What the AHA thinks of the bill pending in Congress on mandatory OT - page 2

This was sent to me by a member of the MNM. I think we should all see the position of the NJ AHA on the bill that would ban mandatory overtime. You can bet the NJ chapter is saying what you will hear... Read More

  1. by   mustangsheba
    When you write your letters, may I suggest that you send copies to your own congresspeople, senators, and the governors of your states. Mandatory overtime is unconscionable. Overtime should be voluntary. We all know what our limits are. Some of us can't work safely beyond 8 hours; some of us do all right working 16. Personally, I can't see anyone working 20 hours safely UNLESS there is a true emergency and they volunteer. What do employers do if one refuses to work the mandatory - fire the nurse? That makes a whole lot of sense. I really don't know. What are the consequences?
  2. by   -jt
    Originally posted by mustangsheba:
    [B] What do employers do if one refuses to work the mandatory - fire the nurse? That makes a whole lot of sense. I really don't know. What are the consequences?

    They fire her for "pt abandonment" & make her an example to all other nurses who dare refuse OT - & those nurses learn the lesson & conform. So they dont have to fire anyone else. Whats one nurse, anyway? The others will get the message & shape up. The fired nurse will have to report that termination on all other job applications & it will follow her thru her career. It may impact on her livlihood to have a record of termination for "pt abandonment". And/Or They threaten the nurse with being reported to her state board for "patient abandonment". The RN may be exonerated in the end but in many states would still have to endure the hearing & prove herself to protect her license. If found guilty of abandonment for refusing mandatory OT, her license is at risk, depending on the board who doles out her punishment.

    Unionized nurses who have contract language addressing mandatory ot have some protection against this but really.......there oughta be a law.
  3. by   NurseyK
    JT -

    The bill I speak of is A2025/S1318...the precise bills of which you speak of that NYSNA does NOT support. This Bill actually began to put in words and motion SOMETHING that addressed nursing hours here in NY.

    NYSNA has not gotten on board with any of my ideas/drafts of bills, that began in 1998, until last year...how do I know? I am personal friends with the Assemblyman who sponsored the above bills. I have numerous e-mails and hard copies of documentation from my politicians and from NYSNA re: this matter. In fact, NYSNA refused to enterain any of *my* ideas unless *I paid them* a minimum of $500 "consulting" fee. (Yes, again, I did save this doosy of an e-mail.)

    As far as "not allowed to work over 16 consecutive hrs"...let me emphatically inform you that there is NO NY State Labor Law on the books at this time prohibiting the number of consecutive hours a nurse can work. The max number of consecutive hours any person, above the age of 16, can work in NY State is 20...yes....20 hours...(I also have e-mail and hard copy confirmation of this fact also...do your homework...)

    So, while you and NYSNA are paying lip service to "no tolerance for mandatory OT," there are many hospitals (even those that have a union) that are currently continuing to mandate their nurses for 20 hr shifts...patients are continuing to be put in jeopardy because the great paper-pushers in the sky have loudly nay-say'd a bill that would have, at the very least, done SOMETHING to end this unsafe practice...

    I will give my question to you, as I have to many others....have you, personally, ever worked a 20 consecutive hour shift? (no sleeping now, you'll get fired...) My gut response is: your answer is "no"....

    Just my $0.02...

    Kat

    [This message has been edited by NurseyK (edited March 28, 2001).]
  4. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by NurseyK:
    [B]
    ~Bills are pending that restrict mandatory overtime to a maximum number of hours per week. (A2025/S1380) These bills are not supported.
    The bill I speak of is A2025/S1318...the precise bills of which you speak of that NYSNA does NOT support. This Bill actually began to put in words and motion SOMETHING that addressed nursing hours here in NY.>[Q]

    Yes, I know. And I will reiterate - NYSNA does NOT support those bills because those bills do not do enough. Those bills speak to RESTRICTIONS on mandatory OT & NYSNA has proposed a different bill that goes much further than just restricting the number of hours you can be forced to work. The bill that NYSNA supports PROHIBITS ALL mandatory OT. The bill you refer to would allow mandatory OT up to a certain number of hours per day. NYSNA proposes & supports a different bill that insists on NO mandatory OT at all.

