Good example of literature review on the us policy of mandatory overtime regulation in nursing profession

Individual Right versus Collective Good and the US Policy of Mandatory Overtime Regulation in Nursing Profession

Individual Right versus Collective Good and the US Policy of Mandatory Overtime Regulation in Nursing Profession

Individual rights are those rights that one holds even if he/she belongs to a certain group of people. On the other hand, collective good is what the group majority regards as right or desirable regardless of how its members are differentiated (Griffiths, 2012). Historically, these concepts have remained controversial as they are being witnessed in the policy of mandatory overtime regulation in nursing profession (Griffiths, 2012; Feutz-Harter, 2012). According to Bae, Brewer and Kovner (2011), before 2010, nurse overtime was essential to control chronic staff shortage and handle variations in patient populations. However by 2010, 16 states, in the United States, came up with regulations to control the nurse overtime. Bae and Brewer (2010) noted that except during disasters, the policy was necessary to prohibit medical facilities from committing their employees to work for more than the hours for which they had been regularly scheduled.

Tensions between Individual Right and Collective Good in the Policy

Tensions over the policy have been caused by ongoing controversies among various stakeholders in the healthcare sector. In this regard, firstly, although the government is pushing for its implementation, there have been no generally accepted standard hours for nurses. Secondly, although the American Nurses Association opposes mandatory overtime, its members feel that at least there will be repercussions if they fail to work for extra hours (American Nurses Association, 2013; Feutz-Harter, 2012). Thirdly, even though the government wants to implement this policy, there is still staff shortage and therefore it may not be applicable during emergencies. However, studies have revealed that mandatory overtime has been infringing upon welfares of both patients and nurses. Under conditions of overtime working, nurses’ workloads have been increasing, leading to their burnout and therefore dissatisfactions in their work (Feutz-Harter, 2012). Consequently, many nurses have been quitting their profession, causing graver chronic staff shortages. On the patients’ side, when nurses are fatigued and dissatisfied, they have been prone to making more preventable errors, injuring themselves, and recording many days of absenteeism due to fatigues or sicknesses (Bae and Brewer, 2010; Duhigg, 2012; Feutz-Harter, 2012).

Analysis of Ethical and Legal Considerations in the Policy

According to the American Nursing Association’s Bill of Rights for registered nurses, all nurses will work in accordance with the established code of ethics and its interpretive statements. In this regard, nurses have the right to openly and freely advocate for their own welfare without fear. Importantly, in the code of ethics, staffs should be conscious about the welfare of every patient in a healthcare facility. They will have the right to negotiate about their jobs with their employers, collectively or individually. This will concern shifts of hours at work, payment and safety conditions for everybody, patients included (Feutz-Harter, 2012; Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, 2014). Therefore although there is a nursing shortage, overtime should not be taken as the solution for the needed overtime services; the government should find ways to train more nurses. Moreover, all healthcare providers should create conditions for genuine voluntary overtime engagements. Although there may be emergences that may require nurses on call, they are not usual (US Department of Labor, 2014). Importantly, all forms of overtime (on-call and voluntary overtime) should be accorded with motivating compensation. In this regard, nurses will be satisfied and patients will be provided with better services in good hospital environments (Feutz-Harter, 2012).


American Nurses Association. (2013). Overtime issues. Nursing World. Retrieved on 7 April
2014 from
http://www. nursingworld. org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/N
Bae, S., Brewer, C. (2010). Mandatory overtime regulations and nurse overtime. Policy, Politics,
& Nursing Practice, 11(2), pp. 99-107. doi: 10. 1177/1527154410382300.
Bae, S., Brewer, C. S., & Kovner, C. T. (2011). State mandatory overtime regulations and newly
licensed nurses’ mandatory and voluntary overtime and total work hours. Science Direct, pp. 1-12. doi: 10. 1016/j. outlook. 2011. 06. 006.
Duhigg, C. (2012). The Power of Habit. Landon: Random House.
Feutz-Harter, S. (2012). Legal and Ethical Standards for Nurses. 4th ed. EAU Claire WI: Pesi
Healthcare PHC Publishing Group.
Griffiths, S. M. (2012). Second amendment: individual rights vs. collective rights. Ivn. us.
Retrieved on7 April 2014 from http://ivn. us/2012/12/21/second-amendment-individual-rights-vs-collective-rights/.
US Department of Labor. (2014). Labor standards. Retrieved on 7 April 2014 from
https://www. labor. ny. gov/workerprotection/laborstandards/workers_rights/Mandatory_OT_home. shtm
Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. (2014). American nurses’ association bill of rights for
registered nurses at Vanderbilt hospitals and clinics. Retrieved on 7 April 2014 from https://www. mc. vanderbilt. edu/root/pdfs/magnet/ANA_Bill_of_Rights_for_Registered_Nurses2. doc