Mandatory Overtime

  1. What is the deal with "mandatory overtime" concerning nurses? Does this vary by state or facility or both as far as the maximum numbers, if so, where may I locate this information?

    Also, I understand the situation surrounding abandonment of a patient: leaving care without appropriate relief. Scenario: So, if a nurse is scheduled to leave at end of her shift and another nurse calls in at last minute, is the nurse mandated by law or required by management to stay on for the entire next shift no matter what his/her situation is ie: have another job to attend, need to pick up kids from daycare, doctor's appointment, etc.?? Basically, can a nurse be made to stay over if plans to do so were not planned WAY ahead of time with management or whoever makes the scheduling? Is this kind of situation under state ordinance or facility policy?
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    About finallyRN7

    Joined: Jan '11; Posts: 151; Likes: 15
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  3. by   generalRN2008
    Depends on state law and if it is a government agency. It does not need to be that specific nurse but one needs to stay. 24 hours if you do work 12s is illegal for direct patient care in most places. Plus the management needs to let you get child care arrangements as you can sue if daycare turns your kids to cps care which will happen if they are not picked up.
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    "Mandatory Overtime" is not a term that has just one meaning. It will vary from state to state and from facility to facility.

    Depending upon where you work, if the nurse calls in at the last minute, SOMEONE is mandated by law to stay with her patients. That someone doesn't have to be you -- consult with the charge nurse. Often there is someone more than willing to stay for the overtime. When I worked for a state hospital, their policy was that the least senior nurse would stay in those situations. It only happened to me once -- and I had a dental appointment scheduled for 8AM after my night shift. I explained the situation to my charge nurse, and someone else volunteered to stay.

    However if you're at work when a volcano explodes nearby (which actually happened to a former colleague of mine), you may be mandated to stay until the emergency situation is resolved. She had a daughter in kindergarten and a husband who was a first responder and no, neither of them was allowed to go and check on their daughter whose school was in the path of the subsequent flooding. Luckily they had an emergency plan in place, and they had to trust it. (The daughter was fine.) If there's a weather emergency and your relief is delayed you may have to stay -- chances are if it's that bad, more than one person is delayed.
  5. by   HouTx
    Check with your state regulations and BON. In Tx, our NPA specifically addresses this issue - "refusal of mandatory overtime in a hospital does not constitute patient abandonment" NPA - TOC I am sure that we're not the only state that has enacted this protective measure.
  6. by   Mn nurse 22
    I work nights in LTC and get mandated about once a pay period. We work 8 hr shifts. By MN law an RN can refuse a mandate if they don't feel safe to provide patient care but the reality is if I refuse, then the other nurse gets the mandate so I feel bad if I refuse, though I have a few times when I haven't gotten enough sleep.

    We can only be mandated once per pay period unless of an emergency. Some managers will think that staffing is an emergency but our union was clear that emergency would be weather, or state of emergency.

    If we are down to critical staffing levels we are required to stay and call our DON to figure something out. I wish there was a better way but until that happens I do plan to be mandated on any shift (get extra sleep, don't make plans during the day) until I get my mandate out of the way.
  7. by   Here.I.Stand
    Some states have laws about it, and it varies by facility as well. I have actually never been mandated, except for during one blizzard when the people who TRIED to come in for their shift got stuck. And then it wasn't me personally--the whole facility stayed. Now I work for a big hospital w/ a float pool, so it's not an issue. However, in cases like you describe my plan would be to say "I am not safe to stay." to cover my rear. I do have small kids who do not have the supernatural ability to care for themselves just b/c their mom happens to be a nurse...and school staff sure as heck don't do mandatory OT when parents choose not to pick their kids up.
  8. by   finallyRN7
    Thanks so much you guys for your knowledge and insight about this! I will thoroughly read my NPA concerning this matter. I have recently completed my BSN in nursing and have resumed a diligent search for my first nursing position and I wish to be fully "armed" with the facts concerning my rights of safety to my patients and my license. Thanks again! :-)
  9. by   classicdame
    look at your BON website. Common question. Mandatory OT not allowed in Texas but it is defined as "scheduled" because patients have to have someone caring for them. People cannot just walk out at 3:00 in OR