Many of the nurses at the MMCSC/BHBHC are forced to work without the luxury of a break or lunch during their 12 hour shift due to the chronic short staffing that plagues their facilities. The current staffing issue leaves nurses unable to take full breaks except briefly for the rest room or to get something that they can eat at the nursing station.
Management has stated that if a nurse is forced to eat their meals at the nursing station, that it is not considered a lunch and they would therefore be entitled to their "30-minute" pay.
Nurses, particularly those who work in psychiatric units and ERs, care for patients who are verbally or physically abusive. Nurses at both facilities have been involved in violent incidents, including patients with possession of knives, and even patients who are physically and verbally abusive.
“Recent studies and news reports suggest that when agitation escalates into full blown assault, nurses are often the victims. Accordingly nurses are protesting what they say are inadequate protections in the workplace” (AJN, Feb. 2007).