So, a few weeks ago towards the end of night shift as I was preparing to leave work my nurse manager for our floor informed me I wasn’t allowed to leave, we may need to mandate someone from night shift to stay in overtime for day shift.  She had been phoned by our staffing office at 4:30am letting her know we’d be very short staffed for day shift and to get her ok to call anyone in they could get to volunteer, even if it put them in overtime.  This was three hours later and no luck with getting any additional staff.  She was saying she hated to do this, and I could see the anguish in her eyes.  It was not a pleasant situation for her.  A few minutes later she told us (staff from night shift) that we were allowed to leave, no one was being mandated to stay.  So, of course, we all ran out of there before things changed.  In an interesting coincidence, I was riding the elevator down to the parking area with someone on the staffing committee for the whole hospital.  She explained to me that for a nurse manager to put someone into mandatory overtime the approval has to come from her, the hospital wide nursing supervisor on shift, AND a member of the hospital executive team.  It has to go through three layers of approval before it actually happens.  That was comforting.  It was nice to know that mandatory overtime is something all levels of management take seriously and it can’t just be done on a whim.  It truly is a last resort.  And that’s the way it should be.