Overworked Nurses Accused of Making Mistakes Risk Losing Their Jobs

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 19, 2023 | 0 Comments

Nurses around the country are facing longer and longer shifts at work. The nursing shortage plaguing hospitals nationwide means that many nurses are unexpectedly covering additional shifts.

In addition, while many states limit the amount of hours nurses can work, emergency situations and surgical procedures can lawfully extend nurses' shifts well beyond their original schedules.

Nurses' jobs are challenging and difficult enough without the added stress and complications of having to work while they are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. But tired nurses pose a safety threat to their patients and expose their employers to liability. Overworked nurses can — and do — make mistakes. The results can be devastating.

Overworked Nurses Who Make Mistakes May Face State Board Discipline

State nursing boards exist to protect the public and will investigate allegations of errors made by nurses, especially if they result in patient injury or harm. Although specific rules and requirements vary from state to state, generally, boards will investigate allegations of nursing misconduct that involve negligence and then will determine appropriate consequences.

Overworked nurses who make mistakes while treating their patients will likely face disciplinary action by their state boards — even if the mistake was unintentional or due to over-scheduling by the hospital.

In addition to losing their jobs, nurses face other severe outcomes including license suspension, license revocation, probation, and modification of the tasks they are allowed to perform on the job.

Overworked Nurses Who Face Discipline for Mistakes Can Defend Themselves and Protect Their Jobs

Many states have laws in place that limit how much nurses can work in a day. Some also specify how much off-duty time nurses must receive in between shifts. Overworked nurses facing disciplinary action for mistakes they make may be able to defend against the allegations against them on the basis that the hours they were working at the time the incidents occurred exceeded the maximum allowed by state law.

For example, in Massachusetts, nurses can not work more than 16 consecutive hours in a 24-hour period. In addition, nurses who work 16 consecutive hours must be given at least eight consecutive hours off duty immediately after their 16-hour shift.

New York, however, requires nurses who voluntarily work beyond their regularly scheduled shifts in non-emergency situations to prove that they were “competent to perform their professional responsibilities.”

The New York State Board of Nursing says that nurses who voluntarily work more than 16 hours in a 24-hour time period “will be considered by the New York State Board for Nursing as a factor in determining the willful disregard of patient safety by nurses and will be subject to a potential charge of unprofessional conduct.”

The Lento Law Firm Team Can Help Overworked Nurses Who Face Disciplinary Action for Making Mistakes on the Job

Joseph D. Lento and his knowledgeable Professional License Defense Team have years of experience successfully defending nurses around the country in state disciplinary actions. They can help overworked nurses accused of making mistakes on the job craft an effective legal strategy that protects their jobs and licenses. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or submit a confidential online consultation form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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