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Law, rules and regulations, not Alerts, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Alert may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations.

Given the extensive literature and evidence from a broad base of professions and occupations on the positive correlation between the number of hours worked and effects on job function and errors, the New York State Board for Respiratory Therapy takes the following position:

Respiratory Therapists, who voluntarily work beyond the hours of one normally scheduled shift (combined at any location) in a situation which is not a declared emergency, must be able to competently perform their professional responsibilities. Voluntarily working beyond 16 hours in a 24 hour time period may be considered by the New York State Board for Respiratory Therapy as a factor in determining the willful disregard of patient safety by a respiratory therapist and may subject the Respiratory Therapist to a potential charge of unprofessional conduct.