New York bans mandatory overtime for nurses

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Another state is putting limits on the numbers of hours nurses have to work. New York Gov. David Paterson (D) recently signed legislation banning mandatory overtime for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

The law is set to take effect on July 1, 2009. It provides for exceptions in the case of natural or other disasters; a federal, state or county declaration of emergency; or when no other alternative staffing is available.

Fourteen other states have also banned mandatory overtime for nurses. The purpose of the legislation is to encourage more people to become nurses and reduce the growing shortage. Still, healthcare advocates, including the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, believe more measures need to be taken to increase the number of nurses working. These include increasing capacity at nursing schools.
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