Non productive overtime

  1. Recently our hospital HR/ leadership team made an announcement declaring that nurses are only to be accessing charts when punched in. Personally to me this is a non issue because I show up literally minutes before punching in, however there are nurses who I work with that get there early (sometimes even an hour early).

    * Just curious if any other hospital has this policy?
    * If there is a legal issue associated with accessing charts of assigned patients when not punched in?
    * What can I do to support my peers who have the desire to access patients charts early?

    Thank you all!
  2. Visit Minn_RN profile page

    About Minn_RN

    Joined: Sep '16; Posts: 27; Likes: 9
    from MN , US

    28 Comments

  3. by   Daisy4RN
    It is probably a liability issue. Like people who clock out (so no overtime) at the end of their shift and then continue to work, either charting or actually doing pt care. I have never done it either but have seen many nurses arriving 30-45 min early just to review the patient chart. I don't stay after either except in the rare case of a code/RRT and then I most certainly don't clock out. Usually I am dragging to work in the morning with my coffee in hand 5 min before clock time, and am dashing out after the end of shift like fire under my feet. I don't understand why people want to be there so long. I have also noticed it is a fairly new phenomena with new nurses. I never did it even when I was new. I also worry that they will burnout and have told some that (but they don't think so); therefore, I would not support this habit of doing this.
  4. by   cleback
    My hospital was like that to discourage working off the clock.

    I find some nurses want to know EVERYTHING about the patients in their assignments before the shift... combing through the notes, etc. While I find this commendable, I don't think it's realistic while adhering to labor laws. I'd encourage those nurses to have an awesome brain sheet with room to jot down questions/thongs to look up throughout the shift. I fully realize that nurses will respond with "there's no time during the shift" but to me that means the information is more nice to know, not need to know... which should be prioritized like everything else we do.

    That said, I am guilty of staying late off the clock too. Labor laws be darned, it's just easier than having to justify time management skills after a crappy shift.
  5. by   Luckyyou
    I can't possibly imagine how someone would actually need a full hour to look up patient information before a shift. I imagine these are the same people who write report down word for word
  6. by   JKL33
    And of course HIPAA likely comes into play now, also - - it's hard to say there was a "need to know" when someone is not on the clock. You and I understand what the need was, but it's not clean record-keeping for the facility to have a bunch of people logged into charts when they weren't on duty.

    Your coworkers are going to have to get used to these "improvements" in patient care. You're not going to win an argument about accessing charts when not on duty, and also won't win the ability to punch in early to access the charts.
  7. by   klone
    You should not be looking at a patient's chart if you don't need it to do your job. If you are doing your job, you should be clocked in.
  8. by   Minn_RN
    Thank you all for the insight. I personally do not do this practice, but I know we have many nurses who will look up their patients (one in particular comes an hour early). My inquiry was mainly as a fellow staff nurse is there anyway to be supportive of these nurse that will lose this extra time.
  9. by   Daisy4RN
    Quote from Minn_RN
    Thank you all for the insight. I personally do not do this practice, but I know we have many nurses who will look up their patients (one in particular comes an hour early). My inquiry was mainly as a fellow staff nurse is there anyway to be supportive of these nurse that will lose this extra time.
    They are going to have to adjust their new time schedule on their own. You could assist by just making sure you are ready (as much as possible) to give report and maybe have things ready that you know they want (labs etc). It is nice of you to care but I don't see that there is much you can do, it will be their time management issue.
  10. by   CalicoKitty
    My hospital has rules about doing lots off stuff off the clock. No checking email. No doing the required online modules (we can request to do those at home, but need to document the hours in order to be paid). I try to stick to the rules. I won't login to a computer till I'm clocked in, and almost never do anything after clocking out.
  11. by   Flatline
    This can be a confusing issue and a very grey issue. Unlike popular belief, coming in early to review charts is not a labor issue. What??? you are probably saying.

    The 2014 landmark Supreme Court ruling from the Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk case settled the questions around the 1947 Portal-to-Portal Act that did not require employers to pay for preliminary or postliminary activities to the primary productive activity that the employee was paid for.

    Technically, the hospital would be on very firm ground to not pay for chart reviews before shift nor charting after the shift once care for the patient was handed off to the next nurse.

    Of course many hospitals do pay to avoid the nightmare that would ensue from such an action but they try to limit it to reasonable exceptions. Many hospitals see staying after as avoidable but reasonable, coming in before is just unnecessary.
  12. by   Mini2544
    We are not allowed to clock in before a certain time, which doesn't give much time to look up any info on pts charts. Lots of nurses get there before, look things up and then clock in. I would never do that, I find time during my shift to look up back info and I know what I am looking for during report so I have no issue with it. Sometimes docs will ask us ridiculous questions about the pts labs from two weeks ago and get mad if we dont know the answer. I am quick to tell them that if they would like us to have the time to find out that info..than they are more than welcome to speak to nursing management about allowing us to clock in earlier than they do because 5 minutes prior to shift doesn't really cut it for that type of information research.
  13. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from Minn_RN
    Thank you all for the insight. I personally do not do this practice, but I know we have many nurses who will look up their patients (one in particular comes an hour early). My inquiry was mainly as a fellow staff nurse is there anyway to be supportive of these nurse that will lose this extra time.
    You can support them by telling them all the ways it's a bad idea to be working off the clock. (If it's not considered working, then they have no business doing it at all.) The #1 reason in my book is that it sends a message to our employers that our time isn't valuable. It also puts the employer at risk for labour laws violations.

    Your coworkers need to start valuing their own time and advocating for their time to be valued by their employers. If you have more work to do than you have time to do it in, then it's a staffing issue.
  14. by   turtlesRcool
    Some of the nurses I work with like to print off the H&P first thing just to have all the background there in one easy-to-access place. I've had nurses hand me their highlighted H&P during shift change, which saves me from having to hunt for the information. Sometimes our computers are glitchy or take forever to boot up, or we have to wrestle them away from the off-going shift, so having a paper copy of the basics during report is helpful. Maybe suggest those nurses take 5 minutes to print out (but not read right then) that basic info, or if those nurses follow your shift, you could print out copies on your patients and hand over the sheets at shift change to the next nurse.

    I agree that those nurses who feel they need to know everything before seeing the patient will need to adjust. The above is just one suggestion to make the transition a bit easier.

close