health management case study bending the break

Assume you are the supervisor of a hospital admitting department and also responsible for the reception area and information center (switchboard and main lobby desk).

Like other employees, your people are entitled to 15-minute breaks in both morning and afternoon. Most of your employees have some flexibility as to when they can take breaks, but the person who works the switchboard and the one who works the main lobby desk have breaks scheduled for specific times because you have to provide relief for them. You often have no one to spare, so much of the time you provide their relief yourself.

This was a horrible week. Two key people were absent most of the week, admitting activity was up, and a few other problems popped up. You personally had to relieve Alice, the switchboard operator, for morning breaks the entire week.

One Monday and Tuesday Alice stayed on break about 20 minutes. Wednesday she was gone 25 minutes, and both Thursday and Friday she stretched her morning breaks to a half hour. With all the work you had to do, you felt you couldn’t tolerate such lengthy breaks, so on Friday you spoke with Alice about her practice of taking longer than the allowed time.

Alice’s response was, “I can’t help it. The coffee shop is all jammed up most of the morning. Two days last week I didn’t get coffee at all, and another day I got it but didn’t have time to drink it, all so I could get back here in 15 minutes. I know I’m supposed to have only 15 minutes, but the way things are in that coffee shop I can’t get served, enjoy my coffee, and get back in time.”

You also checked with the employee at the reception desk who echoed Alice’s complaint about the coffee shop and added, “What we’d really like is to have our own coffee supply nearby. But you know as well as I do that the big boss forbids coffee pots and cups in office and public areas. Except, of course,” she added with a skyward glance, “for the coffee maker in his own office.”

You checked with a number of your admitting employees and learned that most of them, not stuck with specific break times, had learned how to take advantage of fluctuations in the morning crowd at the coffee shop. But as far as you were able to determine, the morning coffee break appeared on average to consume 5 or 6 minutes longer than the allotted 15 because of waiting time.


Written responses should range in length from 250-350 words. Your response should be thoughtfully organized and free from typos. Post your response under the appropriate Discussion Board thread before Thursday at 11:59pm. Postings are worth 10 points total. For full credit, you must cite at least one page in our textbook or other reference material (journal article, website, Power Point slides, etc.). Use APA style citations.

Questions to guide your response:

1. How might you go about solving the problem of having coffee available to your employees and still accomplish the morning break within the allowed time?

2. What other possibilities might you explore?

3. What considerations are important in this case?

4. What will your thought process be leading up to your decision? How will you approach the problem?

Chapter 6 and 16

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