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Mandatory Overtime - What Nurses Need to Know about COVID-19

Friday, March 13, 2020   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Kanaka Sathasivan
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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.

At work:

  • Take appropriate rest and nourishment breaks
  • Be supportive of each other
  • Celebrate one another

At home:

  • 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!


Laura K. Lang says...
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Dear H Potter, Thank you for your comment and providing us your concerns. You can view the recorded Town Hall here: Please take our survey,, to let us know more, even if you have already taken it. We want to hear about ongoing needs. When nurses were excluded from the expert panel in Austin, we sent a press release requesting to include nurses: Please let us know what you need in Lubbock and we will continue to advocate during this difficult time. Thank you, Laura Lang Member Services Coordinator
Harriett P. Harriger says...
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Thank you for holding Town Hall sessions. Unfortunately, I cannot attend. Ambulatory clinic (45 providers) administrator and physicians playing tug of war. 30+ years of acute care nursing (maternal-child, surgery circulator, SICU, Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist, PACU, Nurse Informaticist) now serving medium size ambulatory clinic with hospital for surgical services. I hold a MSN and NEA-BC. It did not make sense non-clinical marketing staffer would tell physicians how to manage patient throughput, especially during covid-19 crisis. Physicians tried to guide clinic administration. Yet were told, 'we don't want to alarm the patients'. Physicians had to fight for PPE for themselves and frontline staff. Shortage understood. Tension and pressure is serious in the ambulatory clinics as well.

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