It is now possible to create perfect schedules for the nurses on your hospital staff. Roster software, designed specifically for the hospital nursing industry, removes the guesswork from determining shift needs.
Take Advantage of Innovative Software
Many hospitals struggle with making sure their need for round-the-clock coverage matches the availability of their nursing staff. In many cases, the situation worsens when department managers resort to the antiquated pen and paper method.
Instead of working from pertinent details, managers use their intuition or previous schedules as planning tools. With this practice, the assumption is patient volume never fluctuates. Therefore, what was the appropriate number of nursing staff last week is the same this week.
This could not be further from the truth. Additionally, this practice is unnecessary. Many roster software programs flood the market to ease the complicated task of nurse scheduling. Considering this fact now is a great time for you to capitalize on innovative technology.
Simplify the Hard Task of 24/7 Scheduling
Hospital nursing is one of many industries that place high demands of scheduling. Ensuring adequate staffing levels is a very involved and complex process. As a result, accuracy presents many challenges to those responsible for rosters.
Roster software serves to simplify the complicated tasks of creating nursing schedules. Nursing is an industry that requires 24/7 coverage. Implementing this type of software can help your managers regain valuable time and avoid last minute staffing chaos.
The old-fashioned system of pinning schedules in the break room is no longer efficient. With a simple and affordable scheduling program, you can get the most out of features such as:
- Creating customized schedules
- Post schedules online
- Ensure adequate scheduling of open shifts
- Track training and certifications
- Manage time off requests
- Control overtime costs
Typically, nurses on your staff have different skill sets. Some nurses work part-time. Others have full-time schedules. Not only must your scheduling process accommodate these differences, but you must also consider service to patient care.
Align Patient Care with Roster Planning
It goes without saying that how you manage your nursing staff directly impacts the level of care patients receive. Often times, nurses are the frontline employees. Patients can have more interaction with nurses than their doctors.
For this reason, ask three very important questions:
- Are nurses with the right skills being assigned to the right patients
- Are any of your nurses feeling overworked?
- Are your nurses having a hard time balancing their personal obligations with work shifts?
It is important to ask and answer each one of these questions during the roster creation process. Doing so can help improve proper care for patients and your nursing staff.
Roster schedules are more than simply having people to work at different times. Positively meeting the standards the above questions pose ensures a nursing staff that can perform tasks at high levels. This helps to guarantee proper care for patients.
With this in mind, there are roster software programs that enable you to optimize the scheduling process. Your best choice is implementing one that does not force workarounds. This defeats the purpose of eliminating manual processes.
Consider the following factors when searching for nursing roster software.
Use Predictive Analytics to Improve Roster Accuracy
For some, improving the accuracy of nursing schedules begins with the use of predictive analytics. Only recently has this use of data and statistical techniques expanded into the healthcare industry.
The success of predictive analytics in other industries is encouraging for what it can do with automated roster software. It offers optimisation of nursing staff resources across any health system. Data collected can forecast the often unpredictable patient demand weeks or months in advance.
Analyzing historical data and other metrics also prove beneficial when trying to determine staffing needs. More accurate forecasts help to ensure the right nurse with the right skill set is available when needed.
In addition, the inclusion of predictive analytics helps with configuring the software to fit your hospital’s needs. This includes open shift management and self-scheduling to secure nursing needs weeks in advance.
Value Your Nurses’ Input on Work Preferences
Letting your nursing staff communicate their work preferences is another essential aspect of roster creation. Nurses are professionals who want to have input into decisions made about their work life.
Therefore, be open to the feedback that they provide. This information becomes invaluable when managers are building rosters. The goal is to ensure schedules benefit nurses so they are more willing to complete a shift.
Benefits of nurses’ input can carryover to management and most importantly towards patient outcomes. Ask nurses about their availability and preferences.
If you have a lot of experience in the hospital nursing industry, you are aware that most nurses have plenty going on outside of their jobs. For example, they may have family obligations. Some have returned to school to improve their knowledge.
Listening to their needs and wants before creating schedules can help to reduce call outs. Most roster software programs allow you to store those details in the system. Having this information readily available ensures work shifts do not conflict with those outside obligations.
There are benefits to getting their input. First, your nurses will appreciate being asked about their preferences before rosters are completed. Second, having more details about those preferences makes it easier to fill shift needs.
Use Patient Acuity Levels to Make Roster Decisions
Another important aspect that can make roster scheduling for nurses so complex is differences in patient needs. Your managers must consider acuity levels when making nursing staff decisions. If this important step is overlooked, there is a risk to the value of patient care.
For instance, a high-acuity patient often needs specialized care from a nurse with specific skills and certifications. Roster software for hospital nursing comes with a feature that allows you to easily reference nurses who can fulfill those needs.
Weighing the Options of Nurse Roster Software
At the end of the day, you want to be in the position to weigh all available options for finding the right software solutions. While there are numerous nursing roster software programs, each one will not necessarily match your hospital’s needs.
Leveraging the opportunities for simplifying a scheduling process does many things:
- Improving nursing staff satisfaction
- Better nurse retention
- Decreasing management time on roster creation
- Enhancing patient outcomes
- Matching skill set with shifts
Take the time necessary to find a trusted roster software program for your nursing staff. This is an operational decision you will not regret when you see a difference in efficiently running the hospital.