Quote from canoehead
I have been trying to find a course on labor law without going into a whole paralegal program- unfirtunately I don't even know what to look for in a course outline. I have the same problem with ordering books- I don't know what I don't know, so I don't know what I need...or something like that.
I want to be able to evaluate or hospital's present policies as they relate to standing state and federal laws. I've already found some questionable issues.
1) Mandatory OT cannot be forced on nurses past 12 hours of work except in case of "unforseen circumstance." Our hospital regularly mandates, and policy states they can, up to 18 hours. Is a sick call an unforseen circumstance, or is it a predictable part of doing business?
2)If we are required to get x amount of break time when the shifts are 6 hours long, why doesn't that time double if we are working 12 or 16 hour shifts?
If anyone knows the answers I'd love to hear them.
Perhaps there is someone here that can recommend a labor law book that will get me started- at least get me to the point where I know what questions to ask, and the buzz words associated with different issues.
Have you checked the paralegal programs at a local community college? You should be able to take a class without enrolling in the entire program. Contact the program director.
I would think that a course outline would include Federal and State Labor laws. There really isn't any other subjects to cover. A class in Administrative Law would also be helpful. Nurses need to know how to utilize Administrative Laws to be able to contest, or grieve actions by these agencies. State Nurse Practice Acts are considered Regulatory Agencies. Paralegal Programs also include classes on Administrative law.
Be aware that Federal Law is the law of the land. Personnel and Hospital policies cannot supercede Federal Law. For instance, if you work for a Catholic Hosptal, they cannot dictate that you must attend Mass on Sunday. Or cannot refuse to hire someone because they are Jewish. These policies would violate Federal Law.
All nurses should take these classes. Nurses are routinely subjected to Labor Law violations, and their ignorance leads to many of the workplace abuses we are subjected to.
Kaplan has an online paralegal program, but I don't know if you can "cherry pick" classes you want to take, without having to enroll in the entire program.
The classes that I have take were part of the Legal Nurse Certificate program at Spokane Community College here in Spokane. It was part of the Paralegal Program. When you take these classes, they are conducted like Law Classes in Law School. You are expected to analyze the questions on test, which are scenarios, like case studies in nursing. You have to apply the legal "elements" of the case, and we had to do legal research, and quote applicable case law to support our answers.
It is not as hard as is sounds. You take classes in Legal Research, etc, which prepare you to be able to do this.
Anyway, I hope this helps. I have said for awhile now that I should travel around the country giving seminars on Employment and Administrative Law for nurses.
Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN