Mandatory Overtime

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Specializes in Psychiatric Crisis. Has 12 years experience.

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This question is for US nurses.

I am a nurse in a unionized hospital within a state that has made mandatory overtime for nurses illegal.

We are considering an out-of-state move, and I only recently learned that there are many other states that require their nurses to work more than the 36/40 hours per week which they are hired to work, with your job being at risk if you refuse to do so.

I have searched the boards for additional information and I still have so many questions about this. Is it a standard practice statewide? Is it hospital specific? Is this disclosed during the interview process? Is there any way to opt out? Are "mandatory overtime" facilities generally not great places to work, meaning would this be a red flag if it came up in a job search?

We would be moving for a better quality of life for our young family, but being mandated to work extra hours will impact our quality of life in a negative way. If anything, I am hoping to work less hours when we move vs more. 

Thank you in advance for any insight you can offer. 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,610 Posts

It's more common with the state of staffing to see this in a lot of places, both good facilities and less-than-good facilities. There's really no way to "opt out". 

Maybe consider taking a part-time position with the understanding that you'll get (either voluntarily or involuntarily) more hours?

ChknWing, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric Crisis. Has 12 years experience. 23 Posts

On 11/27/2021 at 11:04 AM, Jedrnurse said:

It's more common with the state of staffing to see this in a lot of places, both good facilities and less-than-good facilities. There's really no way to "opt out". 

Maybe consider taking a part-time position with the understanding that you'll get (either voluntarily or involuntarily) more hours?

A part time with benefits position with the understanding that it's actually going to be full time hours. Yeah, maybe. I can't believe that this is the systems solution to the nursing shortage. No wonder everyone is burnt out.

Are you saying that only some hospitals participate in this? And if so, are they transparent about it when hiring? I am coming from a completely different environment and this is all over my head.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,610 Posts

What type of environment are you currently in?

I'll step out on a limb and say that hiring folks will downplay the mandatory OT in most cases, so I'd be upfront about the issue when interviewing. (Not that guarantees honesty, but...)

ChknWing, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric Crisis. Has 12 years experience. 23 Posts

Just now, Jedrnurse said:

What type of environment are you currently in?

I'll step out on a limb and say that hiring folks will downplay the mandatory OT in most cases, so I'd be upfront about the issue when interviewing. (Not that guarantees honesty, but...)

I'm in a unionized hospital in a state where mandatory overtime is illegal. If we are short staffed, they offer incentives to come in, but it is never required. Until I started looking at job opportunities in other states, I was not even aware that mandatory overtime was a thing that happened, and frankly it sounds awful.  

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,610 Posts

1 minute ago, ChknWing said:

I'm in a unionized hospital in a state where mandatory overtime is illegal. If we are short staffed, they offer incentives to come in, but it is never required. Until I started looking at job opportunities in other states, I was not even aware that mandatory overtime was a thing that happened, and frankly it sounds awful.  

I worked in a unionize facility years ago where it was very common. The units had a "force" book which was a log of when people were mandated to stay. The book kept track so people were mandated on a rotating basis, depending on who was working on the shift from which someone was going to be forced.

ChknWing, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric Crisis. Has 12 years experience. 23 Posts

Just now, Jedrnurse said:

I worked in a unionize facility years ago where it was very common. The units had a "force" book which was a log of when people were mandated to stay. The book kept track so people were mandated on a rotating basis, depending on who was working on the shift from which someone was going to be forced.

okay so then maybe it's the fact that I'm in a state where it is not legal to mandate. how often were you mandated? and did you have advanced notice? for example were you told to sign up for a 4th shift vs stay past your 12hrs? how is this a practical situation for people with children and other responsibilities? 

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,239 Posts

1 hour ago, ChknWing said:

A part time with benefits position with the understanding that it's actually going to be full time hours. Yeah, maybe. I can't believe that this is the systems solution to the nursing shortage. No wonder everyone is burnt out.

Are you saying that only some hospitals participate in this? And if so, are they transparent about it when hiring? I am coming from a completely different environment and this is all over my head.

What kind of experience do you have? I work psych 8/hr shifts and while I do work a lot of overtime I always have the option to say no! Other specialities to consoder might be clinic nursing or out-patient day surgery. You might make less than ypu would as an acute bedside nurse but you might have morte peace of mind.

Hppy

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,239 Posts

45 minutes ago, ChknWing said:

 How is this a practical situation for people with children and other responsibilities? 

Unfortunately most employers could care less about your family and other responsibilities. Some states have "Kin Care" laws which allow you to take sick time off for a sick child without penalty.

ChknWing, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric Crisis. Has 12 years experience. 23 Posts

Just now, hppygr8ful said:

What kind of experience do you have? I work psych 8/hr shifts and while I do work a lot of overtime I always have the option to say no! Other specialities to consoder might be clinic nursing or out-patient day surgery. You might make less than ypu would as an acute bedside nurse but you might have morte peace of mind.

Hppy

Having the option to say no is what I would be looking for. I was trying to get a feel about how common this mandatory overtime thing is in other states. I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of forced extra hours. My experience is in Psych Crisis and we do 12s.

1 minute ago, hppygr8ful said:

Unfortunately most employers could care less about your family and other responsibilities. Some states have "Kin Care" laws which allow you to take sick time off for a sick child without penalty.

That's just insane to me. I'm so much more than a nurse/worker.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,610 Posts

On 11/27/2021 at 1:27 PM, ChknWing said:

That's just insane to me. I'm so much more than a nurse/worker.

...not to most employers; to them you're a licensed number used to fill in a slot.

(And to answer your earlier question, forced OT generally came about during the shift as the next shift's sick calls rolled in. There was no mandating for future shifts on the schedule, although I've read people here describing that happening.)

ChknWing, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatric Crisis. Has 12 years experience. 23 Posts

18 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

...not to most employers; to them you're a licensed number used to fill in a slot.

(And to answer your earlier question, forced OT generally came about during the shift as the next shift's sick calls rolled in. There was no mandating for future shifts on the schedule, although I've read people here describing that happening.)

thanks for answering that question for me. if it's inevitable I would be less unhappy about staying if I'm already there vs being told to work a 4th shift in a week.