Mandatory Overtime - What Nurses Need to Know about COVID-19
Friday, March 13, 2020
Posted by: Kanaka Sathasivan
In 2009, legislation was passed prohibiting mandatory overtime for nurses working in hospitals. The declaration of a state of emergency, as called by Texas Governor Abbott and President Trump today, is an exception to the mandatory overtime prohibition.
At this time, hospitals may mandate nurses to work “hours or days that are in addition to the hours or days scheduled.” Further, before implementing mandatory overtime, “the hospital shall, to the extent possible, make a good faith effort to meeting the staffing need through voluntary overtime, including calling per diems and agency nurses, assigning floats, or requesting an additional day of work from off-duty employees.”
Nurse leaders, staffing committees, and direct care nurses should consult their contingency staffing plans and plan ahead to implement measures to avoid the use of mandatory overtime. These conversations should be ongoing and plans should be reviewed and evaluated daily.
As COVID-19 spreads, employers will need to make staffing decisions to support an increased need for services. Front line health care workers, including nurses, will be at risk of exposure, further increasing the stress on the system.
It is important now, more than ever, that as nurses we act to care for ourselves and our colleagues – these measures strengthen our resilience against illness, reduce stress and allow us to provide the best possible care to our patients. We can do this by being deliberate about our actions and interactions with others.
- Take appropriate rest and nourishment breaks
- Be supportive of each other
- Celebrate one another
- Get appropriate rest, exercise, and nourishment
- Engage in activities that replenish you personally
- Be mindful of your mental health and stress level
Texas Nurses Association continues to monitor the situation. We are holding two virtual town hall meetings on COVID-19 for nurses to share their questions, concerns, and experiences. Join us Wed at 6 p.m. Thurs at noon. Register today!