working more that 16 hours straight

  1. I am trying to find out if it's breaking a labor law to make us(PACU) nurses work more than 16 hours straight in a 24 hour period. Could anyone point me in the right direction. I work in Florida and we have times where we must hold a patient in the pacu due to beds not being available during our busy times. I worked with a colleague a few years ago and she said it was against some policy or law that we could not be forced to work more than 16 hours straight. That nurse no longer works with us. Now, my boss is saying that there's no such law or policy.

    We take call 24 hour shifts on the weekend and 8 hour weekday call. If I work 10a-10p and I'm on call that night we have used the fact that I would need to be relieved at 2am. And then there's the weekend that they use the pacu to hold patients. The supervisors were using Pacu as an icu hold at times. Now we are faced with possibly being stuck all night. We have this occur probaly 3-4 times a year but are threatened with it pretty often. We of course don't feel this is a safe practice.

    So in a nutshell, is there a labor law, perhaps specific to florida, that would clarify this point. Thanks
  2. Visit elke61 profile page

    About elke61

    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 2
    from FL , US


  3. by   scoochy
    I feel for you. I used to be a PACU nurse (19yrs) but finally got out for reasons you stated...using the PACU as an
    "overflow ICU" was what did it for me.

    Your best bet is to check with Florida's Dept. of Labor. Make certain you get the name of the person to whom you have spoken. Ask if there is a law and if so, request a copy. Have you attempted a computer search for info?

    Good Luck.
  4. by   All4Seasons

    I'm afraid my help is limited -I'm in Canada,but if you are unionized,your union contract would definitely address this. If you are not unionized,calling your Florida State labour department should be of some help. As well there are oodles of websites which may help you out.Perhaps someone here could help:

    Or there may be something here:

    In our unit,we work a maximum of 16 hours in a row when we're on call - if our call is scheduled after a 15-23 shift. (call then goes from 23-07). We absolutely go home then - unless there's a very unusual circumstance,like a blizzard, preventing the day staff from getting in. Some nurses here on AllNurses,after call have to stay on for all or part of a day shift, but that wouldn't be allowed here -thank goodness!

    Our ORs do elective cases every weekend - so we are regularly staffed on weekends (2 7-3s,1 11-7, 2 3-11s),including the same type of call.

    The best of luck finding some answers - like you,I wouldn't just take my unit manager's word on it.
  5. by   travelingdeb
    I was wondering if you got an answer to this question as our nurses are sometimes in the same situation in Florida?
  6. by   nmred
    Start with the DOL in your area. I live in NM and on our DOL webpage there is a statement of forcing personnel to work over 16 hours straight- not allowed. Which means the hospital must have some policy in place with step by step instructions, who to call, when to call, how much time to give them to find a replacement, etc. The problem is enforcing the policy. There is always ONE nurse who will choose not to follow it and that will set the whole unit up for failure. ASPAN's standards for 2008-10 (?), it's the latest ones, has a call/exhausted check sheet for PACU nurses. You go down the list and check off the boxes. If you feel you are unsafe it guides you through the proper steps and channels. Maybe presenting this to your Superiors will help clear a path for safer patient care. Remember: The Superiors are at home sleeping... you're the last thing on their minds.

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