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Best practices for optimal intensive care scheduling

Posted on 12/4/2019 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

An Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a self-contained and separate area of the hospital that's specially equipped and staffed and is committed to the monitoring and management of patients with life-threatening disorders.

It offers special expertise and resources for supporting vital functions. It also uses the experience and skills of physicians, nurses and other medical personnel experienced in managing these issues. Because of this, proper physician scheduling is extremely important. The best way to ensure your shift scheduling is handled correctly is by using optimal intensive care scheduling software.

Here are the best practices for this scheduling software.

1. Streamline the Schedule

Intensive care scheduling software is an invaluable resource because:

- You can input any data you require
- It will correlate that data
- It will create an effective schedule without you having to manually do it

This makes scheduling more streamlined and frees up valuable employee hours so you can invest more of your time in critical patient care instead of having to plan the schedule for the week.

2 .Provide Continuity of Care for Doctors' Work Patterns

Analysis of intensive care doctors show most doctors work blocks of days at a time, in order to provide and maintain continuity of care. Scheduling software will help you schedule five-day blocks of day shifts to help maintain the same patient outcomes as seven-day work blocks, but reduce physician burnout.

3. Schedule Enough Physicians

With such an array of medical professionals and patients with different needs, it's important your doctor scheduling is seamless, and you have enough available doctors and nurses with specific skill sets needed at any given time. Due to the high demands and stressful situations that occur every day in intensive care, skimpy intensive care staffing can lead to physician burnout.

You'll want to create a schedule that takes the following into account:

- Schedule changes
- Overtime hours
- On-call hours
- Vacation days
- Availability
- Practice hours
- School hours
- Union requirements
- Accreditation requirements
- ACGME regulations

It can take a few days of scheduling to work it out properly. Fortunately, intensive care scheduling software can take care of this better.

4. Allocate a Supernumerary Practice Period for All Nurses Assigned to Critical Care

This period will allow enough time for nurses to develop the basic competencies and skills necessary to care for critically sick patients safely. This supernumerary period for nurses newly qualified should be at least six weeks — you may need to extend this time frame depending on the individual nurse. The supernumerary period's length for staff with past experience will depend on the length and type of past experience and how recently this was obtained.

Similar to emergency medicine scheduling, the more best practices for optimal intensive care scheduling you implement, the better. And using robust intensive care schedule software is the key to more easily implementing these best practices.

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