Pennsylvania Nurses Fight to Ban Mandatory Overtime
Often considered by hospitals as a necessary staffing measure, mandatory overtime for nurses has become a source of contention for nursing unions nationwide. For one state in particular, the battle to ban mandatory overtime for all health care workers became heated this month as thousands of nurses rallied for the cause.
During Nurses' Week, nurses in Pennsylvania staged a rally outside the Harrisburg capitol building in support of a bill that would ban hospitals and nursing homes from requiring nurses to work longer than their scheduled shifts. The rally on May 10 was organized by 1199/P-SEIU, the Pennsylvania Health Care Union that represents roughly 7,000 nurses in the state.
Marcie Boyer, RN, chairperson of the Nurse Alliance Leadership Council, the nursing division of SEIU, explained that it has been a long road to educate legislators on the danger of mandatory overtime to patients, nurses and the family unit.
"It's a combination of issues," Boyer said. "We all have heard the horror stories of nurses who worked two shifts and then fell asleep at the wheel on the way home. Working overtime also tears at the fiber of the family," she added.