    And by the way, in NYC we are not allowed to work more than 16 hrs straight...not even voluntarily. I guess I didnt do my "homework" because I dont know exactly where that rule came from. Maybe its a city ordinance, since apparently its not a state law.... or maybe NYSNA just has that language in all our contracts in this city.
    So, to answer your question, No...I never worked a 20 hr shift.... we're not allowed to even if we wanted to... & I wouldnt even if it were allowed.

  5. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by -jt:
    [B][QUOTE]Originally posted by NurseyK:
    [B]
    ~Bills are pending that restrict mandatory overtime to a maximum number of hours per week. (A2025/S1380) These bills are not supported...
    - NYSNA does NOT support those bills because those bills do not do enough. Those bills speak to RESTRICTIONS on mandatory OT & NYSNA has proposed a different bill that goes much further than just restricting the number of hours you can be forced to work. The bill that NYSNA supports PROHIBITS ALL mandatory OT. The bill you refer to would allow mandatory OT up to a certain number of hours per day. NYSNA proposes & supports a different bill that insists on NO mandatory OT at all. [Q]

    A02025 Summary:
    SPONSOR Cahill COSPNSR Clark, Diaz, Gromack, Tonko, Espaillat, Jacobs, Ortiz
    MLTSPNSR Brennan, Cohen M, Colton, Cook, Englebright, Glick, Green, John,
    Luster, Markey, McEneny, Millman, Weisenberg

    Add S167, Lab L
    Provides that no hospital within this state, shall permit or require a
    registered professional nurse or a licensed practical nurse, to be or remain on
    duty for a longer period than sixteen consecutive hours, except as a
    consequence of an emergency situation which could not have been reasonably
    predicted; provides that whenever any such nurse shall have been continuously
    on duty for sixteen hours, such nurse shall not be required or permitted again
    to go on duty until such nurse has had at least ten consecutive hours off duty;
    provides that no such nurse who has been on duty sixteen hours in the aggregate
    in any twenty-four hour period shall be required or permitted to continue or
    again go on duty without having had at least eight consecutive hours off duty;
    provides that no such nurse shall be required or permitted to be on duty for
    more than sixty hours in any seven day period, except as a consequence of an
    emergency situation which could not have been reasonably predicted>>


    So Im sure you can see that how this bill could allow an employer to force an RN to work a mandatory ot double shift of 8 hr shifts or a mandatory ot of an extra 4 hrs of a 12 hr shift. And after that nurse is forced to work her 16 hrs... say 7am to 11pm, she can be expected to be back at work the following 7am. This bill ALLOWS the employer to utilize mandatory OT. Thats why NYSNA does not support it. The bill NYSNA supports states in part:
    ".... No Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical nurse will be required to work longer than his/her regularly scheduled shift..."

    NYSNA will accept nothing less.
  6. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]
    So Im sure you can see that how this bill could allow an employer to force an RN to work a mandatory ot double shift of 8 hr shifts or a mandatory ot of an extra 4 hrs of a 12 hr shift. And after that nurse is forced to work her 16 hrs... say 7am to 11pm, she can be expected to be back at work the following 7am. This bill ALLOWS the employer to utilize mandatory OT. Thats why NYSNA does not support it. [Q]


    Instead, NYSNA wrote, proposed & supports the following bill.... After comparing the 2, I would rather put my efforts into getting NYSNA's bill prohibiting Mandatory OT made into law, than waste time, efforts & resources trying to make a law that allows managers to use mandatory ot everyday. I really dont know what your complaint is. NYSNAs bill addresses consecutive hours of work very clearly in the very first paragraph.....

