Something concrete every nurse, their friends, and families can do right now today is to write to their congressmen to urge them to support Rep. Tom Lantos bill HR 5179 which would BAN MANDATORY OVERTIME for health care workers. I know I have personally experience an increase in the use of this method of addressing staffing shortages. I feel it will ultimately just send nurses down the fast track to burn out. Please write your congressmen today. Feel free to copy the letter below. WRITE TODAY! DON'T DELAY!
Also get involved in the grassroots movement by nurses to raise public awareness to these issues. Visit www.allnurses.com/million.html
I am a nurse working in a hospital. I am experiencing first hand the effect reductions in reimbursements by Medicare and insurance companies have had on hospitals nationwide. In their effort to adjust to these cutbacks, hospitals have restructured by reducing staff in all areas, including nursing. The result has been to create a work environment that is so stress filled and unrealistic in it's expectations, that the safety of patients and ability of the nurses delivering care, is now under scrutiny (Chicago Tribune, 9/10/2000).
Nurses have tried to communicate the breakdown in the system to no avail.
The response given to nurses has been: take it or leave it. Usually followed with the ominous warning: it's going to get worse! Nurses have chosen to leave their profession in droves, rather than risk their license and/or peace of mind, trying to function in such an environment. As a consequence we now have a critical shortage of nurses. The ANA
(American Nurses Association) has recently labeled this shortage of nurses a "public
The stoic few who have chosen to stick it out in the frontlines of nursing are routinely subjected to inadequate staffing. The use of mandatory overtime is
becoming the norm, sending more nurses down the fast track of burn out. If we
ever hope to reverse the flight of nurses from the profession and increase the numbers
choosing it as a profession, this vicious cycle must be broken.
I urge you to support Rep Tom Lantos bill, HR 5179, to ban mandatory overtime for health care workers. I feel this is the first small step toward restoring nursing to the noble, rewarding, and desirable profession it once was.