Changing Staffing Patterns And Reducing Healthcare Costs Essay

Length: 8 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Healthcare Type: Essay Paper: #1946637 Related Topics: Critical Care, Pneumonia, Ulcer, Fixed Costs
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Mandatory Overtime Policies

Organizational Culture and Readiness Assessment

The results of the Organizational Culture and Readiness for System-Wide Integration of Evidence-Based Practice checklist, which summarizes the survey results, are discussed with regard to the readiness level of the organization, possible project barriers and facilitators, and plans for integrating with clinical inquiry.

The overarching characteristic of the state of readiness of this organization for system-wide integration of evidence-based practice is moderately encouraging, while still indicative of some concern regarding barriers to implementation success. The stakeholders in the organization are aware of the importance of evidence-based practice and they are fundamentally supportive. The organization provides resources to support the integration of evidence-based practice into the institution, however, the availability of skilled staff who can assist with the changes is limited (Battilana & Casciaro, 2012). Two related and high scoring items in the survey have to do with the availability of quality computers and electronic databases for nursing staff to search evidence-based research and the extent to which staff nurses are proficient in computer skills. Also high scoring items are responses to the questions about the extent of the knowledge and skills librarians have about evidence-based practice, and the extent to which librarians are used to search for evidence. And while the extent that advanced practice nurses are available to be mentors for staff regarding evidence-based practice, the survey respondents indicated that there is not a critical mass of nurses who have strong evidence-based practice knowledge & skills nor are there sufficient nurse researchers with doctoral level preparation available to assist in the generation of evidence (Battilana & Casciaro, 2012).

Battilana and Casciaro (2012) explored the impact that the type of organizational change has on the ability of change agents to introduce a new practice in an organization. The contingency theory of organizational change and the structure of networks are supported by the Battilana and Casciaro (2012). Interestingly, when there are breaks or holes in the networks of those who influence change, there seems to be a willingness to initiate bolder organizational change. Moreover, those gaps in the network appear to hinder the adoption of changes that are more similar to the status quo (Battilana and Casciaro, 2012). What this can mean to the use of resources within the organization is that perhaps the divergence across the stakeholders may support a bolder change initiative. Knowing this counter-intuitive finding from Battilana and Casciaro (2012) is a step toward integrating clinical inquiry into the organization, providing strategies that strengthen the organizations weaker areas.

Section B: Problem Description


The practice of mandatory overtime is an issue for the workplace and for patient safety. The literature defines mandatory overtime as, "the practice of hospitals and health care institutions to maintain adequate numbers of staff nurses through forced overtime, usually with a total of twelve to sixteen hours worked, with as little as one hour's notice" ("AACN," 2001). Mandatory overtime is a regular practice and not one implemented in order to address unforeseen emergency situations. Accordingly, mandatory overtime policy does not permit nurses to refuse the additional required hours due to fatigue or out of concern for patient care ("AACN," 2001). Moreover, time that is identified as "on call" is not included in this mandatory overtime requirement unless it falls immediately before or after a scheduled shift and would cause a double shift situation ("AACN," 2001).


The stakeholders who are involved in the mandatory overtime situation and the issues that result from its implementation include the following: Administrators, advanced practice nurses (APN), nursing staff, nurses with doctoral preparation and librarians to help with evidence-based practice inquiry, patients, and physicians.


The theory driving this PICOT is that disallowing mandatory overtime in a hospital or health care institution will result in higher quality patient care, greater job satisfaction by nursing staff, and improvements in institutional reputations, which will translate into greater return on nurse staffing ratio is appropriate, the following outcomes can be mitigated: "Length of hospital stay, nosocomial pneumonia, postoperative infections, pressure ulcers, and nosocomial urinary tract infections" ("ANA," 2006).

The therapy / prevention PICOT is based on the belief that sufficient nurse staffing will result in more time being available for more thorough patient assessment and more thoughtful and timely interventions that will improve patient outcomes. The acronym PICOT represents the following concepts:

P = Population / Patient Problem

I = Intervention

C = Comparison

O = Outcome

T = Time

The PICOT states, "Does (P) the quality of patient care improve in hospital units that (I) disallow mandatory overtime versus ( C) hospital units that implement mandatory overtime policies as measured by the ANA indicators (T) during the six-month period following the interventions?" The objective is to determine the change in indicators and multiple measurements will be taken in order to capture change.

