Answer Discussion



Upper management in acute hospitals has long been concerned about staffing shortages, which has been at the forefront of healthcare challenges in the past. A large number of research have found a link between nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes. Low nurse staffing levels not only result in poor patient outcomes, but they also have a negative impact on the nurse’s job satisfaction and contribute to nurse burnout. In addition, nurses are more likely than the general population to become mentally and physically exhausted, as well as to face workplace violence. The nursing profession is the one that is most vulnerable to workplace violence, and the majority of these actions are perpetrated by patients and their relatives, as well as by coworkers and managers (Bernardes et al., 2021). When a nurse has more patients than she or he can adequately care for, she or he feels the additional weight of not having aid and having to shoulder increased workload and duties. It was reported by Crystal Martin in 2015 that “job discontent among nurses is four times greater than the overall rate of dissatisfaction among U.S. workers, and one in every five nurses reports that they aim to quit their job within a year.” That is a scary statistic to take in at this point.Healthcare professionals are simply overburdened. It is common for them to work in circumstances that are chaotic, high-pressure, and non-stop. As a result of low job satisfaction among nurses, the number of nurses who quit and those who become burned out increases. A high nurse-to-patient ratio is one of the most significant factors contributing to an increase in medical errors. Another factor contributing to nurses’ feelings of overwork is the assumption that they will work 12-hour shifts without the opportunity to take the food and restroom breaks to which they are legally entitled. The majority of the time, nurses are simply too busy to take time off during a shift to restock their supplies, rest, and use the restroom. Every hour a nurse spends on the job each day, including each shift and overtime, and every week has a direct impact on patient safety (Martin, 2015). Patient’s may begin to feel abandoned and frustrated with the lack of attention they are receiving as a result of nurses being overworked and overburdened with their patient load. Patient dissatisfaction might then manifest itself in the form of aggression against employees, whether it be physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual assault.

For years, the California Board of Nursing has continually been at the forefront of the nation’s efforts to transform healthcare practice, and it just enacted a new regulation requiring each nurse to take periodic breaks. Every five hours, a nurse is entitled to one 30-minute break and one 10-minute break, both of which must be taken in separate locations. Breaks would be divided between two 30-minute breaks and two 10-minute breaks during a 12-hour shift (Bernal, 2018). Given that this rule has not yet been established in the rest of the country, each state’s Board of Nursing and nurse advocates would need to collaborate with their respective state lawmakers in order to enact this into law. What would be even better is to make it a national legislation that would be enforced by all healthcare systems to ensure that nurses had healthier and safer working conditions by requiring them to take breaks during lengthy hours of work.

It is sad that nurses cannot put their faith in our healthcare systems to protect them and their patients’ best interests. It takes numerous debates, a long period of time, and even the passage of legislation to ensure that we as healthcare workers are protected. Given the above example, the California Board of Nursing (BON) was required to go above and beyond the healthcare system by involving the government in the creation and mandate of a legislation that would be enforced and followed, improve nurses’ working conditions, and assist with staffing shortages. If employers do not comply with the provisions of the law requiring nurses to take rest breaks, the nurses will risk severe fines for failing to comply with the provisions. During the coronavirus pandemic, nurses in California held protests and nursing staff in numerous hospitals went on strike to express their genuine dissatisfaction with labor law violations, such as inadequate staffing, which caused them to work through meal and rest intervals (Spicer, 2020). If hospitals in the rest of the country want to find solutions to their high nursing turnover and burnout rates, they must start by adopting California’s standards of practice as a starting point. California is definetely moving in the right direction in providing their nurses ample breaks to hydrate and eat.  Needs that are amongst the basic needs of human existence. We can only hope that legislation amongst the states moves toward better treatment.


Bernal, C. (2018, October 23). Healthcare compliance with California meal break law.

Bernardes, M. L. G., Karino, M. E., Martins, J. T., Okubo, C. V. C., Galdino, M. J. Q., & Moreira, A. A. O. (2021, February 11). Workplace violence among nursing professionals.

Martin, C. J. (2015). The Effects of Nurse Staffing on Quality of Care. MEDSURG Nursing, 4–6.

Spicer, C. (2020, December 11). How do California nurse labor laws protect nurses? Top Class Actions.