

Whether they were eating crisps or not, chances are your friend would have been thinking about food anyway.

LustyBusty Fri 12-Jul-13 21:04:12

patsy could you not have gone and got her a sandwich/crisps/chocolate?

princesspuds Fri 12-Jul-13 21:04:19

I'm sorry but your friend is BU, most times nurses don't get much time to have a break and tbh, 16 hours without food isn't that long.

My dd who was 8 at the time had a big op (18 hrs long) in Feb, she had to fast from about midnight on the Tuesday evening, and was not allowed to eat or drink fluids until 6 days later, she was only given IV fluids, she got a little upset at first but then coped fine, plus she was right outside where the nurses station was.

The nurses do a really hard job and unfortunately have to grab food on the go, if they get that opportunity, I think your friend should cut them some slack.

Justforlaughs Fri 12-Jul-13 21:05:26

I don't think that nurses having something to eat during their shift is a problem, however I was slightly less understanding when my midwife was too busy cramming a doughnut into her mouth to deliver my DS3 (the auxillary nurse did the job!) and the time that I had my appendix out and spent the entire night running round after a confused elderly man while 3 nurses sat in their nurses station drinking coffee and eating cakes.

maddening Fri 12-Jul-13 21:05:54

they were in the nurses station not eating over a patient.

if they have no time for breaks I'd rather they eat than have to make decisions hungry with low blood sugar.

PatsyAndEddy Fri 12-Jul-13 21:06:00

I took her in lots of goodies! At that point she was still really sure though, I left her tentatively nibbling a sarnie I took in!

AnyFucker Fri 12-Jul-13 21:06:54

You and your friend think nurses get breaks when they should ?


WorraLiberty Fri 12-Jul-13 21:07:06

And actually declaring she had to go 18hrs without food is misleading (although technically true).

She would have eaten that day before 10pm

So say she wakes up at 6am for example, she only had to go until 2pm without any food.

Uncomfortable maybe but not a big deal.

ItsAFuckingVase Fri 12-Jul-13 21:07:55

I don't get it - why couldn't your friend eat? Because of her tonsils being removed? - so nobody should eat in her presence for fear of upsetting her, even though nobody could do anything to allow her to eat crisps.
Or because she had no crisps? In which case there's generally a shop in most hospitals where you can purchase all manner of snacks.

Without you knowing the staffing situation on the ward, you're being almightily unreasonable. That may have been the only thing those nurses managed to eat all shift! But then I suppose that if you were in hospital and needed a nurse, you'd be perfectly fine to a told to wait as they were on their break!

pleiadianpony Fri 12-Jul-13 21:09:11

marriedinwhiteagain I've read some of your other posts and thought you were of a very sound view on most things. Perhaps everything!!

This you are not. Some nurses are unprofessional and lazy yes, but the failings are systemic.

Nursing isn't about tiptoeing around, arranging flowers, mopping brows and taking temperatures. It's an often relentless and grinding. The practice you saw is probably the result of incredibly low morale, crap management and people exploiting a tiny 5 minutes for some light relief.

We are lucky to have the NHS in this country. Sadly it is falling apart and individual nurses ability to maintain standards 24/7 under these conditions is impossible. They are human beings not robots.

People need to get a grip of their sense of entitlement and see the bigger picture.

DfanjoUnchained Fri 12-Jul-13 21:09:37

Your friend was just ratty with hunger. She wasnt dying of starvation while the nurses ate infront of her fgs. Nurses work bloody hard for shit pay, let them eat a few crisps!

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Fri 12-Jul-13 21:10:40

3littlefrogs is correct - What is a break?
Our ward was often so busy we didn't get a break.
Have you ever worked for 13 hours straight without a drink or food, and holding a wee for the majority of that shift as you can't leave the bay you are working in?
A trip to the toilet was classed as a treat on our ward.
Yet parents once complained as they saw us "Sat chatting at the desk" - we were having a catch up as there had just been a Drs round and there had been important changes to care!

