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Hours-of-service law should apply to nurses



Published: Thu, May 24, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Hours-of-service law should apply to nurses

EDITOR:

It seems that everyone has an opinion as to whether nurses are justified in not wanting to work for an unlimited period of time before being relieved. With three members of my family having been nurses for a long time, I have heard many accounts of how some days have gone: like not having enough time for a lunch break or even to go to the rest room. Sometimes patients or family members even go so far as to threaten their lives. Then there are always the critically ill patients whose condition needs undivided attention. All these and many other concerns create a stressful situation, so that when the end of the 12-hour shift arrives they are ready to go home.

A federal hours-of-service law says truck drivers must have a certain number of hours rest after a specified number of hours of service. This law was enacted because it was realized that truckers were no longer alert and that the long hours were contributing to highway accidents.

Railroad workers are also covered by a similar law, which says they must have eight hours of rest after 12 hours work. This came about because it was found that after the employer-required long hours on duty employees were having many more accidents and incurring more injuries.

Now come the people who think that nurses, who are the ones directly responsible for the patients well-being while under their care, should work an unlimited number of hours. They even find fault with a proposal to limit their hours to 18 in a row. How many hours would be enough, 20, 24?

As for the nursing shortage, that situation is not likely to improve soon. Ask yourself: would you want to incur the expense of a four-year education which enabled you to work all shifts, work weekends and holidays for an employer that requires you to work as many hours as he desires? Then, on top of that have people who find fault because you feel that such long hours jeopardize the patients' well-being. I think not. There are too many more desirable jobs waiting.

Many of those who are now nurses acquired their education before the four-year college degree was required and before the insurance and managed care companies had such a stranglehold on the health care industry. I'm certain many would have chosen other professions under present day conditions.

WINSTON SWAN

Hubbard

Sympathy for McVeigh better offered to victims

EDITOR:

With all the publicity concerning Timothy McVeigh, I tend to agree with the two articles in the May 13 Vindicator pointing out that too often the finger of the blame is pointed everywhere except where it belongs.

Here is a man who ruthlessly and without feeling destroyed the lives of 168 people, leaving their relatives scarred for life, yet is the recipient of so much pity and commiseration. I hear hardly anything about his innocent victims.

All of this reminds me of the remark made by Livy concerning ancient Rome: "We have reached the point where we cannot bear either our vices or their cures. We dread the punishment more than the crime."

REV. EDWARD J. NERODA

Youngstown

No help for area steel

EDITOR:

The whole wide world is laughing at the great United States.

We helped other countries build steel mills just so they could make steel and ship it back to us at a cut price. Their countries subsidize their mills to undercut our steel prices, hoping to close our steel mills.

I know they are doing a good job.

All the steel mills in Ohio are going bankrupt. All the bigwigs in Washington are ignoring the facts. They only care about tax breaks and don't give a damn about our steel industry.

MAROON GABRIEL

Youngstown




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