Stop Mandatory Overtime
Vanessa Seastrong


I’ve witnessed over and over again how the dangerous staffing practice of mandatory overtime has devastated the family lives of nurses.

My co-worker at Patton State Hospital decided to work the night shift because she is a single mother of two young boys.  Her youngest son was 5 years old, starting kindergarten, and needed someone to take him to school in the morning when management informed her that she’d need to work mandatory overtime. She was devastated and wondered how she’d get her son to school as she had no family around to help.

She decided she needed to teach her son how to walk to school. The school was not close and a busy street made it difficult for a 5 year old. She taught him how to punch the button at the crosswalk and walk across when the sign popped up.

She practiced walking the route with her son for one week. Then she told him she was going to stay at home and let him walk himself to school. After following him down the street and parking at a gas station across the street she sat and watched him. He made it to the crosswalk of the busy street when he broke down in tears and ran home. Sitting in her car, she broke down in tears herself thinking, “HOW?” How could this dangerous practice continue when it causes a 5 year old to be put through something so traumatic!?

Vanessa Seastrong, RN-BSN, PHN
Patton State Hospitals