Multiple Jobs Add to Nurse Fatigue
Hughes believes that it's in the best interest of patient care for there to be some sort of formal limits on how many hours a nurse can work per week, one that takes into account the fact that some nurses might work multiple jobs.
"Hospitals cannot govern what people do when they are off, but I would imagine the board of nursing can," she says. "I would like to see all 50 [state] boards of nursing band together and limit nurses working hours. I would like to see limits of x hours/24 hour period and x/hours per week. Nurses could keep logs of their time worked much like truckers log books of how many hours on the road."
But perhaps the real, underlying issue here is why nurses feel they need to work more than one job to begin with.
"[I]t is essential for health care organizations to pay adequate salaries to nurses," Sachs says, "so they don't feel compelled to get a second job to support themselves and/or a family, since nursing is very demanding work physically, mentally, and emotionally."
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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