    A07127 Summary:
    SPONSOR Nolan COSPNSR Cahill, Eve, Glick, McLaughlin, Greene, Englebright, Seddio, Christensen
    MLTSPNSR Boyland, Canestrari, Cohen A, Cohen M, Colton, Cymbrowitz, Destito,
    Grannis, Gromack, Heastie, Hoyt, Jacobs, John, Klein, Lavelle,
    Matusow, Millman, Paulin, Perry, Pheffer, Rhodd-Cummings, Smith,Tonko, Weinstein, Weisenberg
    Add S167, Lab L; add S6510-e, Ed L
    Restricts consecutive hours of work by nurses: provides that no health care
    employer shall require a nurse to remain on duty for a period longer than 8
    consecutive hours or 40 hours in a 7 day workweek except as consistent with the
    nurse`s regularly scheduled work hours,

    and that no such employer shall require
    a nurse to work more than that nurse`s regularly scheduled work hours except in
    certain specified emergency situations;

    provides such provisions do not
    prohibit a nurse from voluntarily working overtime; adds definitions; provides
    that the refusal of a nurse to work beyond regularly scheduled hours shall not
    constitute professional misconduct if nurse notified supervisor of his or her
    unavailability under such provisions.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  7. by   NurseyK
    Contrary to your belief, there is no "wasted effort" when it comes to fighting for restricted nursing hours.

    You and I will have to agree to disagree on this issue. (I'm leaving nursing, technically, one could argue, 'then why do I care anyway?')

    MY bill has passed the House and is sitting in the Senate. Why is it sitting in the Senate Labor Committee, you may query? The *hospital lobby*...they are much stronger/powerful/have more $$$=influence than us tiny, unorganized, screaming-mimi nurses. If the Senate/hospital lobby has a problem with my simple bill restricting the amount of hours a nurse works in a day/week...do you really think they'll take a better stance on NYSNA's more restrictive one? Think carefully on that...

    ....so, meanwhile....I, and many hospital's full of nurses "up here in the sticks" continue to be forced to work for 20 hrs on, then come back for our regularly scheduled 12. Hell, a 16 would be a vacation...

    There is no option of refusal...refusal=fired, end of story.

    ..the next time I'm in my 19th hour on (which translates to 22 hr awake), and working on a Trauma pt., let's hope I don't make a mistake because I'm tired...let's hope I don't kill someone because I'm tired....let's hope it's not you or yours....heck, let's hope I don't kill myself or others in an MVA when I drive the hour commute home...

    Scary thought, huh? Or maybe it's not to you, you've never walked in my shoes...


    [This message has been edited by NurseyK (edited March 29, 2001).]
  8. by   natalie
    NurseyK,

    Your quote: "If the Senate/hospital lobby has a problem with my simple bill restricting the amount of hours a nurse works in a day/week...do you really think they'll take a better stance on NYSNA's more restrictive one? Think carefully on that..."

    As a hospital nurse working under short-staffing and mandatory OT conditions, I'd have to place my support with the NYSNA bill rather than your's. Two reasons:

    -Simply because of the strength NYSNA carries and for the very reason you stated-to counteract the strong hospital lobby.

    -Your bill gives hospitals license to interpret mandatory OT and it's more of the same game.

    Your statement the NYSNA gives "lip service" sounds like sour grapes. Perhaps the nurses in your hospital should consider organizing. If not NYSNA, than another union. If that is distasteful, than organize amongst yourselves. 20 hour shifts are abysmmal. How is it possible the nurses in your hospital ever got to that point? That would be unacceptable at my small hospital up here in the sticks of New York. NO nurse here would do that, unless voluntarily. Management would never threaten abandonment. Perhaps it is because we are in NYSNA. There are restrictions on the amount of mandatory overtime here. If you're a 12 hour nurse, the most you can be forced is 2 more hours. If you're an 8 hour nurse, you can be forced only 4 additional hours.

