In the news: Texas to prohibit mandatory overtime for nurses

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, August 18, 2009

Following the lead of Pennsylvania, which banned mandatory overtime for nurses as of July 1, 2009, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) is expected to sign a similar bill by the end of August, according to Healthcare Finance News.

The new bill would allow nurses to refuse mandatory overtime and not face retaliation for neglect or abandonment of care. Janet Haebler, RN, associate director of State Government Affairs for the American Nurses Association, says many state nursing associations are working with states to create bills that won't be met with as much resistance from hospitals as before.

Haebler believes that hospitals are recognizing more and more the direct correlation between staffing and patient outcomes, reports Healthcare Finance News, adding that mandatory overtime adds to nurse burnout and turnover, which she says is partly responsible for the nursing shortage.

The bill does not specify a number of hours for a shift, just on involuntary overtime. For example, a 15-hour shift in one department may be more acceptable than the same length of shift in the ICU. The bill is part of a larger proposal, the Safe Hospital Staffing Act.

Source: Healthcare Finance News

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