Should Nurses Work More than the required time?

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It is obvious they are needed in the hospitals to make it run smoothly. They are present from the receptions to the surgical rooms. They are present for the small things and the major tasks. They organize the queues and keep family members comfortable as they wait on news about their loved ones. So, should the work overtime? They are already managed to work in shifts so that they each get sufficient rest and time to recuperate to make sure they can deliver the next day. Like all of us, there need their rest and it is significant to their performance the next day.

When nurses are required to work overtime, or rather forced to work overtime it is known as mandatory overtime. For most nurses this is exceeding 40 hours of work in a week. It is also a common occurrence in the majority of states in America. 12-hour work shifts also are the norm these days. Nurses also tend to prefer them, working for three days straight set at 12-hour shifts and then have four days off. Patients also tend to get used to the nurses’ schedule. Seeing a familiar face Monday to Wednesday is easier to get acclimatized to than seeing a different nurse every few hours.

Also, it is good to note that nurses are required to receive at least 8 hours free from work between shifts. This includes shifts that are ‘on-call’ shifts, ‘back to back shifts’ or ‘split shifts’. The only time there is an exception to this rule, is when the total time worked by the nurse, does not exceed 13 hours over two shifts. Otherwise, it must be maintained for all nurses. Full-time employees typically work three 12 hour shifts weekly, however, the days do not have to be consecutive. This is the required time or five 8-hour shifts. When full-time employees are required to work round the clock, this means that they must also work weekends, and holidays on a rotating basis with other nurses.

Also read: The Best and Worst Things About Working as a Nurse

Nurse fatigue has been in a problem in the past and continues to persist among them. This negatively affects their work, when their health is not being made a priority. Given that their sole purpose is to give care, they need to be well taken care of as well by their organizations and the hospitals they work for. Nurses also, should not have to undergo mandatory overtime. This creates a discord at work between the employer and employee. Dissatisfied employees often leave their jobs and seek work at another organization. In this case, this could be a smaller clinic, or a smaller hospital or a nursing home for elderly people.

Nurses off time should also be respected as they have a life outside of work. This could relate to family and have a social life. They also need downtime to watch movies, travel, spend quality time with their families and go on vacation. When they feel like their most basic rights are being infringed on they grow unhappy and begin to resent their place of work and their employers. As would any other employee.