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The benefits of web-based solutions in intensive care scheduling

Posted on 8/15/2017 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is part of a hospital and is a unit where patients who are critically ill are placed into in order to receive care by specially trained staff.

Staff members in an ICU include:

- Doctors
- Nurses
- Pharmacists
- Respiratory therapists
- Physical therapists
- Clinical nurse specialists
- Dietitians
- Chaplains
- Social workers
- Nurse practitioners
- Physician assistants

ICUs care for patients who have more life-threatening and severe injuries and illnesses who require close, constant support and invasive monitoring from medication and special equipment to ensure regular bodily functions. They're staffed by critical care nurses and highly trained doctors who specialize specifically in the care of severely ill patients.

Nurses who are specially trained often care for one or more patients at one given time during their shift. Doctors in the ICU are specially trained critical care physicians.

With the aging population of baby boomers, there will probably be more demands that ICU units will have to meet.

In the ICU, both management and monitoring decisions happen more often than in any other areas which make critical care particularly susceptible to the effects of frequent patient handoffs and resident fatigue. Even so, the acuity and volume in the ICU demand more need for trained staff and because of this, the often 16-hour shifts that ICU staff often work can lead to potential error, loss of cumulative training hours and a reduced sense of individual attention to patients.

Therefore, it makes sense that the complexity of ICU patients and staff shortage can increase this potential for error.

Doctors and nurses working in the ICU are often exposed to significant job stress and burnout. This burnout is usually due to too many hours worked with little recovery. Burnout can also lead to a decrease in overall well-being resulting in:

- Eating problems
- Irritability
- Depressive problems
- Insomnia

It also leads to a higher degree of emotional exhaustion and increased sick leave among staff, both increasing the odds of lower self-rated performance and higher intentions to quit work.

In the hospital environment today, there's a lot of patient acuity, staffing difficulties and tedious paperwork all which contribute to the stress that has nurses wanting to leave the inpatient setting. And, with the shortage of nurses, ICU administrators must find ways to enhance nurse satisfaction and efficiency; including intensive care scheduling systems.

There's a lot of potential for improvement in ICU shift scheduling that could have positive effects on:

- Impact on continuity of care
- Patient outcomes
- Quality of education
- Resident opinions on quality of sleep and life

ICU physician scheduling should comply with ACGME regulations. By implementing web-based scheduling technology, you can improve the overall well-being and morale of attendings. Scheduling software can help automate the process of creating the schedule to accommodate overtime, shift changes, shift swaps and more.

When you have an organized schedule, doctors, nurses and attendings are more energetic and alert, healthier, happier, have a stronger attitude of teamwork and they have more opportunities to enhance their education.

To help automate your emergency medicine scheduling needs, you may want to consider using scheduling software. In the end, you'll have happier staff, healthier patients, and a smooth running ICU unit.

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