Mandated to Work 16.5 + Hours

Nurses General Nursing

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Mandated to Work 16.5 + Hours

I was wondering how you handle being mandated to work 18.5 or more hours on a shift. Or even if this is required of you.

Here is how this went down last time.  19OO time to give report and I am called to the side by the charge nurse and informed I am being mandated to stay until 233O which probably would mean OO3O.  I work on a Med Surg floor and I do direct patient care.  I work mostly 12.5 hour shifts and when I come home I shower and I go to bed because I am wiped out.  I have been nursing for >3O years and after 12(.5( hours, I hurt.  My body and my brian are both tired.  On a good day I will have had a chance to use the BR and on a bad day, I will not have.  {As an aside, it drives me crazy to hear a pt c/o about not getting something with their meal - their 3rd for the day plus snacks, while I have not and will not eat until the morning. sorry, couldn't be helped}

The last time I was mandated, I was also sent to a different Floor to work and took report from a nurse going home at 153O which made no sense to me.

My employer uses "Mandating" to shore up their inability to hire new or retain current employees.  If I get mandated and told to work 12 hours on a day where I was scheduled for 8, I can suck it up and do it.  But I feel physically unable to work another 18 or 19 hour shift.  No mention was made of this on my hire but I probably signed something saying I thought this was a superb idea.  I plan to notify management that I will not be available for any shifts over my agreed 12.5 hour ones. I am concerned for my pt's safety.  I am concerned for my safety and I am sure if anything untoward actually occurred, I would receive the full blame for not saying anything.

I have medical issues and my MD may or may not be willing to fill out something saying it is not good for me to work that long. I hate not being a team player but I am to the point where I am careing a lot less about what many ppl think. Not you guys of course! Well OK, only some of you. The trolls.

And to be clear, this is not like a once a year thing, but is rotated through all the nurses until it is your turn again - takes about 2 months.

I would be interested in hearing some thoughtful opinions on this subject.  Any trolls that feel the need to attack me because I can't work 24 hours a day for a week , or feel I am less of a nurse bc I need to eat and go to the BR - I promise to do my best to ignore you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


4 Articles; 2,475 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

My hospital has been using mandation for years. For those that already work 12 hour shifts, you can be mandated for an additional four hours, which we all know often runs over. I've heard that if someone refuses mandation there could be disciplinary action taken, but I've not heard of anyone actually being fired for refusing. The bigger problem with refusing is that coworkers come to resent the nurse that doesn't take their turn, putting more on the other staff members. There are people that have made it known that if they are mandated for 16 hours, they will be calling out if they are scheduled to return the next day. As far as I know that has not lead to disciplinary action either, but I suppose if your organization has a maximum of call outs in a calendar year, once every two months it may not be possible for you to call out for your next shift.

I'm fortunate that I'm okay during the shift itself. (I do hate 2300-1500 doubles, but I often come in at 2300, so it happens.) For me it's the next day where I am completely wiped out. 

I hope that even on your regular shifts you are able to find a better balance so you can get your food and bathroom breaks. I've worked LTC, med-surg and ICU, and I completely understand the difficulties. I'm not saying you've done something wrong, I'm sure it's because you're very conscientious. I used to do the same thing and then I started putting my phone alarm on for two hour intervals. Then I take 1- 5 minutes, get a drink from our hydration station and if I have to, I'm going to pee. And you know what? Nothing bad has happened because of those 1-5 minutes. Do I get it every time? No, but better than 50% of the time. No one else is going to prioritize you or your health, you HAVE to look out for yourself. Good luck. 


131 Posts

If I've said it once, I've said it 1000 times...

You mandate me *once* and it's my last shift. I'm done. 
There WAY too many nursing jobs out there for me to care about quitting this one. 
AND the hospital wants to staff so thinly that a two call offs in a 400 bed hospital puts 3 units in crisis mode... I'm not interested in being mandated because you can't staff appropriately. 


131 Posts


Im eating and Im peeing. 
If nobody's dying, I have time to pee. 
If nobody's gonna die in the next half hour - call lights be damned, I'm gonna eat. 
If I'm working at a place where this becomes impossible other than oddball days where 3 people keep coding repeatedly , I'm out. 
Go work somewhere where this isn't an issue - a hundred thousand open nursing jobs, find one that lets you pee  

I've never understood nurses who use not eating or peeing as a weird bragging point... And I absolutely don't have Florence Nightingale syndrome - I'm not putting the hospital or my patients above my need to pee and eat. 

"I plan to notify management that I will not be available for any shifts over my agreed 12.5 hour "  File a safety issue every time. 

I don't know if your  doctors order could  prevent this abuse. 

With 30 years of could move on .

Best wishes

klone, MSN, RN

14,691 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

You could actually try to get intermittent FMLA or some type of work accommodation that limits the number of hours you work at a time if you have a documented health issue. But Brandy, in the other thread, has indicated that this doesn't always work, if it's not deemed "reasonable". I would argue, however, that you would probably have a solid case for a wrongful termination or ADA lawsuit if they did fire you. Any reasonable person would not find an 18-hour shift reasonable.

OTOH, once every 2 months, I may be able to manage ONE 18-hour shift, as long as I was not expected to turn around and come back to work the next day (later that day).

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