Is it the nurse obligation to stay ovetime when you can't find to replace?


I'm not sure about this obligation thing. I never heard about it. That a Nurse have to stay over if no-one is available to work?

Why would I be the responsible for that?

My only responsible is to find someone to work if someone call-in sick

Then, why I'm automatically be the one will work if I can't find nobody?

Do I have no right to say no?

Why would be an abandonment for the patient?

I have reasons why I cant, I'm tired. I been awake 8am then I work 3pm to 11:30pm. Do you think I have the energy to work 11pm to 7am in the morning?

The weird part about this, the schedule is already posted and they want me to work tonight and cancel my schedule the next day. Can they really do that? Am I not protected by a law or something. I felt harass.

She told me "You have no choice, it's an abandonment if you leave without a reliever, you'll be in deep trouble"

Isn't the supervisors obligation to work if they can't find nobody?

Is this like a general rule for all Nurses in the USA? or the whole world?

Thank God I found somebody to work, but I felt that my rights have been violated.

Why do they have to make me work, if I can't?

Do I still have the right to complain still, even though that I almost have to work tonight?

I feel sad, I never imagine that situation can happen like this.:bluecry1:

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Its a pain, no doubt, but I'm surprised that you weren't aware of this. I thought all facilities could mandate nurses to stay over when there wasn't a replacement. After about 14 hours I'm blotto also but I do what I have to do because we can't just leave with no nurses on the floor. Personally I'd try to adopt the frame of mind that it can and will happen at times. Good luck.


1,975 Posts

I believe it's state law that you can't be required to work over 16 hours and that holds true for nurses as well. Check it out ASAP. If this even becomes par for the course I'd be looking for a new job if I felt I couldn't provide safe care.


1,313 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room Nursing. Has 6 years experience.

I don't believe the nurse should be obliged to stay overtime. If there is no replacement then that should be the late charge nurses problem.

You do have the right to say no well at least in Australia you do. If you have four patient load then too bad the late nurses may have to take an additional patient or something.

In the OR well if there is no one to relieve you then you have to stay until the case is finished. BUT if there are more patients left on the operating list you refuse to bring them in if you cannot stay late, they get cancelled and rescheduled. We had to do this today because a 4 hour case turned into a 7 hour. The surgeon tried to use emotional blackmail on me 'how would you feel if you waited all day for your surgery only to be told to go home' response was that if I stayed back for everytime the list runs over I'd never get out of this place and the list was overbooked in the first place.

Specializes in LTC, Med-Surg, IMCU/Tele, HH/CM.

You can work up to 16 hours. That means that if there is no one to cover you after your shift is over, you will have to stay. If for some reason you feel unable to do so, then try to find someone else who will stay. There was a time when I was working as an LPN and going to school to be an RN, and working a 2 hour drive away from home -- the other nurses would always be very kind and stay after for me, knowing my other obligations.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,002 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

I've never been mandated ever. I've never heard of it happening around here either.

But yes, I do know that I can not leave until I have relief and it would be abandonment if they do. And no it's not supervisions responsibility to cover sick calls, otherwise they would do that every day and that's not a fair expectation.

It's irresponsible, moral busting, abusive and dangerous for them to cancel your shift and make you work without even asking and then threatening you like that. I don't know what the laws are, but the squeaky wheel gets heard, and if I was made to do that they would hear from me loud and clear.

RNperdiem, RN

4,591 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

I have only heard of this happening once at my workplace.

There was a major snowstorm that had roads blocked(I live in the south where big snowfalls are rare).

Since many nurses could not come to work, the night shift stayed working until staff could be found to relieve them.

Later on, all the nurses involved in staying over/coming in for relief were rewarded with choices of gift certificates in thanks.

Specializes in Peds Hem, Onc, Med/Surg. Has 8 years experience.

I know here policy says you can't work more than 16 hours. I don't think its safe. Especially taking care of patients. You are tired, worn out, the chances of a medication error or any other type of error increase. I catch myself about to do stupid things after a full day of work, or forgetting things so I know that I couldn't.

Plus this is a big deal to me, my schedule says this, that is what I said I would work, I am not going to work past that or am I going to switch schedules. I'm new but now my manager knows this, she tries to change it last minute and I told her you change it and the new day I have to work I am going to call in. I work for a living, I don't live to work.

I love my patients and I want to take care of them but when I am getting in trouble for staying too late or making an error none of those people are going to stand up for me. Just what I think.

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

Where I work it is not my problem if they can't cover a call-in for the next shift. They can ask me to stay but I can say no. It is the same if I call in sick, it is the charge nurse's problem to find someone to work. If I work a double I get overtime.


14,633 Posts

Every state I've lived/worked in has had a BON rule that, if there isn't another nurse there for you to turn over your assigned clients to, you have to stay and it's abandonment if you leave (leaving them without a nurse responsible for their care). However, it's important to know what the position of your specific state BON is on this. In my state, the BON says that you have to stay a "reasonable amount" of time in order to give management time to find someone to replace you, and they define that as 2 hours -- after that, you, as the staff nurse, are off the hook and it's management's problem.

It's worth familiarizing yourself with what the specific expectations in your state are -- and remember that, if you're working in another state with a "compact license," you're held to the standards of the state in which you're working, not your "home" state.

Fortunately, the situation rarely comes up (at least, in my experience), but this is the kind of responsibility that comes with being in a licensed profession and being responsible for other people's lives.

Specializes in ICU. Has 13 years experience.

All of these responses are good. I must say, atleast they are telling you that you don't have relief. I worked at a place recently that would just put someone's name in the slot so we would think a person is coming, and then when it's time for shift change we'd find out there was no one relieving us. Needless to say, I didn't stay there.


191 Posts

I left the hospital I worked at because of being mandated frequently. I would think I was working 8am-3pm and end up getting mandated until midnight. Then I would get home around 1am, go to bed at 2am, and have to be up by 5am for the next shift. I would be so tired I would literally be tripping when I tried to walk. The problem was many nurses were leaving due to being mandated, so we were even more short staffed, so we were mandated more. And like many posters, I have 2 kids so it really was hard.

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