Positive Workforce Solution for Mandatory Overtime †
What options does a nurse have when he/she is forced to work mandatory overtime? †
If a nurse feels that working additional hours places patient safety in jeopardy what options exist for the individual?
Nurses have a professional responsibility to his/her patients. However, when a nurse accepts the assignment of mandatory overtime, he/she is held accountable and responsible for their actions. If you question your ability to practice safely, what can you do: †
1. Notify your supervisor. Inform him/her that you cannot work the additional hours and the reasons why (be specific, e.g. I have been up for 16 hours already today and if I stay I will place patient safety in jeopardy). Advise your supervisor in a timely manner so that he/she can make other personnel arrangements.
2. If after notifying your immediate supervisor, he/she remains adamant about the assignment of extra hours, discuss with the next level of management. †
3. †Use good judgment in your decision-making. Is nurse fatigue driving your decision?
4. †Document all the facts regarding the situation. Why did the supervisor request you work overtime? How long did the vacancy in the schedule exist? Was there an unforeseen emergency, e.g. patient emergency, staff call in, or unscheduled admissions? How many additional hours were you expected to work? Document the reason why you could not work the additional hours, be specific.
5. †Problem solve with the supervisor/manager. Determine if there are patterns on the unit in regards to the use of mandatory overtime. Are there alternative staffing patterns that could be put into place? Be part of the solution by collaborating with management. †
6. †Know the facility's policy regarding mandatory overtime. † †
Board of Nursing Postion on Mandatory Overtime:
The State of Wisconsin Board of Nursing does not have a statement of position on mandatory overtime per se, but it is eluded to on their statement on Patient abandonment. †