Fatigue and burnout are frequent among nurses who work overtime. Too often than not, working strenuously for uninterrupted hours can lead to increased patient errors and may even disrupt a medical professional’s health.
According to the American Nurses Association, scheduling is the best way for a healthcare facility to promote nurse health and an effective workflow. However, it’ll be an understatement to say that tackling nurse schedules is a brutal trade. You need 24/7 shift coverage while balancing availability, various skill sets, full-time and part-time employees. And a single mistake can undo hours spent putting it all together. Using documents, paper, online calendars, or spreadsheets to roster nurses may be familiar. While these tactics may be flying by, they lack the competence to improve efficiency and promote work-life balance.
In this post, we’ll be shedding light on some practical ways to create the perfect schedule for nursing professionals. These tips will not only improve workflow but will keep your nurses happy and make their jobs easier.
1. Prioritize group rotation
One of the most significant challenges for scheduling duties for nurses is ensuring everyone gets treated as equally and fairly as possible. To ensure sprite, create at least two groups of nurses. The objective of the groups is to allow for rotation so that every member gets a chance to enter their desired schedule times. For less significant groups, you can enable every nurse to rotate their opportunity to join their preferred hours first.
Organized group rotation will lead to higher patient-related outcomes. As a nurse, you need to be competent enough to offer patient-centered care by responding and recognizing mental, physical, and social needs. A degree should enable you to master more than just the foundation of care. You will also be able to adapt to changing healthcare paradigms. And since e-learning is on the rise, enthusiastic candidates can opt for some effective online master nursing programs and become more self-directed in their careers.
2. Define scheduling needs
It is critical to specify your schedule requirements to provide appropriate coverage. Your needs would include:
- The length each schedule covers, i.e., a month, six weeks, or two weeks
- Specifications regarding shift alignment, i.e., nursing on call at night cannot schedule themselves to work the following day.
- Adjustments are made when scheduling needs are not met, i.e., consideration is given to senior staff members.
- How many nurses need to be on every shift, including how many must be available?
3. Encourage staff input
When nurses are allowed to input their schedules, they tend to be more satisfied and happier with their work environment. Delighted staff members stick with their professions and do not leave as often.
Enhanced staff retention leads to more minor scheduling errors and fewer resources spent on recruiting and training new members. When you recruit new employees, though, make sure to ask them what schedules they like. Provide an arrangement to request days off and notify the scheduler of skirmishes within a specific timeframe.
4. Practice automation
Most nursing units have set rotations, whether it’s holidays, certain days, or weekends. But, simply copying and pasting from one itinerary to another will only increase the chances of errors.
The availability of your nursing staff will be on a frequent loop of change. On prime of that, scheduling conflicts lead to agitation, and you will spend even more time fixing schedule screw-ups and filling open shifts.
So to avoid the kerfuffle, why not opt for an automated solution?
Many nurse scheduling software and tools are available to help shrink nuisances and save time. An automated nurse scheduling system will monitor employee’s skills, time-off requests, and availability. You can also design rules for your scheduling, including licensure, overtime, and other pertinent scheduling deliberations. In addition, your nursing staff will be able to witness real-time changes made to their schedules 24/7. They will appreciate the transparency and flexibility the system will offer.
5. Get online
Gone are the days when nurses had to call in to find out if they’re on duty. Today, everything is online.
Imagine not having to call a nurse out of the sheets because they forgot about a shift they picked up a few days ago. Getting online and mobile will allow your nurses to view their schedules anytime, anywhere. They can put in time off requests, see when they work, and check other schedule-related problems right from their mobile device.
With the help of a cloud-based schedule, everyone can be on the same page. Your entire staff will always be in sync through messaging, all the while removing the need to make phone calls or send urgent reminders when someone’s shift is near.
Undoubtedly, the out-bursting effects of fatigue will demand additional interventions and maybe even a few days off work. Still, scheduling chores is something that will indubitably come in handy. Creating a roster in the healthcare facility will improve management and encourage nurses to be active participants. Using the above-said tips, you can alleviate the stress and create a helpful schedule template that saves lives better. Also, don’t forget to make technology your right-hand man. There are many specialized solutions designed for staff scheduling. Although it may seem easier to stick with old, tried-and-tested systems, their ineffectiveness is the most significant risk of all – for both nurses and patients. Therefore, it is best to incorporate a fool-proof schedule and eliminate the chances of risk.