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Overtime And Fatigue

Decent Essays
In today’s society, overtime is the primary method that healthcare facilities are using to keep up with the high demand of staffing. Many employers mandate that healthcare workers work extra shifts and they threaten them with dismissal for insubordination, even to the point of reporting them to the state board of nursing for job abandonment.
Bae (2013) stated that working overtime is closely associated with the fatigue and sleep deprivation in nurses. Sleep deprivation causes fatigue. Fatigue is linked to difficulties in behavioral functioning. It slows reaction time. Overtime can cause injury to nurses.
Overtime is hours worked by an employee beyond a regularly fixed shift. It is determined by what the usual length of a shift is for an employee.
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The American Nurses Association implemented the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act of 2007 to limit the amount of time nurses work in overtime for organizations funded by Medicare. It is based on the theory that extra work hours have a negative impact on patients because it causes fatigue to healthcare providers. Legislation limiting overtime work hours only apply to when the overtime is mandated.
“Reduced rest and recovery time leads to physiologic depletion or exhaustion that continues into the next workday,” (Bae, 2012, p. 60).
In Pennsylvania, the Prohibition of Excessive Overtime in Health Care Act was enacted. The new law states that a healthcare facility may not require an employee to work beyond an agreed to, predetermined and regularly scheduled daily work shift unless there is an unavoidable situation. West Virginia passed new legislation, the Nurse Overtime and Patient Safety Act, altering the Code of WV. The 2007 amendment limits the maximum hours a nurse may be obliged to work and includes certified registered nurse anesthetists in the definition of nurse, while adding a definition of unanticipated emergency situation. Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, and New Jersey have legislations that forbid action against a nurse who declines mandatory overtime because it would endanger patient safety. Texas legislation demands hospitals to develop policy and procedures
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They can depreciate the mettle of providers, causing a job burnout. That will reduce their retention and make more openings, which forces the rest of the workers to work more overtime. Therefore, mandated overtime consequently worsens the shortage of staff and contributes to worker dissatisfaction. Some people, when they are tired, cannot concentrate on having normal conversations. They can get frustrated with their coworkers and patients, which causes poor communication. Healthcare workers that work overtime usually get less sleep and are more vulnerable to diseases and an imbalance of work and family. Providers experiencing fatigue can experience a decrease in energy and attention, slower reaction times, and are more likely to make medical errors. Nayab (2011) stated that the U.S. Department of Health and Human services reported that “16 out of the 22 major studies addressing general health effects associate overtime with poorer perceived general health, increased injury rates, more illnesses, and increased mortality” (para.
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