harrisburg, may 21 – the state house of representatives today passed legislation that would prohibit hospitals and other health-care facilities from requiring nurses and other patient-care workers to work beyond their regularly agreed-to shifts.
state rep. dan surra, d-elk/clearfield, who introduced the legislation, said it is important worker-safety and patient-safety legislation.
“this legislation takes the staffing needs of our hospitals and other health-care facilities into account, but also recognizes that patient care suffers, and our state’s nurses suffer, when mandatory overtime is used as a routine staffing strategy,” surra said. “we don’t allow airlines and trucking companies to mandate 16-hour shifts or double shifts without rest – we should not allow hospitals to do it, either.”
surra’s bill would provide exceptions in the case of emergencies and when health-care workers are required to stay beyond their regular shift to complete a patient procedure. it also would allow nurses to continue to volunteer for overtime.
but prohibiting mandatory overtime as a routine staffing strategy would reduce the number of nurses who leave the profession because of burnout, and reduce the number of patient-care errors that drive up the cost of health care, he said.....