Mandatory Overtime



Mandatoryovertime is among the key workplace issues affecting nurses in thecontemporary health care setups. Mandatory overtime refers to thepractice of the health care facilities to maintain a sufficientnumber of nurses within the facility by forcing the available staffto work overtime (American Association of Critical Care Nurse, 2014).These nurses are usually forced to work for up to six extra hourswith a less than one hour notice. Although mandatory overtimemaintains the required patient-nurse ration in the health carefacility, the quality of health care services is likely to declinesince nurses who are forced to work overtime fatigued and mightcompromise the safety of their patients.

Mostof the state governments and the federal government are addressingthe issue of mandatory overtime through legislation. For example, theU.S. Senate passed the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act in the year2003 to regulate the number of hours that nurses can work as overtime(Bae, 2013). The shortage of nurses is a commonplace issue that hascontributed towards the use of mandatory overtime as a means ofretaining the required number of nurses within the health carefacility at any given time (Rosseter, 2014 and Nevidjon &ampErickson, 2001). To this end, the stakeholders in the health caresector (including the government) are focusing on increasing thenumber of nursing students in order to contain the issue of mandatoryovertime.

Inconclusion, the shortage of nurses is one of the key factorscontributing towards the issue of mandatory overtime in many healthcare facilities. Although the government has embarked on theformulation of legislation to regulate the number of overtime hoursthat the nursing staff should work, increasing the number of nursingstudents is the most viable option to contain the issue. This isbecause the large number of nursing students will address theunderlying issue of the shortage of the nursing professionals.


AmericanAssociation of Critical Care Nurse (2014). Mandatoryovertime.Viejo, CA: AACCN.

Bae,S. (2013). Presence of nurse mandatory overtime regulations and nurseand patient outcome. WebMed LLC.Retrieved October 21, 2014, from

Nevidjon,B. &amp Erickson, J. (2001). The nursing shortage solution for theshort and long-term. Journalof Issues in Nursing,6 (1), 1-8.

Rosseter,R. (2014). Nursingshortage.Washington, DC: American Association of College of Nursing.