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Five ways nursing directors can improve nursing scheduling

Posted on 10/14/2020 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
As a nursing director, nurse scheduling is one of many dreaded tasks you need to deal with when trying to manage a nursing staff. You have various positions to fill at all times as well as having to juggle the demands and concerns of your staff members. Many nurse managers and facilities are beginning to use big algorithms and data to help solve their nurse scheduling issues and a computer program can help make the task less tedious. Here are 5 ways nurse scheduling software can improve your scheduling system for your nurses.

1. Through Automating Schedules

It's not always easy to be fair when you're having to create the schedule manually. One problem linked with manual emergency medicine scheduling is the tendency to mistakenly penalize some nurses. Often, it might look like malicious behavior. Humans aren't always great at randomization.

Simply trying to create random sequences using 1 through 4 digits can easily cause you to repeat a pattern when there are a dozen digits to deal with. Because humans crave order, it's too easy to try and make things easier by falling back to familiar patterns. And this doesn't exclude nurse scheduling and having to schedule nurses for shift work, which can translate into some nurses ending up working more night shifts than others, which can lead to problems like long-term insomnia.

2. Through Allowing Nurses to Communicate Their Preferences for Work

An essential goal to consider when you're handling the nurse scheduling system is to try and identify ways of creating work shifts that are going to keep your staff both satisfied and safe. Nurses often have a lot going on, even outside of work.

A lot of them have families they want to spend time with or need to look after when they're not at work. Others are still involved in nursing school and are trying to balance out responsibilities and furthering their education. It helps when you can open up nurses' lines of communication and allow them to communicate their preferred work hours prior to you creating the schedule for them. You can record their unavailability and availability preferences in the scheduling software.

3. Through Optimizing the Schedule for Staff Well-Being and Patient Care

Balance out your labor rules and staff preferences with the needs of your facility to ensure happy engaged nurses and high-quality care.

• Create nurse schedules that consider patient care ratios, fairness and labor regulations while maximizing shift coverage.
• Empower your nurses with the ability to select shifts and influence their working schedule.
• Post new shifts, while allowing eligible nurses to see and request them automatically.

4. Through Making Informed Schedule Decisions

See the direct effect schedule decisions you've made have on overtime to ensure the desired results for both the bottom line and your budget. Schedule shifts with eligible nurses automatically have a lower cost implication. Automatically avoid excessive overtime by implementing limits on your nurses' schedulable hours. Look at expected overtime expenses to ensure you keep on track with the budget and with your goals.

5. Through Creating the Nursing Schedule in Advance

Scheduling your nurses can almost be a perpetual task. Even if you believe you have the best nurse schedule template, there's a genuine chance you're going to have to edit it a few times before the nurses actually start working the assigned shifts.

This is why it's suggested to begin the nurse scheduling process as far in advance as you can. In the healthcare industry, you can almost be guaranteed you'll have to make changes in the nurse schedule, just as with physician scheduling and shift scheduling. It's very difficult to generate a perfect nursing schedule on the first try, even if you're working with the most data-driven, advanced tools for forecast-based scheduling.

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