Impact of States' Nurse Work Hour Regulations on Overtime Practices and Work Hours among Registered Nurses

Authors

  • Sung-Heui Bae Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
    • Address correspondence to Sung-Heui Bae, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N., School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, 1710 Red River, Austin, TX 78701; e-mail: sbae@nursing.utexas.edu.

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jangho Yoon Ph.D.

    1. Health Management and Policy Program, School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Objectives

To examine the degree to which states' work hour regulations for nurses—policies regarding mandatory overtime and consecutive work hours—decrease mandatory overtime practice and hours of work among registered nurses.

Methods

We analyzed a nationally representative sample of registered nurses from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses for years 2004 and 2008. We obtained difference-in-differences estimates of the effect of the nurse work hour policies on the likelihood of working mandatory overtime, working more than 40 hours per week, and working more than 60 hours per week for all staff nurses working in hospitals and nursing homes.

Principal Findings

The mandatory overtime and consecutive work hour regulations were significantly associated with 3.9 percentage-point decreases in the likelihood of working overtime mandatorily and 11.5 percentage-point decreases in the likelihood of working more than 40 hours per week, respectively.

Conclusions

State mandatory overtime and consecutive work hour policies are effective in reducing nurse work hours. The consecutive work hour policy appears to be a better regulatory tool for reducing long work hours for nurses.

Ancillary