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Obstacles nurse managers face with scheduling

Posted on 5/16/2024 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

Nurse scheduling is a critical task in healthcare management. It involves allocating nursing staff to shifts to ensure the smooth running of healthcare facilities while also considering the welfare of the nursing staff.

However, nurse managers often face several challenges while creating schedules, such as balancing staff needs with patient care requirements, ensuring fair distribution of shifts, and managing unexpected changes.

These obstacles can lead to inefficiencies and dissatisfaction among nursing staff and even impact patient care. Also, it can negatively impact frontline nurses' and nurse managers' work satisfaction, causing burnout and affecting clinical and business outcomes.

This article discusses these problems and provides best practices for overcoming them.

Scheduling Problems Nurse Managers Face

Below are some scheduling problems nurse managers face: 

Diverse scheduling

Managing extended working hours and multiple nurses is an emergency medicine scheduling problem nurse managers face. Scheduling nurses for various shifts, including day, evening, and night, is a multifaceted task that requires attention to detail. Therefore, nurse managers often find it challenging to schedule shifts as various clashes and repetitions can occur.

Last-minute alterations and call-ins

Unexpected absences or sick calls necessitate making last-minute changes to the schedule. As a result, nurse managers find it difficult to find replacement staff to ensure uninterrupted patient care quickly.

Availability of nurses

The availability of nurses can also influence the scheduling process. There could be planned or unplanned absences disrupting an already established schedule. This can be due to various reasons, such as sickness, annual leave, or other unforeseen circumstances. Finding a way to adjust the schedule to accommodate these absences without affecting the healthcare facility's functionality is a challenge.

Nurse shortage

The effect of nurse shortage has become a scheduling problem for nurse managers because the nurses available are subjected to excessive overtime, double shifts, and longer back-to-back days with little rest.

The use of a manual scheduling system

Using a manual scheduling system requires nurse managers to invest significant time and effort in creating, updating, and managing schedules. Balancing the availability and preferences of nursing staff with patient care needs can lead to time-consuming iterations and adjustments.

Possible Solutions to Address These Obstacles

Here are a few solutions nurse managers can use to eliminate scheduling problems:

Use Scheduling Software

While manual systems may still be in use, nurse managers can streamline the process by adopting the use of scheduling software. Nurse Managers can benefit from workforce management software like ByteBloc.

ByteBloc is a scheduling software made especially for healthcare facilities. It provides several features, such as a powerful customizer and scheduler, shift relationships, and classification, that can help nurse managers overcome scheduling obstacles.

Provide Flexible shift

One method nurse managers can use to solve scheduling problems and ensure nurses operate on their own time is to give flexible schedules that allow nurses to rest between shifts. Offering flexible shift or shift scheduling alternatives can assist in suiting personal preferences while also increasing nurse satisfaction.

Enhance Communication

Create open communication channels between nurse managers and staff to understand preferences and constraints.

With the communication channel in an on-call scheduling software like Byte Bloc, nurses can select their availability and days of choice. This gives nurse managers the chance to create schedules that are beneficial to the nurses.

Cross-train Staff

Nurse managers need to train nurses in various specialties (this is known as cross-training). Doing this enhances flexibility and reduces the challenges faced in scheduling due to staffing shortages.


ByteBloc offers a holistic solution to address these obstacles by automating physician scheduling procedures, improving communication, and offering resources for efficient staff management in healthcare institutions.

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