    Also, what is your point in posting on a nurse's bulletin board, and making the supposition that nurses here have not walked in your shoes?
  9. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by NurseyK:
    [B]Contrary to your belief, there is no "wasted effort" when it comes to fighting for restricted nursing hours.
    MY bill has passed the House and is sitting in the Senate. Why is it sitting in the Senate Labor Committee, you may query? The *hospital lobby*...they are much stronger/powerful/have more $$$=influence than us tiny, unorganized, screaming-mimi nurses. If the Senate/hospital lobby has a problem with my simple bill restricting the amount of hours a nurse works in a day/week...do you really think they'll take a better stance on NYSNA's more restrictive one? Think carefully on that...{q}


    Fighting for your bill would most certainly be a wasted effort because it doesnt solve the problem. Your bill allows the employer to force each nurse to work up to 20 hrs per week mandatory OT because your bill states that each nurse may work 60 hours/week & 16 hr shifts. Your bill is not simple. It has all these rules that allow the employer to force a nurse to work mandatory OT up to 16 hrs several times a week & allows the employer to force a nurse to work up to 60 hrs a week. That is unacceptable. NYSNAs bill insists on NO mandatory OT at all & limits the work week to just 40 hrs. NYSNAs bill is the one that is simple....restricts the work week to 40 hrs, no nurse will work longer than her regularly scheduled shift & it is not pt abandonment if she refuses to work OT.... simple.

    yes, I do think our bill has a better chance of passing, if not this year than next. Your small group of mini-nurses, as you call them, cant fight off the hospital's lobbysists. NYSNA is a powerful, well respected & supported organization up in Albany, where it is based, & its bill to PROHIBT & ELIMINATE mandatory OT has much support in both houses.(just look at the list of sponsors). Our lobbyist Gail Meyers is well known & well respected. As a strong organization, NYSNA can fight the hospital's lobbyists at their level. As NYSNA members, we are doing much much more than just giving "lip service" to this (or any other) issue. Why are you insisting on pushing a bill that promotes the employers ability to continue mandatory OT? Why not put your efforts into getting mandatory OT Abolished instead?

    I agree with you that mandatory OT is unsafe for nurses & their pts. Thats why I just spent 2 days in Albany lobbying along with my association & many of our other members for the bill that PROHIBITS ALL mandatory OT & limits the nurses work week to 40 hours, instead of your 60 hours. I have no intention of wasting my efforts on supporting a bill that would give the management the right to force me to work up to 20 hrs of mandatory OT per week.

    Maybe if all nurses in this state, non-NYSNA nurses included, would write to their represenatives in support of BANNING mandatory OT, instead of finding ways to work it, the representatives might not be confused about the issue & abolishing mandatory OT might happen alot sooner.
  10. by   -jt
    Originally posted by -jt:
    Maybe if all nurses in this state, non-NYSNA nurses included, would write to their represenatives in support of BANNING mandatory OT, instead of finding ways to work it, the representatives might not be confused about the issue & abolishing mandatory OT might happen alot sooner
    ps -

    FYI:

    "Lawmakers Move to Ban Mandatory Overtime for Nurses

    ALBANY, N.Y.-March 16, 2001-There are limits to the number of consecutive hours truck drivers and airplane pilots can work. There are no such limits for nurses, although they hold patients' lives in their hands every day.

    Legislation introduced this week in the New York State Legislature would prohibit healthcare employers from requiring registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to remain on duty beyond their scheduled shifts, except in emergency situations.

    "Zero tolerance" for mandatory overtime is part of the New York State Nurses Association program to solve the worsening nursing shortage in New York state. Mandatory overtime is often used as part of normal staffing plans, with the excuse that staffing shortages require it. Ironically, excessive work hours and forced overtime make the shortage worse by burning out experienced nurses and discouraging young people from entering the profession.

    Mandatory overtime creates an ethical, professional, and personal dilemma for nurses. When they are forced to work 16 hours a day, they put themselves and their patients at risk for error and injury. If they refuse to work the extra hours, however, they can be reported to the State Education Department on charges of patient abandonment.

    The Assembly bill (A7127) was introduced by Catherine Nolan, Kevin Cahill, Arthur Eve, and Deborah Glick, with multiple sponsors. The Senate Bill (S3515) was introduced by Thomas Morahan.

