Overtime for Nurses, a Safety Concern.

Overtime for Nurses, a Safety Concern.

Posted in the Top Stories Forum

Since: Apr 14

Vancouver, WA

#1 Apr 10, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014.
Quality of health care and health care access are hot topics in today`s politics. Politicians have made health care best known as Obama care a center piece of their campaign. The health care policy bill that was passed by the congress and now a law, is hoped that it could limit overtime for some nurses. Nurses have always been recognized as they deliver high quality health care as an important piece of nursing. Various factors contribute to the high quality of nursing care delivery, including nursing expertise, supportive personnel and resources, good communication, and fair nurse-patient ratios
According to the American Nurses Association, Federal regulation allows employers to increase forced overtime for hourly paid nurses, because salaried employees don’t get paid at a time and half. What is the outcome? Many nurses are called in to work overtime but at times they never get rewarded for their extra effort.
Watching, reading or listening the news, health care facilities will continue to pay overtime to nurses because of the nursing shortage which is even believed to continue until late 2020 maybe. Access to health care and the quality of health care has for sure been affected severely with the nursing shortage. Working overtime is unsafe for both patients and nurses, and I believe this is what has been the driving reasons why nurses are leaving the profession, thus worsening the ongoing nursing shortage that is even expected to dramatically worsen over the years.
Today, in order to meet patients`/residents` health care needs employers are having nurses work more and more overtime. Sometimes mandated overtime, encouraging it by rewarding employees that work extra hours with incentives and worthwhile hourly earnings. I know for sure nurses enjoy to see a boost in their paycheck from working overtime.
Honestly, do we really want nurses working overtime even with incentives?
ANA believes that eliminating overtime for nurses is a fundamental issue that will improve nurses` working conditions and thus reducing the number of medical errors and delivering safe and effective patient health care.
The lives of patients are solely in our hands as nurses. Nurses, we have gained the skills that are required to monitor patients and be able to recognize any changes in patients assigned to our care daily. We are able to recognize changes like, change in vital signs, or anything doing with medications in spite of the route of administration. Federal regulations should be able to govern the nurses’ overtime. Giving a wrong dose of medication or missing an irregular heartbeat because a nurse`s attention span is decrease will affect the quality health care for patient in both hospital and long term care facilities.
Therefore the employers should stop asking nurses to work overtime, rather focus on the safety of patient/residents. I honestly believe that health care policies both at all states and federal levels should include the issues about overtime for nurses and limit the number of hours nurses should work per week in order for a nurse to operate, effectively and safely as they handle patients. I understand it is not an easy thing to talk about when our hospitals and other nursing facilities require twenty fur hours of nursing care, but safety of all the patients should be a priority for both nurses, employers, and even policy makers.

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