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Overcoming the nurse scheduling problem (NSP) with nurse scheduling software

Posted on 12/3/2014 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles
Nurses are the heart and soul of any emergency room, healthcare clinic, or medical facility. Because so many nurses are required to keep these medical centers staffed properly, the responsibility for scheduling nurses can be problematic. In fact, it’s such a common problem that it’s been named the Nurse Scheduling Problem, NSP for short.

Like physician scheduling, nurse scheduling in many hospitals and emergency departments is conducted in a shift environment. Hospitals operate 24 hours a day every day of the year. This means the facility needs adequate nurse staffing to meet the demands of all shifts.

Understanding the NSP

The problem, in addition to a nation and worldwide shortage of nurses, is that nurses have their own preferences and needs in the scheduling process as well as things like vacations, holiday preferences, and personal time off (for various reasons) that become scheduling problems nurse managers are left to attempt to solve.

Combine that with challenging and different shift definitions (8, 10, and 12-hour shifts), number of days worked, shift preferences (day, night, swing, etc.) and the shift scheduling process becomes even more complex.

Technology, though, presents the perfect solution to your emergency medicine scheduling needs for nurses and more. In fact, all hospitals, nursing homes, and health care clinics can find value in using software for their nurse or physician scheduling needs.

How Can Technology Save the Day?

The right software presents the perfect solution to the entire scheduling process for physicians, nurses, and more. You let the software know the needs for each shift. Supply it with a list of available nurses, along with their shift preferences, and let them requests days off through the software system. Then the software creates a schedule.

The real beauty is that software can also be tasked with eliminating overtime whenever possible in an effort to save the facility money on top of making the scheduling process much more efficient.

It’s true that preferences cannot always be accommodated, because the facility must be adequately staffed and some days, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc. are popular days for nurses to request off work.

However, it can work out a rotation for on-call and holiday nurse scheduling that is truly fair and balanced for all involved. More importantly, it accommodates the ability of nurses to switch shifts on these important days if others are willing to work for them.

Another great benefit of the scheduling software isn’t the ease with which it accomplishes something that takes hours of work and, sometimes, hostile negotiations, to complete, but it also frees up the valuable time of nurse managers to attend to other matters that are much more pertinent to this responsibilities than tending to one scheduling crisis after another.

When used properly scheduling software ensures that your emergency medicine scheduling needs, and all others, are met while helping your entire facility maintain greater efficiency. In the end, this software helps medical facilities save time and money while fostering better work-life balance and greater loyalty among their nursing staff.

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