Mandatory O.T for Nurses-Mental Health Practice
Mental health care is the provision of quality supervision and assistance to patients suffering from mental illness. However, before a nurse is hired in any health facility to provide mental health care services, the nurse is required to have the following standards of qualification as stated in the Scope and Standards of Nursing Practice (2013).
Statement of Specialty Practice
The nurse specialized in mental health should ascertain a proficient, interpersonal and curative relationship with individuals from different families and communities. The nurse should be able to relate theory-based skills and knowledge acquired from professional training into practical psychiatric nursing. The nurse is required to execute good planning methods that yield achievement of the patients’ good state of health. The nurse should also be keen to weigh up the effectiveness of the treatment plan and the bodily response of the patient towards the treatment. The nurse should be well aware of the dos and don'ts set by the regulatory law in regards to the patients' rights.
The familiarity of legal boundaries set by laws administering the practice of mental health nursing will enable the nurse to be responsible for maintaining a professional boundary with patients. Another required standard is that nurses should carry out their duty of care to patients in accordance with the set Code of Ethics (Milton, 2008). In regards to the ethical conduct, the nurse will be guided into upholding the safety of all clients and setting up boundaries that will avert intimate relationships in the professional grounds from developing. Self-responsibility of the nurses in promoting self and professional growth should be an aim aspired by the nurse. Generally, the nurse is required to professionally deliver good health care services to all clients proficiently.
In regards to the above-stated standards in nursing, the nurses' general characteristics should illuminate; keen observation, a positive interpersonal relation, critical and fine judgment concerning administered treatments towards patients and ability to offer good advice to patients.
The Law that Restricts Mandatory Overtime for Nurses
The law restricting mandatory overtime for nurses states that "No licensed practical nurse or registered nurses employed by a health care facility covered by this law is required to work overtime unless one of four limited exceptions applies.” The four recognizable exceptions of allowed overtime under this law are;(1) if the reason for overtime is due to an unavoidable circumstance of emergency; (2) if the overtime is as a result of a pre- arranged “on-call time”; (3) if the employer provides sensible reasons of unavoidable overtime to staff; and (4) when the overtime period is utilized to complete an earlier care procedure to a patient especially if damaging result would occur if the employee were to leave before completion of care.
The main aim behind the setting up of this regulatory law, according to Bae and Yoon (2014), is to set restrictions on health care amenities that tend to act contrary to the initial working hours agreements, subjecting nurses to overworking and underpayment. The law apart from protecting the nurses’ rights and interests also works towards promoting the patients' wellbeing and ensuring the provision of excellent health care (MacPhee, Dahinten&Havaei, 2017). Nurses working in the overtime restriction law covered institutions, who engage in direct care to patients, are legible to this law. Other staffs offering clinical services and patient care are also included in this law. They include diabetic and staff instructors, lab and research nurses to mention but a few.
Health care amenities which fall under this law comprises of legally licensed facilities that function 24 hours on a daily basis throughout the week. Examples of such health amenities include; nursing homes, psychiatric institutions managed privately, municipally or nationally, emergency hospital units and health units within correctional institutions(Nursing practice alert: Update on new law banning mandatory overtime, 2013).
Potential Obstacles Conflicting with Government Regulation on Mandatory Overtime
Mandatory overtime reduces the vacancy of nurses. Most institutions will take advantage of the law and higher minimal number of nurses. This in turn leads to an increase in the number of unemployed professionally qualified nurses. It also promotes rise in number of poor patient care since the nurses will most likely suffer from fatigue due to excessive working hours and less rest
Disadvantages of Mandatory Overtime
In a general viewing, nurses on a daily basis are proven to work for more hours than they should. According to the International Council of Nurses (ICN), nurses in a global rating are on the rise of working overtime thus threatening their capability to provide their professional care towards patients. Working for extra hours creates fatigue among the nurses. Fatigue, as a result of overtime working for nurses, may subject both the nurse and the patient to serious health damages. The patients’ health may be subject to jeopardy since chances of the nurses committing medication errors will be high (American Nurses Association, 2011). Additionally, the nurses’ social lives are negatively affected. ,. The more hours nurses spend in overtime working, the more their responsibilities towards their families increase and face neglect.
According to the Public Policy Associates, Incorporated (2004), the occurrence of medical errors, for example, may subject the hospital to insurance claims or compensation of health damage to a patient which is proven to be very expensive. Moreover, the Circadian Technologies, a consulting firm incorporation that is a specialty for evaluating risks caused by human fatigue, states an increase of lawsuits forwarded as a result of nurse fatigue due to working overtime. Such cases may further result in the shutting down of a health facility or loss of clients due to pending lawsuits. The shutdown of a health facility may negatively impact the community, due to increase in a number of unemployed people, and stress in search of a new health facility to rely on for employment and treatment.
Positive Solutions to Barriers Brought about by Mandatory Overtime
As an adult and a professional nurse, it is recommended to speak out your feelings in a considerable and respectful manner. Subjecting nurses to mandatory overtime in some situations may be hard to deal with. It is also a risky situation since the nurse on duty will be held entirely responsible or any happenings that will occur on the patient under care. If by any chance, the nurse feels unable to carry out the duty given correctly, it is advisable to inform the supervisor in charge why you cannot work over the extra hours. This notification should be done in advance so that you may avoid inconveniences and prompt for earlier arrangements with other available staff. If you notice that your supervisor is reluctant in addressing the issue, it is okay to discuss the situation with the next superior. It is also important to criticize your judgment before making the decision of not being able to attend overtime. The reason should be genuine.
All the facts regarding the overtime situation should be noted down. These include; reason for requested overtime, the period in which the schedule was unoccupied, was the overtime request related to an emergency, how many extra hours were you required to work, why were you unable to attend the extra hours? Consult with the supervisor on how to solve the matter and also cooperate by offering meaningful suggestions. Co-relate to the facility’s position in regards to the mandatory overtime for nurses policy.
Conclusively, it is right for the facility under which nurses are employed to respect the right and opinions of health workers. Speaking out reasons of not being able to attend overtime is however difficult for nurses due to the fear of being sacked.
American Nurses Association.(2011). Mandatory Overtime.
Bae, S., & Yoon, J. (2014).Impact of States' Nurse Work Hour Regulations on Overtime Practices and Work Hours among Registered Nurses.Health Services Research, 49(5), 1638-1658.
International Council of Nurses.(n.d.).Nurses and overtime, Nursing matters fact sheet. Retrieved from https://www.icn.ch/matters_overtime
MacPhee, M., Dahinten, V. S., &Havaei, F. (2017). The Impact of Heavy Perceived Nurse Workloads on Patient and Nurse Outcomes. Administrative Sciences (2076-3387), 7(1), 1-17. doi:10.3390/admsci7010007.
Milton, C. L. (2008). Accountability in Nursing: Reflecting on Ethical Codes and Professional Standards of Nursing Practice from a Global Perspective. Nursing Science Quarterly, 21(4), 300-303.Nurses [Newsletter]. Lansing, MI.
Nursing practice alert: Update on new law banning mandatory overtime. (2013). Massachusetts Nurse Advocate, 84(2), 4.
Public Policy Associates, Incorporated.(2004, August).The Costs of Mandatory Overtime for
Scope and Standards of Nursing Practice. (2013). American Nurse, 45(1),www.nursingworld.com