RCN launches campaign urging nursing staff to take breaks

The Royal College of Nursing has published a suite of resources designed to encourage staff to rest, rehydrate and refuel.

The RCN has today launched the 3Rs initiative to coincide with Nutrition and Hydration Awareness Week - which runs run from the 12th to the 18th of March.

According to the union, the campaign is designed to make staff think about the consequences of not looking after themselves while on shift. Highlighting the safety-critical decisions staff take on a daily basis and how dehydration can affect concentration and cognitive function.


It emphasises that breaks at work are a necessity and not a luxury and encourages members to complete incident forms when they are unable to take breaks at work.

Image: Royal College of Nursing

Earlier this month NHS staff survey results revealed that 58% of NHS staff worked additional unpaid hours and 38% of staff reported feeling unwell due to work-related stress.

In 2018 a House of Commons select committee report recognised the importance of rest breaks and access to hot food and drink for nursing staff and called on the Chief Nursing Officer to take a lead and ensure nursing staff are working in safe and acceptable working conditions.

Kim Sunley, RCN National Officer, said:

“Employers and managers need to recognise that in order to create safe and healthy working environments, nurses should be able to have regular breaks and have access to drinking water and healthy food during a shift, be that in the community or on a ward.”

“Missed breaks have become the norm and this is not sustainable.”

The campaign will also ensure employers understand the responsibilities they hold in ensuring staff take appropriate breaks.

You can download the rest, rehydrate and refuel information packs here.

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