Take Your Break, Damn You!

You think this might be problematic?

A memo demanding staff at the Royal Alexandra Hospital take their contractually required breaks has puzzled and alarmed members of the United Nurses of Alberta.


The memo issued on Monday was addressed to all medicine registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing attendants, service workers and unit clerks.

It said, in part: “If a break is going to be missed for any reason, it must be approved in advance by management. Failure to comply with contract compliant breaks will be dealt with appropriately.”

Clearly, managers at Alberta Health Services are clueless and dull.* Especially clueless.  You can imagine the conversation.

Nurse: I need to skip my break.

Manager: Did you get prior approval?

Nurse: No, but. . .

[Heard overhead: Code Blue! 2535! Code Blue! 2535. . .]

Manager: Then you must take your break as outlined in the memo. Clearly you are not organizing your time properly.

Nurse:  But my patient is coding!

Manager: If you were more efficient with your time, you would be able to manage both a code and your coffee break.

Nurse: He’s turning blue!

Manager: Perhaps you need to stop finding excuses.

Nurse: Okay. Do you mind coming down to do compressions then? I’m going for coffee!



*Ostensibly, the reason for this memo could be that nurses would have to be paid overtime for missed breaks. Hence it’s a “quick win” for managers trying to reign in costs.

That would be a charitable view.  The noncharitable is view is that it’s an attempt to bully nurses by some control freak managers.

Either way, it’s still an exercise in stupidity.


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