"Patients are actually at greater risk of having a medication or medical error happen to them when nurses are forced to work beyond their shift," Kelly-Williams says. "There's no denying that this has become a critical problem."
According to MNA/NNU, the ban will prevent mistakes, errors, and complications resulting from RNs being forced to work excessive hours when they're tired.
Under the new law, which will go into effect in a little less than 90 days, a hospital could not, except in the case of a declared emergency, require a nurse to work beyond his or her scheduled shift. A nurse who's worked 12 consecutive hours in a shift must be given at least eight hours off from any work between shifts. Nurse may also refuse overtime without fear of retribution or discipline from their employer.
In addition, hospitals that assign a mandatory overtime shift are required to report those incidents to department of public health, along with the justification for its use.
"That will now be public record," Kelly-Williams says.