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Pa. Nurses To Be Freed of Forced Overtime

Pa. Nurses To Be Freed of Forced Overtime

Angela Couloumbis / Philadelphia Inquirer

December 18, 2008

HARRISBURG – After years of lobbying, nurses and other medical professionals in Pennsylvania will no longer be forced to routinely work overtime.

Under a new law, which goes into effect in July, health care facilities will be prohibited, with few exceptions, from forcing nurses and certain other health care staffers to work beyond their scheduled shifts.

Supporters of the bill say it is aimed at improving patient safety by cutting down on the possibility of nurses and other health care workers becoming overtired and more prone to making mistakes.

“There was a problem with nurses being overworked and overtired and potentially error-prone in their jobs,” said Gov. Rendell during a ceremonial signing of the bill yesterday.

Deborah Bonn, director of the Nurse Alliance of Pennsylvania of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), put it this way: “A tired nurse isn’t a safe nurse. We know that. It’s a matter of making the decision to stop putting patients at risk.”

The law seeks to prevent health care institutions – including hospitals and nursing homes – from disciplining or discriminating against caregivers who refuse to work beyond a scheduled shift.

It does provide for some exceptions, such as a natural disaster. But in that and other emergency situations, the mandatory overtime can only be used as a last resort. And health care institutions must give an employee an hour to arrange for family care.

The law also prohibits employers from using on-call time as a substitute for mandatory overtime.

“This day has been a long time coming,” said Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D., Philadelphia), who pushed for the bill. “Enactment of this law is recognition that the skill and judgment of nurses and other health-care workers are critical to patients and their families.”

The law applies to caregivers who deal directly with patients, including nurses, technicians, technologists, certified nursing assistants and phlebotomists. It covers medical facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, surgical and rehabilitation facilities and state health facilities.

The law will be enforced by the state Department of Labor & Industry. Violators can be fined from $100 to $1,000 per violation

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    jb1234

    about 5 years ago

    2 comments

    My boss told me that SPU nurses were grandfather and the new law on mandatory overtime does not apply to us, is this correct?

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    diane1954

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I love my job. but we have actually have'nurses' who refuse to work OT, there are always only a few of us getting mandated, I have never not had a week of OT..80 hrs a week in the summer. never a weekend/holiday off, and now we have to punch out for breaks we can't take, or we get docked 30 minutes. so, punch out, go back to work, and count on the same people calling off , work 16, go home, don't sleep, and you better be back for your shift! we deserve so much more respect than we get! at least this is a start.

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    raymoss1

    almost 6 years ago

    220 comments

    All I have to say to glw, what? What does drugs have to do with manditory overtime?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    glw

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Help me understand: "making the decision to stop putting patients at risk"... does that mean we'll finally see random hair testing for narcotics? Will hospitals and schools FINALLY care enough about safety & quality to PROACTIVELY dismiss and de-license addicts?

    Current urine tests are well announced and easily maskable. In the meantime, past firings and vice arrests are also ignored. SAFETY FIRST IS A JOKE UNTIL WE RID HEALTHCARE OF UNTRUSTWORTHY JUNKIES WITH CHEMICALLY-ALTERED, ETHICS-COMPROMISED JUDGMENT.

    Would *you* want your loved one (or yourself) treated by a lying heroin-addicted ICU-RN?? I hope the families of all our dead-before-their-time patients by Nurse Feel Goode sue for wrongful death. Maybe then we'll take seriously the daily risks of junkies in medicine--

    http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=he...

    http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/85637/why_some_hospitals_are...

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    aggiegirl1989

    almost 6 years ago

    154 comments

    i typically worked 2 16 hour shifts on the weekend so i could spend time with my family during the week and it was the hardest thing i have ever done and i was younger!!! lol

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    raymoss1

    almost 6 years ago

    220 comments

    About time. I can not tell you how many times I was mandated for 16 hour shifts. And made to come back again in the morning and yes be mandated again. Each time to busy for a break. When I would ask management for a break I would be told deal with it. Neddless to say I am nolonger working for this place. Another rhing that needs to be worked on is breaks for nurses. Can't tell you how many times I was so busy and could not take a break or called back to the unit. Administration should be forced to fill in and give their nurses a break.

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    mashell4

    almost 6 years ago

    1066 comments

    This is a good thing! I remember my sister calling telling us to pick up her son becuase she's just been mandated. Only after already working a full 8 hours she would have to work anther 8 hours. It may not seem hard to sum, but 16 hours of nursing is hard work. I would be very easy to make mistakes this way

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