Mandatory Overtime And Its Effects On Patients

1437 Words Nov 18th, 2014 6 Pages
Mandatory Overtime and Its Effects on Patients Outcome

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
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(How much mandatory overtime do nurses work, 2000).
A study created by Dr Rogers, where 393 Registered Nurses across the U.S were asked to keep a journal for two weeks regarding “ their hours worked, time of the day worked, overtime hours, days off, patterns of sleep and awake hours and errors or near errors made while they were working”. The data collected from the study consisted of a total of 5,317 shifts, and the conclusion from the information gathered was that” registered nurses worked longer then scheduled on daily basis and worked more than 40 hours a week, 38.7% of the registered nurses were scheduled to work shifts extending 12 hours, 14 % of R.N worked 16 or more straight hours at least once during the 2 week period”. Also the longest shift worked that was reported was 23 hours and 40 minutes, other findings from the study stated that” two thirds of nurses worked overtime at least 10 times during the two week period., and the participants of the study reported that overtime was obligatory 10% of the 5,317 shifts”. Based on the information gathered from the study, Dr. Rogers was able to prove that there is a significant impact regarding patient safety and an increased chance of error in health care when nurses work excessive overtime. When the study was published 10 states started to create laws on restricting mandatory overtime. (The Costs of Mandatory Overtime for Nurses, 2004)

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