To provide high-quality care for the patient it is essential for the nursing staff to have enough time for recovery from long hours of demanding work. Eight-hour shifts for hospital nurses have become a standard of the past. Nowadays, 12-hour shifts for three days a week have become typical in most hospitals as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (Stimpfel, Sloane & Aiken, 2012). The length of the shifts and the working days; however, are often unpredictable due to increased demand for patient care and high census episodes. Nursing shortages, along with a weak economy, have left hospital nurses with no choice, then to work extended hours and overtime. Long hour shifts, as well as mandatory overtime, has become an increasing …show more content…
173). For many workers the schedule was an outlet for discontent; this is because many were forced to work six days a week, some weeks without a day off (Lynaugh, 2000). Nowadays, “60% of U.S. nurses surveyed work at least one type of overtime […] 54% work less than 12 hours a week overtime and 46% work 12 hours or more per week” (Wheatley, 2017, p.213). In addition, traditionally nurse’s shifts were eight hours long; however, in 1980’s -1990’s when structural changes in healthcare occurred and cost containment was put in, nurses started working 12-hour shifts. Because it was less expensive to work 12-hours shifts, instead of 8-hours, this became prevalent in most hospitals in the United States (Weathley, 2017). Over the years, continued efforts by nurses from different states and professional nursing associations focused on influencing policymakers through strikes, lobbying and policy drafts to develop and promote regulation in regards to nursing overtime and long hours shifts. Fortunately, throughout years small, successfully changes were adopted. For example, in 1938 Fair Labor Standards of Act (FLSA) was signet (Huston, 2017). Even though this act did not restrict on how much overtime one can work, instead the act obliges the payroll employer to pay every hour worked after 40 hours a week for at least one-and-a-half times (Huston, 2017). In 2005, Safe Nursing Patient Care Act was signed. This act prohibits hospital management to mandate nurses to wok more
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In the past two decades, a lot of changes have been characterised in the healthcare working systems. One of these changes has been the assimilation of shift work systems and the flexibility in work schedules. The need for 24 hour care makes the healthcare professions to work with different shift systems such as 12 h, 8 h, 9 h or 10 hour shifts. However, the common shift work systems divide a 24-h day in two (12-h) or three (8-h) shifts. Nonetheless, this requires the staff to be adapted with the various forms of shift work schedules.
Mandatory overtime is a major problem for RNs and health care in general. In consequence of unequal RN staffing, organizations have adopted mandatory overtime often as a cost savings factor. The purpose of this paper is to voice nurses concerns about the health influences of long-term overtime and the quality of care that they provide.
Reasons for mandatory overtime varies from natural disaster to lack of staff. Many companies, organizations, and hospitals require mandatory overtime because of staffing issues. “Increasingly, however, nurses are reporting that mandatory overtime has become standard operating procedure instead of a last resort to short staffing. In fact, in some hospitals, mandatory overtime is routinely used in an effort to keep fewer people on the payroll, as well as to alleviate immediate shortage needs.” (Huston,
The purpose of this paper is to discuss two things: the legislative process, and workplace issues, more specifically mandatory overtime. Once the legislative process is explained I will go into discussing the issue of mandatory overtime when it comes to registered nurses. Pros and cons of mandatory overtime will be viewed. Once that evidence is presented, I will continue to discuss my position and provide support for my stance. After I have done that, I will include a letter written to local legislators stating my position.
In October 1998 the new European Working Time Directive was implemented. Its purpose was to prevent employers from expecting their employees to work excessively long hours. This meant that doctors were only allowed to work an average of 48 hours a week. As a result Registered Nurses had to take on tasks that were previously only performed by doctors taking them away from the patient’s bedside. In March
As a result, overtime can compromise patients ' health or safety. Medical residents cited fatigue as a cause for their serious mistakes in four out of 10 cases (Boodman 2001), and two studies linked infection outbreaks at hospitals to overtime work (Arnow et al. 1982; and Russell et al. 1983). Indeed, the California Nurses Association reports that more nurses are refusing to work in hospitals with unsafe conditions, in which they include being forced to work unplanned overtime. The American Nurses Association (ANA), in a national survey of 7,300 of its members, found, disturbingly, that 56% of nurses believe that the time they have available for care for each patient has decreased, and 75% feel that the quality of patient care at their own facility has decreased in the last two years. The cited inadequate staffing as the chief reason.