Section C: Literature Support


This paper reviews the relevant literature of mandatory overtime for nursing staff in hospitals and health care facilities. A comprehensive electronic search was conducted using the following resources:


Cochrane Systematic Reviews

Joanna Briggs Systematic Reviews


National Academies Press

National Guideline Clearinghouse



English-only, peer-reviewed publications from 1976 through 2014 were included in the search. Search key words included: mandatory overtime, nursing staff overtime, patient safety, nursing job satisfaction, nurse fatigue, cost-saving in hospitals, recruiting nurses, hiring nurses, and hidden costs of mandatory overtime in hospitals. Articles from nursing, hospital administration, institutional and professional change management, and healthcare policy were included. Articles with an evidence level of II and below were fully reviewed. This discussion presents the major findings from the reviewed literature, and the reader is invited to refer to Appendix D and E. For more information.

Literature Review and Synthesis

Studies unequivocally support the disallowance of mandatory overtime for nursing staff. Numerous studies have concluded that when direct care medical employees work for longer than 12 hours during a single shift, their fatigue levels escalate and the likelihood increases that they will make an error ("ANA," 2000; Kohn, 2000; Nui, et al., 2013; Scott, et al., 2006). Scott, et al. (2006) conducted as study in which nurses completed logbooks to note any relevant information or conditions regarding their work schedules, levels of alertness and fatigue, and errors in practice or decision making. The study found that 502 nurses consistently worked for extended periods of time and longer than scheduled. Moreover, the risk of errors and near errors increased with longer work durations, and the vigilance of nurses decreased accordingly (Scott, et al., 2006). These findings support the recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to reduce the occurrence of 12-hour shifts and to limit consecutive work hour to no more than 12 out of every 24-hour period ((Kohn, et al., 2000; Scott, et al., 2006). An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on medication errors provided data that substantiates this conclusion (Kohn, et al., 2000). Moreover, the experts who compiled the IOM report findings made specific recommendations for staffing configurations that would prohibit mandatory overtime as a driver of medication errors and limit known unsafe practices (Kohn, et al., 2000).

Niu, et al. (2013) Nui, et al. (2013) conducted prospective, randomized parallel group trials to explore the effect of sleep deficits on selective attention and the ability of nurses on different shifts in a medical center in Taiwan to perform their duties. The researchers concluded that sleep deficit affect neurobehavioral functioning, reduce attention and cognitive function, and negatively impact occupational safety (Nui, et al., 2013). Significant differences in selective attention indicators were observed between the fixed-day-shift group, which served as the control group, and rotating-shift group, which was the experimental group (Nui, et al., 2013). The error rate on night shift for the experimental group was 0.44 times more than that on day shift and .62 times more than on evening shift (Nui, et al., 2013). Nurses working the night shift demonstrated poorer speed and accuracy on attention-based performance tests than did the staff on day shifts. Since inadequate sleep and a state of somnolence was shown to adversely affect the attention and functioning speed of night-shift workers, the researchers recommended that more than two days off be provided when nurses must transition from the night shift to other shifts; this recommendation is intended to provide adequate time for the adjustment of circadian rhythms (Nui, et al., 2013).

Section D: Solution Description

This section provides a discussion related to the evidence-based practice project solution.

Proposed Solution

Mandatory overtime places nurses and their patients at increased risk of medical errors. At the very least, nurses should be able to decline overtime…

Sources Used in Documents:

references, and Perceptions of Critical Care and Emergency Department NursesCrit Care Nurse April 1, 2011 31:e1-e11

Hospital Staff Nurses' Work Hours, Meal Periods, and Rest Breaks: A Review from an Occupational Health Nurse PerspectiveWorkplace Health Saf November 1, 2010 58:489-497

Identification of Relationships between Work System Parameters and Fatigue in Registered Nurses: A Data Mining ApproachProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting September 1, 2010 54:364-368

Effects of Extended Work Shifts and Shift Work on Patient Safety, Productivity, and Employee HealthWorkplace Health Saf December 1, 2009 57:497-502

Estimates of injury risks for healthcare personnel working night shifts and long hoursBMJQS October 1, 2009 18:336-340

Cite this Document:

"Changing Staffing Patterns And Reducing Healthcare Costs" (2015, June 30) Retrieved January 23, 2022, from

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"Changing Staffing Patterns And Reducing Healthcare Costs", 30 June 2015, Accessed.23 January. 2022,

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