Contemporary Health Issue

1425 Words Sep 1st, 2006 6 Pages
Contemporary Health Issue 1

Contemporary Health Issue Part II: Mandatory Overtime

Contemporary Health Issue 2
The Legislative Process Behind Limiting Mandatory Overtime
Introduction

Nurses of the 21 century are expected to act quickly and appropriately when confronted with various complex clinical situations in this competitive healthcare market. Nurses cannot do so if they lack the fundamental knowledge of the regulations and statutes that have been established by their particular State Board of Nursing and the government. Therefore, it is imperative that the nurses have a solid understanding of the legislative process, as it could affect the way in which he/she delivers quality patient care. This paper will discuss
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History of Similar Legislation If someone were to ask what the job description of "today's nurse" is, what would the answer be? A nurse is a professional who provides holistic quality patient care but is mandated to work hours in excess of their scheduled shift. Unfortunately, mandatory overtime has become a means of meeting staffing needs during this critical staffing shortage. The Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act of 2005 is just one bill in which the
Contemporary Health Issue 5 issue of mandatory overtime is the focal point. According to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), six states have enacted legislation restricting mandatory overtime for nurses and other healthcare workers. The following is excerpts taken from the SEIU website regarding those states that have recently enacted mandatory overtime legislation:
Maine. New legislation provides explicit job protection to nurses who refuse to work more than 12 consecutive hours excluding emergency cases that would affect patient care.
New Jersey. The state legislature passed S 2093 prohibiting health care facilities from mandating employees to work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, barring unexpected emergency situations. Overtime can be worked on a voluntary basis and employees are strictly protected from discrimination or dismissal for refusing overtime work.
Oregon. A bipartisan bill was passed ensuring that nurses
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