ONA – COVID-19 and Nurse Staffing

Information shared from the ONA (Oregon Nurses Association) website

Oregon Nurse Staffing Collaborative: COVID-19 and Nurse Staffing

The COVID-19 outbreak is evolving rapidly. We want to ensure that you and your teams have the resources they need to put patients first and manage the situation effectively.

We reached out to OHA on the issue of nurse staffing in preparation for the likely impacts this epidemic could have on your hospital nurse staffing plans. We know there are specific regulations that address an epidemic. Below are the two specific rules that address nurse staffing in the event of an emergency or disaster.

First, Oregon Administrative Rule 333-510-0130(10) suspends some of the mandatory overtime rules in the following circumstances:

(a) In the event of a national or state emergency or circumstances requiring the implementation of a facility disaster plan; or
(b) In emergency circumstances that include:
(A) Sudden and unforeseen adverse weather conditions;
(B) An infectious disease epidemic suffered by hospital staff;
(C) Any unforeseen event preventing replacement staff from approaching or entering the premises;

The mandatory overtime rule would come up if there’s a declared state of emergency in which the facility disaster plan is implemented. Alternatively, mandatory overtime rule would come up if staff suffer from the disease or if the facility is quarantined and replacement staff cannot enter. The Nurse Staffing Interpretive Guidance has a question about this specific rule on page 11.

Second, Oregon Administrative Rule 333-510-0140 allows the hospital to suspend the nurse staffing plan in the following circumstances:

(a) A national or state emergency requiring the implementation of a facility disaster plan;
(b) Sudden and unforeseen adverse weather conditions; or
(c) An infectious disease epidemic suffered by hospital staff.

In that situation either co-chair could call a nurse staffing committee meeting and the committee could modify the staffing plan as needed. This rule contemplates the nurse staffing committee modifying the staffing plan to address staffing needs for the duration of the emergency and the aftermath.

In addition, the nurse staffing committees can work with other the emergency preparedness team in the hospital to prepare for any implementation of the facility disaster plan and talk about how plan scenarios will impact nurse staffing.

If you have questions, please contact ONA at practice@oregonrn.org.


Staffing Request and Documentation Forms and COVID-19

Many processes within hospitals have changed since COVID-19 came to Oregon. With the current state of emergency, it is not required that the hospital follow staffing plans or the Oregon Hospital Nurse Staffing Law.

However, it continues to be crucial to collect staffing data from within our facilities. The SRDF collects many data points in addition to whether the staffing plan has been followed, and we encourage all members to continue filling out SRDFs when an unsafely staffed shift occurs or patient care is impacted.

To make filling out an SRDF as accessible as possible, the online form is mobile compatible, and a computer is not required to fill it out.

The information gathered in SRDFs allow ONA to track staffing data and provide information to hospital wide staffing committees. It also provides valuable information to labor representatives about how specific units are staffed and can be used to assist with OHA complaints.

How to Fill Out an SRDF

If you work a shift with insufficient nurse staffing, you should complete the following steps:

  1. Notify someone in the chain of command;
  2. Ask for additional staff;
  3. Ask for a response in a reasonable period of time, (e.g., minutes, hours) and;
  4. Complete the SRDF as detailed below.

The nurse should complete the SRDF at the end of the shift or as soon as is possible. T

Visit www.OregonRN.org/SRDF to complete the form

A PDF copy is automatically emailed to the nurse and to ONA, and it is the nurse’s responsibility to forward a copy of the completed form to the nurse manager, PNCC chair, and staffing co-chair. The SRDF should be completed even if the problem is corrected quickly.

Questions about the SRDF process? Email SRDF@OregonRN.org