mandatory overtime

  1. I am a staff development instructor. I am very concern over the subject of mandatory overtime for nurses. Do you feel that mandatory overtime is an acceptable way of dealing with the nursing shortage? I would appreciate your comment and suggestions for resolving this crisis.
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  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   a-rose
    i think that "mandatory overtime " will make the nurses get fatigue in body and mend and detest nursing.
  4. by   catlady
    I would refuse to work in a place that had mandatory overtime. If everyone else refused, the issue would go away. You can't mandate staff you don't have.
  5. by   Gomer
    Lincoln freed the slaves over a hundred years ago.

    Except in cases of real emergencies, e.g., earthquakes, floods, planes crashing into buildings, etc. no one should be forced to work OT.

    Just say NO! What are they going to do, fire you?
  6. by   fergus51
    I would not work in a place that has mandatory OT.
  7. by   WashYaHands
    There have been many research studies that indicate that mandatory overtime affects patient safety. Pilots and Truck drivers by law are required to stop working and get rest after so many hours on the job. These laws are in place to protect the public. Why is it so hard for administrators to realize that after 8 - 12 hours of working, nurses are tired and not mentally as sharp as they could be, thus affecting patient safety.

    On another note, I have a family. I have a child care provider who expects me to pick up my children by a certain time. I can't just expect my child care provider to care for my children an additional 4 - 6 hours or more simply because the facility where I work doesn't have enough staff. I work hard to make sure my children are cared for so that I can work my obligated schedule. My employer should work hard to make sure I am able to leave work once that obligation is filled. I am a human being, not a machine.

    Linda
  8. by   fedupnurse
    Patty, I don't know what state you live in but here in NJ it was just made illegal to force OT on employees. It's not safe. It's also totally unfair. Why do hospital suits assume that nurses have no lives outside of work and/or that work is our number one priority? I just don't get that mentality!! I have seen so many people screwed over by mgmt. after giving 20 or 30 years of their lives to the place, that I learned very early on, Family, friends and self are always first on my list of priorities. Work is way down on the list. Sure if there was an emergency and I was available to leave my family, I'd go in to help out. But if my family needed me that's where I'd be. Mandatory OT burns people out very quickly. It leads to more errors and poor quality of care. I work 12 hour shifts and I work with people who stack their shifts 6 or 8 in a row so they can have a long stretch off. They will never admit that they are unsafe and tired, but let me tell you, by night 4 or 5 they are miserable to be around! Administration will have to close beds. Then they have to start undoing the damage they have been doing for the past 100 years or so, and start treating us like the professionals we are. They must acknowledge the fact that without us they wouldn't have their grossly over paid jobs. They must also acknowledge that we have lives and we are NOT at their beck and call. As was so eloquently stated by Gomer, slavery ended a long, long time ago.
    Last edit by fedupnurse on May 16, '02
  9. by   mattsmom81
    Management makes nurses feel guilty for leaving their coworkers up a creek without a paddle, unfortunately.

    We walk a fine line between tired and unsafe and we have to find our limit and make decisions good for us.

    If I make a mistake and injure a patient because I'm on my 20th hour of work and totally exhausted, I can lose my license. So it's not smart for us to push ourselves too far, IMO.
  10. by   Brownms46
    When I first started nursing...I worked at a County Hospital where MOT was the normal. And dumb me...worked as many as 80 hrs or more in a week...and thought nothing of it. Until I got my paycheck and found I had been taxed at twice the rate!!! Then I decided I would do just 16hr OT...and still thought those who worked OT were go getters...and totally cool! Boy was I dumb! Then I started seeing nurses make stupid mistakes because of being too tired to think correctly or quickly when they needed to. I think working OT on a regular basis....drains you...in an already stressful occupation. NO ....I don't think using MOT is an appropriate fix to the nursing shortage. Some people can work extra hours ..and have no difficulty in doing so. Others can barely handle full time...and OT is not in their or their pts best interest!
    The only way to fix the nursing shortage...is to provide safe staffing/pt ratios...and entice all those nurses who have been burnt out on MOT...and managements who don't care! Poor working conditions have created this shortage...by treating nurses as if they didn't matter....were a dime a dozen...and there were more where they came from. Well...I guess they were wrong weren't they. And now they want to claim...there is a shortage...and are starting to target a new generation ....to entice them into the profession. Well they had better fix the problems and the thinking of those in managment....who thought or think, ... there is a nurse out there on every corner....just waiting for them to tap them on the shoulder, and give them the privilege of being mistreated by their holinesses! Management would do better to be willing to treat nurses as professional s...instead of hand maidens, to do their bidding without question. To not try and threaten...or conjole them into being "team players "! We're tired of being the be all, and the end all for those who think they can just snap their fingers...and we jump! Those days are quickly coming to an end...and soon....unless much of how we're treated changes ...management will soon discover....that finding a warm body will be increasing more difficult...and finding a competent nurse will be come a rarity!

    Just the other nite...I worked with a wonderful nurse who had never worked in a hospital before ...and had no experience on Telemetry at all! I also worked with a NA who had NO formal training... at all ! In the past this would have never happened on any hospital unit...let alone telemetry! I hesititant to even think about what I will find working tonite!
    Last edit by Brownms46 on May 16, '02
  11. by   James Huffman
    Using mandatory overtime to solve the nurse shortage makes about as much sense as using starvation to solve a food shortage.

    Any facility that uses mandatory overtime deserves what they get. And they will lose even more staff over the long run. The staff that remains under such tyranny are usually those who are marginal, and would have trouble getting jobs elsewhere.

    And the facility won't get it. They never do. Instead, they will impose further draconian measures, thinking it will help.

    An earlier poster said they would not work for a facility with mandatory overtime. Ditto here. Such petty rules are a sign that you, too, can find employment somewhere else.

    Jim Huffman, RN

    www.networkfornurses.com
  12. by   colleen10
    MOT is a band aid on a wound that will never heal.

    It will not help the situation but make it worse because you will burn out your staff and run through nurses faster.

    There will continue to be a nursing shortage until the real reasons for the shortage are addressed. And as we have seen on this board they are numerous. Even if the reasons for the shortage are addressed it will still take a number of years before you see an increase in # of nurses.

    That's why I think this is the tip of the ice berg as far as the shortage goes.
  13. by   NicuGal
    I won't work it...if I feel up to staying and working 16 hours, that is fine, or a 12, but why should my husband be late for work because where I work can't staff themselves? And why should I pay a late fee for childcare for the same reason? I'd like to see them try to fire me.
  14. by   Fgr8Out
    Management goes home on time... I want (and deserve) to as well. That's not to say that I WON'T work OT when certain situations arise... but I insist that it be MY decision.

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