    With more than 33,000 members, NYSNA is the leading organization for registered nurses in New York state and is one of the largest representatives of RNs for collective bargaining in the nation. A multi-purpose organization, NYSNA fosters high standards for nursing education and practice and works to advance the profession through legislative activity. For more information, call Nancy Webber at NYSNA (518) 782-9400, Ext. 223....."
    http://assembly.state.ny.us/

  11. by   CEN35
    OK I found all the little chit chat debates in here pretty interesting. I have done some research in the past 6 months, mostly because of the alleged "current" nursing shortage.

    1st - In Ohio there is no law, or definition of the law, or anything that states or falls under the term "abandonment".

    2nd - despite what many of you may think, lets clear these rumors up.

    A) While many alledge there is currently a nursing shortage, there is not.

    B) The current population of nurses has not changed all that much in the last 4 years. Five years ago, we were told coming out of school that jobs would be hard to find. I myself obtained a job one day, before my board results came back.

    C) Nursing school enrollment is down, just in the past 3-4 years.

    D) That decrease in enrollment has not caused that much of an affect on the current situation.

    E) While some of the research has varied, the average age of the RN is (45-55) depending on where the statistics and results were obtained.

    Now where does this leave us? This leaves us with "why are hospitals unable to fullfill positions?

    Nurses can work in a hospital, where you have to deal with occasional angry clients, angry doctors, be mistreated by some patients and familys "because it's you job to be the bedpan person", or because the physician's can demean you and treat you like your meaningless, and then risk having to be called to court over something that could have been potentially out of your control.......or maybe not? All the legal issues to be concerned with......what a hassle. While I am working still in a hospital ER, 2/3 of the satff has turned over X 2, completely in 5 years. Nurses are being hired by insurance companies, legal firms, etc. Industry is relying more heavily on hiring somebody to be their "company nurse" (occupational). There are more and more of these types of jobs opening up......for the same amount of pay, if not more!!!!!
    So why go work at a hospital for less pay, concerns about your license related to legal issues, law suites etc, being cut down and demeaned by physicians who think we are insignificant nobodys, and families and patients that sometimes treat us like we are their ordained servants? That is where current nurses are now.
    More info? Do you need a degree to work for UPS? Nope...... Do you need a degree to be a garbage man? oh excuse me......Sanatation engineer.......Nope! They do not have legal issues to deal with either.....they leave work and are done....The strange thing is..they make more money than most nurses. Those are just two examples too........I'm sure I can dig up more examples.
    Why not go do another job......unless you really like being a nurse....and like the job because you like to do it.

    THE BOTTOM LINE- Hospitals impose mandatory O/T, and they will loose more nurses than they already have. Just for the record, if you quit, it is not abandonment (if your state has such a law). You are only bound to the term (if applicable) as an employee of the institution. Therefore if you termintae employment, you are relieved of your patient nurse/patient duties.

    I can tell you as a fact, there is a hospital system here, that forces mandatory O/T. They are getting many of the new grads (what there are), because nobody wants to deal with mandatory O/T.

    I beleive someone asked, "Have you ever worked a 20 hour shift". Yes I have, twice......but not by force by choice, and I could not not do it on a regular basis....I would quit first.


    Rick

    (CEN35)

  12. by   Tiara
    I find it interesting that the American Association of Nurse Executives has come out in opposition to the mandatory overtime bill introduced in the House on Thursday by Democratic Representatives Tom Lantos, CA, James McGovern MA and Hilda Solis, CA.
  13. by   NurseyK
    Natalie - I was only specifically responding to JT about working 20 hrs. Get off my back.

    All - Maybe I'm not making myself clear...our hospital is union. We HAVE to work 20 hrs if we are mandated. Refusal = termination. We are not "volunteering"..we are "mandated" by our Mgr....Following me yet? It's not that difficult. Let's all not give me a lecture about how I have lived on a weekly basis for the past 6 yrs.

    I'm leaving nursing. Done. You all can enjoy the fight.

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