Mandatory Staffing is a Cop Out

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    Mandatory Staffing- A necessary evil or lazy way of staffing?

    Mandatory Staffing is a Cop Out

    Mandatory Overtime is a lazy way of making sure that the shifts are adequately staffed. When you mandate staff, you unconsciously say three things about your company's style

    Lack of Innovation

    Your hospital does not have the fore-sight to think outside the box in ensuring proper staffing. People still want to work, the kicker is that they want to ENJOY it (absolutely everything right with that!)

    Emergencies happen, that's a given but you should not wait till last minute to plug up holes. Just as discharge starts on the day of admission, likewise filling up open shifts should start on the first day the schedule is made!

    No focus on employee

    Your hospital cares very little about employee satisfaction. Remember, happy employees equates to happy customers.

    Lack of vision for the future

    Your hospital's long term goals is either non-existent or haphazard. If your hospital is looking for sustainability, they need to start with the most important "asset"- which are the employees.

    Given the benefit of doubt, human beings are mostly empathetic and willing to rise up to the occasion dependent on prevailing work culture/environment. When you build a culture of positivity where all team members are valued with a well understood goal which everyone works towards, people are more apt to step to the plate. It becomes a team effort!

    Dangerous weather conditions, natural disasters etc would necessitate overtime, be prepared for them. Because a hospital is forward thinking (see point 1 above) they would have made alternative plans to ameliorate the "risks" (dangerous weather etc) they know MIGHT occur.

    What does your company policy say about you? Are your employees enthused to work for you or do they see the "mandated overtime" clause and go cold. The best form of compliment that you could get from your employee is when they are willing to refer a friend to work for you.

    YOUR Role in Building a Positive Work Culture

    1. Build Up/ Not Tear down

    As often and honestly as possible, speak highly of your co-workers to each other, patients, supervisor etc. One positive word can go a very long distance.

    2. Show Up

    When you are present at work, actually BE THERE. Your presence alone is a benefit to the team- every member is part of a team dynamic and makes it what it is.

    3. Serve One Another

    It does not make you any less of a person to go out of your way in making the life of another easier; a re-stocking of used items here and there, making another coffee pot, after you drink the last cup etc. Be inventive!

    You have a role to play in ensuring adequate staffing but the onus lies with the hospital in ensuring that this need is met. The next time you want to put the mandated overtime into play, stop and think how that would make YOU feel and then think outside of given lines to figure out a way to ensure adequate staffing.

    Overtime should never be mandated-the goal is to treat every employee as an adult with a choice to stay or not stay past their assigned shift. Consider "building" a work culture that would inspire your employees to want to stay past their shift end as opposed to mandating overtime.

    Thanks for the read!

    Something to think about
    Does your workplace have mandatory overtime?
    What are your feelings?
    Are you for it or against it?

    Do your employees buy into the mandatory overtime?
    Is there flexibility?
    Would you change this if you could?
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14, '18
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    About MNC

    A writer of healthcare Management and Consulting

    Joined: Nov '17; Posts: 4; Likes: 32

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  3. by   AutumnApple
    The thing that has always bothered me most about companies that abuse mandating is how it (as you said) represents a certain lack of concern for employees. Despite this, companies will allow mandating to become part of the daily routine, remaining completely obtuse to the message they are sending.

    I have never fallen for the idea that companies are powerless to fix the problem either. If they were motivated to at least improve the situation, they would find a way. I see hospitals creating policies and procedures by the boat load to avoid over staffing. These policies are treated as if they came straight from the bible, and the enforcement of them trumps any other priority including patient safety. It's impressive how effective policy makers can be when the motivation is to avoid overspending. So why not approach under spending and short staffing with at least some of the same energy?

    Medical facilities can do much better than they are. They simply choose not to. Usually the end result is that the employees choose to return the favor in kind. Ever been to a facility that abuses mandating? You'll see the mandated workers spending their entire shifts complaining about the mandation, doing the absolute minimum and in general doing a very poor job of hiding their dissatisfaction with things.

    I would propose to ask facility leaders what they think this does to survey scores. Since scoring high in these surveys seems to be such a priority to you, why staff yourself with someone who is going to give you nothing but the absolute minimum?
  4. by   Davey Do
    Great article! Bottom line and straight shooting!

    At WRMC (Wrongway Regional Medical Center), Nurses cannot be mandated, but CNAs and Techs can and are mandated for the reasons you gave, MNC (My Nurse Consultant).

    As I said in a previous post, staffing at WRMC sucks and it has every since Staff has not been allowed to do their own schedules with Supervisors tweaking them.

    Once Administration took over scheduling, it's been a consistent debacle.

    Thanks for the article, MNC!
  5. by   jodispamodi
    The state I work in outlawed mandatory overtime. It has been a huge blessing!
  6. by   AutumnApple
    Quote from jodispamodi
    The state I work in outlawed mandatory overtime. It has been a huge blessing!
    Mine did too. I only know of a few select people who have benefited from it. Most facilities are abusing the "state of emergency" loop hole. Some even deny that mandating was outlawed.

    So, for most, nothing has changed. To call the facility's bluff when they mandate you would mean being disciplined. Of course, the documentation of said discipline states it's for other reasons. Lets face it, most of us can't afford to go without working and at the same time hire a lawyer to fight the employer. So, they all do as they want with no fear of having to answer for it.
  7. by   Munch
    My state also got rid of mandatory overtime as well with the exception of a declared emergency. Working in NYC...September 11th would be an example of that.

    I think ordering people to work overtime is a bad idea all around. You have people dead on their feet working to take care of patients and fatal mistakes could be made. What is the stat? Being up after 19 hours is like having a BAC of 0.05..correct me if I'm wrong with that stat. Not to mention an otherwise pleasant personality can have a short fuse.

    My employer staffs extra float nurses to work each day. A hospital as huge as the one I work at with over 1000 beds(that's just the inpatient hospital that's not counting outpatient clinics) is going to have at least one person call in sick each day..That's just the odds when your establishment is that large.