With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging many countries, healthcare workers are teetering on the edge of exhaustion. The influx of patients and hospitals operating at full capacity means healthcare employees are already overwhelmed. Their shifts are longer due to the increased patient loads, and there is a shortage of nurses and doctors; hence hospitals have to make do with their current employees. Fortunately, hospitals can boost workers’ morale with a proper scheduling system.
Robust scheduling software comes in handy in balancing healthcare workers’ shifts to reduce burnout. Besides, you can identify departments or shifts with an influx of patients and ensure you have extra employees to help the full-time workers provide care. Let us look at ways that rostering software can reduce healthcare workers’ exhaustion and ensure patients receive the best care.
How Rostering Software Boosts the Morale of Healthcare Workers
Helps in Tracking Overtime to Avoid Burnout
Every company has reliable workers that they count on when there are extra shifts or a need for overtime. With the increase in demand for workers and additional shifts every day, reliable employees can become overworked. Even consistent employees that can cover several shifts without complaining need downtime to avoid burnout. However, with the hospital operating at full capacity, it can be challenging to keep track of the employees covering more shifts.
Hospitals that use a rostering system can identify overworked healthcare staff by checking the hours and shifts covered by each doctor or nurse. The healthcare scheduling software can also pinpoint underutilised workers in every shift. With information on the shift hours, you can balance the duration of shifts and ensure everyone works proportionate hours. This balance will ensure every healthcare worker has enough downtime to rest and avoid burnout.
Nurses and doctors enjoy shift work due to the flexibility and convenience it provides. Nurses can change shifts or choose to work part-time or full-time. However, with a traditional excel schedule, it can be challenging to follow the shift changes manually, especially when preparing the payroll. During the pandemic, shift changes are common when a healthcare worker falls sick. Keeping track of the changes and shift swapping can be a daunting task for hospitals without scheduling software.
You can utilise scheduling software to manage shift changes since the healthcare workers can update when they are unavailable for a shift. You can use the data to calculate the shifts covered by every employee. When a healthcare worker is sick, you can find another worker to cover their shift until they return. Allowing the employees to change shifts gives them control over their schedules, increasing their job satisfaction. Besides, they will be productive in the shifts they choose.
Helps in Allocating the Right Duties According to Skills
Allocating healthcare staff to work in the wrong department can be demoralising, especially if the shifts are long and extend to overtime. You should also schedule employees to shifts that are convenient with their lifestyle. Some nurses prefer night shifts, while others prefer working morning shifts that will end in time for family dinner or social engagement.
Since you have a diverse team, you need reliable scheduling software to cater to your complex workforce. Rostering software helps record the skillsets of various employees and save their preferences. When preparing the staff schedule, you can refer to the preference to ensure your employees enjoy the schedule.
Ensures Balance of Full-Time and Part-Time Workers
Some shifts have a higher influx of patients, leaving doctors overwhelmed. However, other shifts have fewer patients, leading to under-utilised staff. An analysis of patient arrival times can assist your scheduling efforts and ensure you have enough staff for the shift. It reduces burnout in busy shifts and avoids waste of time when the patients are less. With the pandemic, some days are busy with new admissions, while other days are better. That means the management needs to create a balance to ensure full-time workers are not overwhelmed.
With the increasing demand for healthcare services, hospitals need to utilise both part-time and full-time healthcare workers. However, using traditional scheduling methods can lead to confusion, and you may assign additional duties to an overwhelmed worker. For instance, a full-time nurse covering a 12-hour shift should not work overtime if an available part-time nurse can do overtime. Scheduling software allows the hospital management to plan shifts in real-time. When there is a surge in patient traffic, the manager can assign extra part-time workers overtime hours. The software also keeps track of hours covered by full-time workers to ensure they are not under-utilised.
Caters for Unavailability
Despite having a flexible scheduling system that considers everyone’s preferences, some healthcare workers may still be absent. With the healthcare system overwhelmed, absenteeism can become rampant. Besides, some healthcare workers may fall sick. You can minimise understaffing in shifts by allowing employees to update the shifts when they are unavailable. Healthcare workers can access the software from their devices and update their unavailability online. The manager can adjust the roster to suit the needs of the hospital. The hospital can also find part-time workers to fill the gaps and ensure the available workers are not overwhelmed. Giving healthcare workers control over their schedules also motivates them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made scheduling healthcare workers a hard nut to crack, especially with the surging cases and an overwhelmed system. However, a rostering system can motivate employees and give them the morale to show up at work every morning. Scheduling software also promotes transparency by involving employees in the scheduling process. Incorporating healthcare workers makes them feel part of the team and promotes productivity. Balancing the part-time and full-time workers and rotating shifts will also reduce burnout and increase healthcare workers’ downtime.