Mandatory Overtime Should Be Mandatory

2005 Words9 Pages
Mandatory Overtime
Mandatory overtime has been up for debate for quite some time. It is defined as hospitals having the need to maintain sufficient numbers of staff through forced overtime totaling twelve to sixteen hours worked with only an hour’s notice to the nurse. These nurses feel that they are not able to refuse mandatory overtime because of fatigue or having the feeling of not being able to provide safe patient care. Mandated overtime is cases such as a mass causality or an unforeseen emergency however do not fall into this category. Some states have regulations in place that prevents this but ultimately it is up to the hospital on whether or not it will be followed. A mandatory resolution was approved on March 15, 2001 stating
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Mandatory overtime conflicts with this goal. I feel that leadership and overtime go hand and hand because nurses not only have to take care of themselves physically but also be effectively able to know their own limitations.
Understandably management has a difficult role to fulfil. They have to manage schedules, deal with call ins, and nursing shifts. Most health care facilities use mandatory overtime to correct understaffing. This can lead to multiple errors in the health care system. There are also many health risks that not only affect the nurses but the patients as well. The main health and safety issues associated with mandatory overtime are prolonged exposure to hazards, fatigue, ethical issues, and burnout. (Worthington, 2001) These issues can also put the patients that the nurses care for at risk, and have a negative impact on patient satisfaction.
The word mandatory is defined as required by law or by rules stated by an employer. The word overtime is defined as time that is worked beyond one’s scheduled time. In the health care industry, registered nurses face mandatory overtime every day due to staffing issues. “By far the riskiest result of understaffing is the abuse of mandatory overtime as a staffing tool.” (Steinbrook, 2002) Unfortunatley, nurses are being told that if they refuse to work the mandatory overtime when asked they face possible termination from employment or being reported for patient abandonment.
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