Print

RN Jobs >> Browse Articles >> Hospitals

+4

No More Mandatory Overtime for Texas Nurses

No More Mandatory Overtime for Texas Nurses

Houston Chronicle

September 03, 2009

Hospitals in Texas can no longer require registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses to work mandatory overtime.

The law, which went into effect Tuesday, makes Texas the 15th state to prohibit the practice of forcing nurses to work longer than their scheduled shifts.

“It’s very, very important for patient safety,” said Fernando Losada, state director of the National Nurses Organizing Committee Texas in Austin. The group is part of the California Nurses Association, a union which lobbied legislators for the law.

Nurses typically work 12-hour shifts, he said, and it’s common for managers to tell nurses to come in early or stay when their shift is scheduled to end. Sometimes it’s just an hour or two, but more likely it’s an extra four to six to eight hours, he said.

It’s a way for understaffed hospitals to make sure they have enough employees on duty in case someone calls in sick, he said.

It’s also a quality of life issue for nurses, said Jim Willmann, general counsel and director of governmental affairs for the Texas Nurses Association in Austin, which also supported the legislation.

More Career News

Staffing and overtime

The law also strengthens a rule set by the Texas Department of State Health Services in 2002 that hospitals cannot staff their facilities based on mandatory overtime, Willmann said.

“It’s always been a problem,” he said, because of the shortage of nurses. However, many hospitals are reluctant to force their nurses to work overtime because it creates a less-than-desirable work environment.

“None of us like to be told at noon that we have to work another four hours or half a shift,” he said.

Originally, the bill would have also included nursing homes and home health agencies, he said. But those nurses work a variety of shifts and were dropped from the legislation. In future years the association will try to extend the mandatory overtime rule to those practice settings, Willmann said.

Expects few changes

Tangula Taylor, director of nursing at Texas Children’s Hospital, doesn’t expect much to change.

The hospital has what it calls a “float pool” to provide supplemental staffing, she said. When a nurse can’t come in for a scheduled shift, a floater is assigned. Also, nurse educators and nurse managers can cover a shift if necessary, Taylor said.

There are exceptions, she said, like when nurses can’t trade off safely during an operation. There are also provisions for natural disasters like hurricanes or extraordinary emergencies like a big train wreck.

Sound Off! What Do You Think of the New Law? Should More States Jump on the Bandwagon?

In those cases, Taylor is ready for action herself. A registered nurse, she has a pair of scrubs next to her desk.

But Taylor said, “I haven’t had to step in for a long time.”

© YellowBrix 2009


+4
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ndprice

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    It is a step in the right direction, but it has a long way to go. I work in the home health arena and I have served as a field nurse/ administrator/ management and now back to field nursing which is my passion. However, in any role that I have worked in, stepping in is essential to maintain quality care and the shortage of trained nurses in the home care arena make it extremely difficult to delegate to another nurse the required care and finding one with the trained ability as the Board of Nurses does not allow graduate nurses to work in the homecare environment even with a preceptor and newly licensed nurses are strongly urged to obtain 6months to a year of hospital/ nursing home care. One in the homecare arena needs to be confident in their assessment & applications of nursing skills as there is no back up during an emergency situation when a patient goes bad.

  • Medmonkey_max50

    mrbrownrn49

    over 4 years ago

    68 comments

    And Taylor hasn't had to step in for awhile. I'll guarantee it. Those scrubs are for appearance. These administrative bums leave on time (or early), come in late, never work a holiday EVER, don't know one end of the enema kit from the other and are sellouts all the way.

  • Medmonkey_max50

    mrbrownrn49

    over 4 years ago

    68 comments

    Exceptions: when nurses can't trade off safely during an operation. Horse hockey. Even the scrub techs can trade off safely in 90% of all operations. There is no reason the circulator, which is usually the only nurse in the room, can't be relieved. More corporate BS. Anything to save a dollar so the upper admin jerks can get an annual bonus.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    lovelacegrrrl

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I think that the legislation should include nursing homes! It's hard work caring for close to 30 patients for 8 hrs and worse when you find out at the last minute you have to stay longer. Often with no bonus and any overtime hours being severely taxed.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    seanurse

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I believe its agood idea. I also believe all nurses lpn,lvn,and rn,and bsn should form a union. appoint our own board to run it and get nursing back on track where we care for patients and not just push pills!!!! Nurses are needed just not getting hired right now. Poor nursing home patients are getting no help by current staff,because of the shortage of funds for them. sad i think.

NursingLink School Finder

Save time in your search for a nursing or healthcare degree program. Use NursingLink's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

Get Info

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.