How to Make Scheduling Work Better for Nurse Managers

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

In addition to requiring a great deal of time and attention from nurse managers, scheduling processes that fail to work efficiently can seriously impact nurses work environment and satisfaction. Healthcare organizations can also experience a significant financial impact when too much nurse overtime occurs in the process of filling empty shifts. Most importantly, patient outcomes and experience can suffer when a nursing unit is understaffed and overworked.

Many nurse managers use precious time for scheduling when they could be working more productively on the unit. These are hours spent trying to fill up shifts, trying to flex off nurses when the unit is overstaffed, and struggling to get nurses to work when they are needed at the last minute. All too often that comes with the cost of incremental overtime or through traditional overtime, contradicting the basic goal to staff the right nurses at the right time and at the lowest cost.

Well Designed Nurse Scheduling Solutions Benefit Nurse Managers

It is possible for healthcare organizations to adopt solutions that make the scheduling process work better for nurse managers. Ideally, the most effective scheduling tools contain a majority of the following features:

Enterprise Schedule Management

A best practice is for entire nursing departments, staffing offices, and health systems to connect and communicate with staff through a mobile app that streamlines all day-to-day communication and schedule management across the board. That way it s easier to distribute the schedule directly to everyone s devices and then deal with all the inevitable adjustments that come up throughout that period.

App-Based Scheduling That Automatically Feeds Back into the Master Schedule

A real time communication tool can deal with all the changes that come up, post and fill open shifts, approve shift swaps, etc., and then ensure all of those changes are automatically fed back into your internal systems of truth to ensure that there is always parity.

Easily Pinpoint Potential Candidates for Open Shifts

Nurse managers benefit when they can efficiently hone in on eligible candidates when looking to fill any open shifts they only want to fill shifts with the most qualified individuals, based on competencies, and mitigating unnecessary overtime hours.

Savings in Terms of Time and Budget

Automated operations can reduce the time spent filling open shifts and limit the dollars associated with a managers time spent scheduling and registering shift swaps. That doesn't even include the time saved on the nurses side to identify and initiate a swap request amongst themselves.

Improved Nurse Satisfaction and Engagement

Improving processes and making the scheduling process more flexible for staff has implications of improving staff satisfaction and engagement and the dollars associated with retaining staff.

This blog post concludes a series based on the HealthStream Webinar, Fill Open Shifts Faster with Nurse-Centric Technology, which features leaders from HealthStream partner NurseGrid, an organization whose widely adopted nurse scheduling platform was inspired by the core belief that health care systems and providers must have the best tools in order to provide the most efficient and effective patient and nursing experience. Presenter Joe Novello, the Founder of NurseGrid, is a nurse who has worked in and around hospitals for more than 20 years as a clinician and a clinical operational leader. He was joined by Connor Whan, a healthcare entrepreneur who has been with NurseGrid for much of the organization s existence, who has led conversations with thousands of nurses and nurse leaders across the country, to ensure NurseGrid remains at the forefront of supporting nurses personally and professionally.

Learn about using NurseGrid to improve the nurse scheduling process.