At times, overtime hours are a necessity of the job due to workload demands, changes in a client’s status, weather, or vacancies on your unit. You are always accountable for your actions and your practice must meet the LPN Standards of Practice whether you are working your regular shift or an overtime shift.
Excessive overtime may cause fatigue. Before accepting an extra shift, you must self-assess your capacity to ensure nothing, such as fatigue, is preventing you from meeting your standards of practice and providing safe care. If you determine that fatigue may prevent you from meeting your standards of practice or impact your ability to provide safe, competent, and compassionate care you should consider not working any extra hours. Failure to recognize your limits could lead to an untoward client outcome, for which you could be held
In addition, employers are accountable to ensure policies and guidelines are in place to support the LPN in their practice to ensure the delivery of safe, competent and compassionate care. Issues related to overtime should be addressed, managed and prevented through the employer’s policies and guidelines. LPNs are responsible to ensure they have reviewed the employer policies and guidelines specific to this issue.
Though fatigue can impact the delivery of safe and competent care, all LPNs are expected to balance their work and non-work life so they are able to fulfill their employment contract and be ready and able to work when they have committed to do so.