Mandating overtime and patient safety
Last year, nurses in Michigan, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Nevada either walked off the job or demonstrated during disputes over staffing and mandatory overtime.
Numerous studies have found that increasing a nurse’s hours raises the risk of errors and adverse events.
It would stop hospitals from disciplining or firing nurses who refuse overtime except during disasters or emergencies that bring in a large number of patients.
The Ohio Hospital Association argues the proposal would get in the way of patient care, saying hospitals need flexibility in staffing because of the always changing number of patients.“We believe, through current measures in place, that we are putting patient safety first,” it said in a statement.
In a statement to The Blade newspaper last week, it said the practice of asking employees to be on-call “is a reasonable and responsible process to ensure each patient has the specialized care he or she needs while respecting the work-life balance of our associates and their families.”Powers, a surgical nurse, said she was on-call just over 40 hours a week last year — on top of her regular 40-hour work week.“It’s nothing more than a crutch because they don’t want to hire more help,” she said.
It wasn’t unusual, she said, when she worked in general trauma to work a 12-hour shift and then get called back into work in the middle of the night.“We are expected, regardless of when we leave, to then get back on time the next morning,” she said.