For some nurses, mandatory overtime can be an advantage due to financial instability but mostly mandatory overtime can cause fatigue, burnout, injuries, errors, inadequate sleep and deficits in performance. According to research working long hours which consists more than 40 hours a week or over 12 hours a day leads to an increased medication errors and patient mortality. The probability of making medication errors increases tremendously when nurses work longer than 12.5 hours a day. During surveys regarding reasons of overtime, 60 % of nurses stated that overtime was obligatory as part of their job, 29 % of nurses stated that they volunteered and 41% of nurses stated that they were “on call hours” (Bae, 2012)
Nurse staffing have an effect on a variety of areas within nursing. Quality of care is usually affected. Hospitals with low staffing tend to have higher incidence of poor patient outcomes. Martin, (2015) wrote an article on how insufficient nursing staff increases workload and job dissatisfaction, which in effect decreases total patient care over all. When nurse staffing is inadequate, the ability to practice ethically becomes questionable. Time worked, overtime, and total hours per week have significant effect on errors. When nurses works long hours, the more likely errors will be made. He also argued that inadequate staffing not only affects their patients but also their loved ones, future and current nursing staff, and the hospitals in which they are employed. An unrealistic workload may result in chronic fatigue, poor sleep patterns, and absenteeism thus affecting the patients they take care of.
According to the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act, requiring nurses to work overtime would be “strictly limited” (ANA, 2005). This bill has been proposed in response to the nursing shortage within the United States. This is imperative to maintaining the quality of nursing care and patient safety that we provide to our patients. The bill proposes that nurses and licensed practical nurses should not be forced to work overtime, or receive retaliation/discrimination due to refusal (ANA, 2005). In addition, the bill proposes that more studies be done to learn the
Mandatory overtime in the field of nursing is described as forced overtime to maintain an adequate amount of staff present to meet the needs of the hospital. With a normal work schedule, a nurse usually works 12-hour shifts, usually three times a week. With the obligatory hours that are extended with overtime due to the continuation of nursing shortages, a nurse’s shift can be continued ranging from 12 to 16 hours, with very short notice. This mandatory action is related to putting not only nurses, but also patient’s health at risk. The advantages that accompany mandatory overtime are overshadowed by the disadvantages that surpass the benefits of working extended hours, therefore, mandatory overtime should not be allowed in the nursing work place.
Mandatory overtime has become an increasing problem for nurses who work in many hospital settings. Mandatory overtime is defined as additional hours added to a nurse’s current shift, making the nurse feel as if it’s a threat of being fired or disciplinary action will be taken in some form if they refuse to stay and work. Extensive overtime studies have established and confirmed that there are serious dangers to both the nurse and the patient being cared for in all types of healthcare settings.
Patients in a hospital and/or healthcare facilities have to be cared for all day and all night, everyday of the week by nurses. The usual way to fulfill this need is to divide up the day into three 8-hour shifts. Different shifts have been put into place to help improve nurse satisfaction, decrease the nursing shortage and save the hospital money. The 24-hour day is made up of two 12-hour shifts; 12 hours in the day and 12 hours at night. There has been quite an ongoing debate over the years regarding this issue of nurses working over 8 hours in a single day. Many people, such as hospital nursing administrators, have reason to believe that working long hour shifts causes more errors in
Limited attention has been paid to the hours worked by nurses, or the effects of these hours on patient safety (Rogers, 2008). Even though most nurses favor 12- hour shifts and overtime, it is associated with difficulties staying awake during times of duty, reduced sleep times, and triple the risk of making an error (Rogers, 2008). The most significant risk of making an error occurred when nurses were scheduled to work 12.5 hours or more.
The risks of making an error were significantly increased when work shifts were longer than twelve hours, when nurses worked overtime, or when they worked more than forty hours per week. (Trossman, 2009). Working longer hours in a high stress area will always increase the error rate. Designating an adequate number of RN positions to ensure nurses work an appropriate schedule without overtime and that their workload allows for breaks. Managerial staff must work to develop specific policies about the length of work times based on the setting, patient and provider needs. Those policies should limit nurses from working more than 12.5 consecutive hours. Provide education for all care providers on the hazards and causes of fatigue. Continue to document unsafe staffing conditions and work with others to change the current work culture so that it recognizes the effects of fatigue on patient safety, as well as the nurse. (Berger, et al. 2006)