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It's a Matter of Safety

June 9, 2011

We fought for fatigue management language in our new contract, and because it has the potential to saves lives, it could be one of the more important issues we fought for.

The hospital didn’t want to add this language because they said it wasn’t necessary and that any RN could request time off if they were too tired. However, RNs and all employees deserve the guaranteed right to time off without it resulting in an attendance “occurrence” if they are too fatigued to work when called in. We should not have to risk our lives or the lives of our patients to avoid a record of non-attendance.

Thanks to our unity in negotiations, we don’t have to risk it.

Fatigue Management

In a side letter in to our current contract, the hospital confirms its “commitment to hold meetings in those departments where employees are subject to being on call to explain to them the process for requesting time off in these special/unique situations.

“Managers will, within two (2) months of ratification of the new contract, conduct staff meetings to advise employees of the current practice of requesting relief if needed due to fatigue related to having been called back when on call.

“Any employee who believes s/he is incapable of safely performing his/her duties because of lack of sleep or any other reason related to having been called back to work while being in an on-call status during the eight (8) hours immediately preceding the beginning of a scheduled shift is required to notify the appropriate supervisor or designee at least two (2) hours before the start of the employee’s shift or as soon thereafter as is practical to discuss potential alternative scheduling arrangements.

“Time off requested and approved by the employee’s supervisor will not constitute an unscheduled attendance occurrence under the hospital’s attendance/absenteeism policies.”

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