Lawmaker seeks to protect patients and nurses with overtime bill

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2010 file photo, a nurse practitioner prepares a flu vaccination in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When we are ill, getting the best healthcare from the professionals we trust with our care is outright expected, which is why it is almost shocking to learn that some organizations are forcing nurses to work overtime shifts regardless of how tired they are.

According to State Representative Robert Sprague, studies show that tired nurses are prone to making mistakes and those mistakes could lead to serious medical problems.

He wants to alleviate this potential threat to patients by eliminating the ability for organizations to force nurses to pick up extra shifts.

Sprague says, some nurses claim to have been told they would be reported to the nursing board for abandoning their patients if they refused to work an overtime shift; and he says there is a big difference between asking someone to pick up a shift and coercing them into doing so under threat of the loss of their job.

“If you’re asking somebody to work overtime that’s one thing, but if you’re forcing them by the threat of losing their job or losing their license to work at a time when they feel it’s not safe for them to be taking care of patients; that’s a recipe for a problem,” said Sprague.

The lawmaker says his legislation has the support of nurses but is experiencing some push back from organizations that employ them.

They are concerned about what will happen if they get surges of patients at times when they do not have the staff to cover the extra need for help.

Sprague says he is working with those organizations to try and address those issues as he prepares to present sponsor testimony on his bill.

With less than 12 full months to get the bill done, Sprague says it needs to get moving; and he hopes to have given his testimony by the end of February. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s