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Five intensive care scheduling tips

Posted on 9/3/2020 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

An ICU or Intensive Care Unit is a separate, self-contained area of your hospital that's specially staffed and equipped for managing and monitoring patients with life-threatening conditions.

The ICU provides special resources and expertise to support important functions. It also uses the skills and experience of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff experienced in the management of these issues. Because of this, proper physician scheduling is extremely important. And to do this, you need an organized and effective physician scheduling system in place and use of scheduling software. Here are five IC scheduling tips to consider putting into place in your unit:

1. Schedule Enough Doctors

With such a large range of patients with different requirements and medical professionals, it's essential your physician scheduling is streamlined and you have enough physicians and nurses with specialized skills required at any given time. If you don't, it can lead to physician burnout.

When creating the schedule, take the following factors into consideration:

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

It might take you several days to work out an effective scheduling system. This is where emergency medicine scheduling software will help.

2. Keep an Optimal ICU Patient to Doctor Ratio

The ICU patient/resident ratio shouldn't exceed 1:8 and the patient/consultant ratio shouldn't exceed the range between 1:8 to 1:15.

Determine the ratio by the following factors:

• Patient turnover
• Case mix
• Surge capacity
• Experience of trainees
• Ratios of trainees
• Telemedicine

3. Provide Continuity of Care for Physicians' Work Patterns

Analyzing IC physicians show most physicians work different blocks of days at a time to offer and maintain consistent continuity of care. Shift scheduling software helps you schedule day shifts in five-day blocks for helping maintain similar patient outcomes as those of seven-day work blocks and this will help reduce doctor burnout.

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

This allows the nurses enough time for developing the basic skills and competencies needed for safely caring for critically ill patients. This newly qualified nurses supernumerary period should be a minimum of six weeks or more, depending on each individual nurse.

5. Streamline the Schedule

IC scheduling programs are an invaluable resource since:

• You can plug in any data you need
• They correlate that data
• They'll generate an efficient schedule without the need to manually create it

This will streamline your scheduling system and free up valuable hours of time so you can use your time more wisely in helping critically ill patients rather than having to take hours and hours to plan out the week's schedule.

Just like with emergency medicine scheduling, when it comes to ICU scheduling, the more best practices you can implement, the better. And, today, perhaps more than ever, it’s vitally important. Physician scheduling software is a significant part of implementing these best practices.

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