Employee scheduling needs in various industries are often demanding and complicated. However, the healthcare industry faces a unique set of challenges that makes scheduling hard to crack. Since the industry faces a chronic shortage of staff, schedulers have a hard time organising employees to cover the 24-hour shifts. Besides, schedulers have to deal with a mix of full-time and part-time staff and nurses with a diverse skillset. Without a proper rostering system, the manager can assign nurses to the wrong duties or schedule fewer work hours to the full-time staff.
Aside from the various scheduling difficulties, managers need to ensure patients receive the best care. The quality of services is often a reflection of the management of staff.
For instance, if you schedule nurses with the wrong skill set, your patients will not receive adequate care. Overworked staff will also be less productive, and the patients will suffer. How do you ensure you balance your workers’ and patients’ needs? That is where a robust hospital scheduling software comes in. You will have tools to organise shifts to maximise productivity and achieve organisational goals. Read on for tips on maximising employee scheduling software in health care facilities.
Examine Your Staffing Needs
With the high turnover rates in the healthcare industry, hospitals have to hire more staff to keep pace with increasing healthcare needs. While recruitment increases the number of staff, is it always the best option? Hiring and training new employees every few months is expensive and may be counterproductive. You might be better off scheduling the employees on your roster effectively to maximise their productivity.
It is essential to look at the current rota and review past schedules. The data will help you determine underutilised team members and create a plan to fill in the recurring shifts. The data also enables schedulers to anticipate future scheduling needs. Using rostering software, you can easily track the previous schedules and determine your current staffing needs. The software also maintains records of the staffs’ skillsets and if they work full-time or part-time. The software will help you in monitoring the performance of each employee and assigning appropriate tasks.
Understand Your Team
Employees need to feel appreciated by the hospital through concern for their welfare and flexible working hours. Therefore, during the hiring process, healthcare facilities should document the workers’ availability and preferences. For instance, do they prefer working nightshift or morning hours? When do they want their off day? Would they be comfortable covering weekend shifts? As you build your rostering software, you need to incorporate these preferences.
Once you feed the information to the health roster online, you can create a schedule that suits your employees’ lifestyle. If you balance everyone’s preference, the productivity levels will be optimum, and you will have a few shift gaps.
Facilitate Seamless Shift Swapping
Last-minute shift changes can be disruptive to work schedules, and sometimes the scheduler has to look for a part-time worker to cover the shift. You can ease the pressure and the difficult task of changing the entire routine due to unavailability by allowing shift trading. With shift trading, a nurse can swap shifts with another worker with the same skillset. Initially, if a healthcare worker had an emergency, they had to call the manager to replace their shift.
Verbal agreements among staff have also proven to be ineffective in guaranteeing clarity. However, the rostering systems allow the employees to trade shifts seamlessly. The scheduler can also monitor the changes and ensure the health worker replacing the shift is competent for the position. Enabling access to the health roster online allows the staff to request shift swapping, and the manager can approve before other workers receive the request. Shift trading can iron out small issues in the schedule and allow employees flexibility during a family emergency.
Prepare for Unavailability
Despite efforts to incorporate everyone’s preferences, absenteeism is unavoidable. However, you can minimise absenteeism by allowing your employees to update the days and hours they are unavailable on the scheduling software. With a robust rostering system, employees can update their availability online, and the scheduler can make the necessary adjustments. Adjusting the software for unavailability gives employees control over their schedules and motivates them.
With prior knowledge of absenteeism, the hospital can look for part-time workers to cover the shifts. That way, the nurses are not overworked, and the patient receives the best care.
Balance Part-Time and Full-time Workers
Mandatory overtime is one of the reasons for poor patient care. A nurse covering a 10-hour shift, adding overtime is likely to cause burnout. Besides, the worker will be less productive and make many errors. Overtime also increases turnover rates, which can cause a steep decline in patient care and satisfaction. Dealing with overtime is challenging due to the shortage of qualified health workers. Therefore, the few workers often have to endure mandatory overtime. However, the hospital can adjust their system and increase productivity by hiring part-time nurses.
You can use the scheduling software to assign shifts based on real data. For instance, you can increase part-time employees when you expect high-traffic. It is also vital to balance the number of full-time workers and part-time staff in a shift. Otherwise, you risk underutilising the fulltime workforce. With the hospital scheduling software statistics, you can balance your team based on the hospital’s needs and remove unnecessary overtime.
Scheduling healthcare workers is hard to navigate. However, with the employee rostering systems, you can reduce the stress of creating new schedules each day due to absenteeism. With scheduling software, healthcare workers are active participants, and the schedule is seamless. Besides, incorporating employee suggestions gives them a work-life balance, which is vital in maintaining high productivity. A practical solution to the scheduling problem promotes patients satisfaction in healthcare systems since duties are assigned according to skills. The shift rotations will also reduce burnout among health workers.