Feb 8, 2008

Legislation (and pay raises?) in Pennsylvania nurses future?

The Philadelphia Inquirer published an article It's past time to relieve nurses
In Pa., they can be forced into extra shifts
that discusses the forced overtime for nurses that can have them working 18 or even 24 hours straight.

While 12-hour shifts are increasingly commonplace -- very often by the demands of the shiftworkers -- shiftwork experts say that overtime beyond that should be infrequent, and limited in length to not more than 16 hours while a substitute is found. There clearly is a safety issue for both the nurses, the patients they serve, and others on the road when the fatigued nurses drive home.

The article mentions that state legislators are considering a ban, but that will not solve the problem. The problem is driven by a shortage of trained nurses. The solution doesn't lie in legislation alone. More nurses will need to be attracted to fill the gaps. That calls for a market solution -- raising the rate of pay to attract more nurses. That's the only way a new equilibrium will be found.

Managers of 24/7 operations, particularly those that absolutely must operate round-the-clock, and require skilled labor, should take note. Overworking employees creates extra costs and liabilities, and ultimately will drive employees away exacerbating the labor shortage.

I'm not advocating any particular action on anyone's part but the

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