Short Staffing = No Breaks = Unsafe Patient Care
The issue of meal and rest breaks has plagued nurse for many years. It has never
been about nurses not wanting to take their breaks. It is about real
concerns related to staffing and the ability to provide SAFE
Patient Care. It is about hospitals having enough STAFF to meet the requirements
of the law to provide rest breaks.
Missed meal and rest breaks have a direct relationship to short staffing which can
lead to unsafe patient care. Missed meal and rest breaks are a direct result
of the lack of commitment to provide adequate staffing. Missed meal and rest breaks
force you to work exhausted and lead to increased medical and medication errors,
thus putting both Your Patients - and YOU - in jeopardy.
We don’t think it is unreasonable to expect to be able to stop and rest for 15 minutes
every 4 hours … do you?
As a Registered Nurse working in Washington:
Did You Know?
- You are entitled to an unpaid meal period of one-half (1/2) hour if you work five
(5) or more hours.
- You are entitled to one (1) fifteen minute break halfway through every four (4)
hours of work.
- You are entitled to compensation if you are required to remain on duty or in your
unit during your meal period.
- You are entitled to compensation for your missed rest breaks.
- Short staffing results in you not getting your breaks and in unsafe patient care.
WSNA Is Fighting For You!
- Filed grievances at numerous facilities on missed breaks, Settlement reached at
Virginia Mason Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.
- Won Arbitration decisions on missed breaks at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Yakima
Regional Medical & Heart Center.
- Pursuing the Department of Labor & Industries to change State Regulations on
missed Breaks for Nurses.
What You Can Do!
- Follow your contract, if you miss your meal/break period, document
on your time card and keep your own personal record of missed breaks.
- Complete an ADO form and distribute to your manager with a copy
to your local unit chair and your WSNA Nurse Representative
- To file a complaint with the L & I, notify your Nurse Representative
at WSNA for the paperwork and instructions.