Whilst it is not ideal to eat at the desk sometimes it is a necessity. Your friend is an adult I assume, and therefore understands why she has to be fasted?

PatsyAndEddy Fri 12-Jul-13 21:11:39

Fwiw when I was in at 6 there were 5 nurses and 4 beds filled though obviously I don't know what the bed distortion was like earlier in the day.

I get that it's a busy job. I'm not saying they were out were not being unreasonable, just relaying the experience!

WouldBeHarrietVane Fri 12-Jul-13 21:13:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pleiadianpony Fri 12-Jul-13 21:14:11

They were probably looking after another 10 beds further down the corridor, you just don't see that. NO hospital is going to have 5 nurses for 4 beds.

softlysoftly Fri 12-Jul-13 21:15:16

How rude is your friend! So what if they eat

Sirzy Fri 12-Jul-13 21:16:10

Whenever DS is in hospital the nurses on night shift share their goodies with me - a bonus of being a regular on there I guess!

Most of the time the nurses won't get a break, if they did then patients would be complaining that they were having to wait too long to see one.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 12-Jul-13 21:17:03

She'd hate it on our ward.

Day case surgery patients have to sit in the patients lounge waiting to be called to theatre. Have been nil by mouth since the previous evening and might not get called till 4pm.

Breakfast is served in there till10am so it smells of lovely toast, some in patients will have their lunch in there!

Yes, nurses often don't get breaks.....however I've never eaten at the nurses station apart from on night shifts. I'd be shot, we're only allowed water at the desk.

AlanMoore Fri 12-Jul-13 21:17:13

married you are of course correct to extrapolate that because you saw that happen once, it happens every shift on every ward in every hospital...

I hope all the teachers and HVs are enjoying their respite from being the most hated professional groups on mumsnet grin

what's with all the nurse-bashing lately? Have David Nicholson and Jeremy Hunt registered on here?

idiot55 Fri 12-Jul-13 21:17:20

Nurses do get their breaks, it would be illegal and unions would be going mad if the didn't, however sisters, charge nurses tend not to.

I've spent a lot od time on hospital and watched them going off ward for breaks. I do think it was unreasonable to eat in front of patients, what if a patient felt nauseous ! Blooming selfish.

PatsyAndEddy Fri 12-Jul-13 21:18:24

Small 12 bed day surgery ward, no hidden corridor lurking.

I don't mean to sound defensive although it inevitable that is going till skins that way when answering questions. No doubt it had been busier. When the handover came in just before 8 it felt very nurse heavy, think there was just the 3 for the night. All very pleasant.

Madratlady Fri 12-Jul-13 21:19:13

A good day is one where you get your 30 mins lunch break, at around lunchtime, uninterrupted.

An amazing day is one where you get a tea break in the morning a afternoon and actually get to go home on time.

Neither of those happen that often and shifts last 13 hours.

It might have been better for them to leave the crisps off the ward and just nip into the office/staff room/wherever and grab a couple now and then.

People do like to criticise nurses though. We're all lazy ad can't do anything right apparently hmm

marriedinwhiteagain Fri 12-Jul-13 21:20:51

Pielandandpony - I don't remember the loud chatter and laughter going on for five minutes - more like 45. I'm afraid I've never seen an overworked nurse or midwife when I've been in hospital. They have had time to spend 20 minutes telling me they are overworked but never time to pull their fingers out when required. DS was the only baby born in the hosp on christmas day ( until 3pm anyway) there we're four midwives; two women and babies until then - they didn't have time to show me how to bath ds - it was the ward assistant's job and she wasn't in until the 27th. Oh yesn vey impressive, very overworked. Suddenly remembers midwife who told Dh to get tea in abour, then said she was going for something to eat and left me on my own unable to reach the emergency button when the heartbeat disappeared on the monitor. She'd only been in ther for about 90 mins and as I've said there were more midwives on duty than women in labouir. Yep, really hardworking and caring. DS ended up being resuscitated.

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