Friday, August 05, 2005

Illinois Governor Signs Nurse Overtime and Violence Bills

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed a series of bills aimed at addressing the nursing shortage partly by making nurses jobs safer.

Among the bills signed were House Bill 399, the Healthcare Workplace Violence Prevention Act, which will allow for a pilot program to protect nurses, other hospital staff and patients from violence in state facilities. The bill requires designated state facilities to create a 2-year pilot program to implement a violence protection plan and staff education program by July 1, 2006. After 2 years, a task force will evaluate the program.

Blagoyevich also signed SB 201 which which eliminates mandatory overtime for nurses, Although the bill allows hospitals to require overtime in an unforeseen emergency circumstance, nurses are not allowed to work more than 4 hours beyond their regularly scheduled work shift. In addition, nurses may not be punished for refusing to work overtime, and if a nurse works 12 hours there must be an 8-hour rest period before working again.