Healthcare, especially nursing, offers a unique set of challenges for accomplishing employee scheduling. With resources that float between different departments, work varying shift lengths (eight, 10 or 12-hour shifts) and need specific credentials to perform different tasks, scheduling is a very time-consuming, labor-intensive process to maintain manually. To make things a bit more challenging, healthcare schedulers also have to keep up with the facility’s varying acuity rates (number of patients and levels of care necessary for each patient) on a daily basis to ensure consistent regulatory compliance.
Automating the scheduling process with the softwares gives healthcare organizations more control over scheduling and staffing issues, so they can manage resources more effectively and control labor costs while helping to retain a qualified staff. Software helps to maximize resource utilization by having the right person with the right skill set in the right place at the right time. This reduces employee burnout rates, and gives them a more tolerable, satisfying work environment.
Employees get a sense of ownership and responsibility over something that is very valuable to them—their work schedules. Web access offers them additional flexibility to access self-service options such as viewing schedules, picking up available shifts, self-scheduling, shift bidding and submitting vacation/non-productive and unavailable time requests anywhere, anytime. This can be especially valuable to busy families—a nurse can pull up his/her schedule from home, and with the family present, can select shifts based on family needs.
Information is available in real-time, so managers can make better-informed and more proactive staffing decisions. Nurse managers are automatically alerted to staffing deficits or over-staffing based on patient census and acuity, employee absenteeism or schedule changes. By utilizing the most cost-effective employee to work, organizations can reduce the use of costly outside agency workers.
The systems supports the organization’s financial health and increased employee morale, but also plays a role in improving patient care delivery because employees are not as overworked, and there are appropriate staff levels to address the current patient load.
Employees have more control over the hours they work, and the organization minimizes the use of more costly agency workers. It also minimizes the amount of administrative work for managers while still giving them control over their department’s schedule.