Innovative ways technology can help the nurse scheduling process

May 15, 2020, 04:45 PM by Lori Furey

From the perspective of a scheduler or planner, the two most common pitfalls that undermine a schedule are overtime and absenteeism. The result of suboptimal planning, these issues put undue strain on nurses and stretch allocated budgets and resources.

Team leader in charge of managing hospital staff schedules

How do schedulers do it?

The people in charge of coordinating nursing schedules is tasked with centralizing staff requests and resolving expeditiously employee concerns and schedule changes. However, the process of manually tracking requests is time consuming, prone to error, and difficult to align effectively with union rules. Moreover, a scheduler’s day is filled with interruptions—finding and evaluating information, making last-minute changes to accommodate requests, all while constantly ensuring the master schedule is updated quickly. It is no surprise that even the best intentions can succumb to forces beyond control of the person responsible for managing schedules.  

It makes strategic sense for hospitals to consider technology-based scheduling tools that systematically account for these issues, and offer the flexibility to support real-time nursing staff management and resource allocation. 

 

Managing a nursing schedule is not an easy task

Managing a nursing schedule that depends on multiple conditions, restrictions, and time-sensitivity is taxing. A scheduler works continuously with employees to balance several tasks, actively taking emails, phone calls, and texts to ensure that current and future schedules are optimized, balanced, and fair.

A scheduler must also be flexible—unforeseen demands require changes to the schedule at a moment's notice. Using manual scheduling tools, it's no surprise that the sheer number of scheduling change requests becomes overwhelming. The risk of errors and missed communications accumulate and lead to staff shortages and costly overtime. 

Well executed nursing schedules provide a seamless workflow that ensures superior delivery of care to patients. However, that is not always the case since unexpected events happen regularly, and a schedule that is fine one minute can easily become obsolete the next. 

Recorded Webinar: Improving Staff Scheduling in Canadian Healthcare

Manual work is time consuming and administratively inefficient

The issue at the heart of the scheduling problem is manual tracking. Using a paper-based system, it is almost impossible to integrate every variable: rules and regulatory requirements coupled with the demands and fluctuations in a busy hospital environment. An automated system relieves a significant amount of pressure on schedulers. It provides them with the flexibility and confidence to swiftly handle the broad range of requests they receive, and the ability to catch potential problems before they become an integral part of the schedule.

A centralized communication system provides managers a unified view of the scheduling system while enabling employees to confidently manage their own schedules. Adopting a centralized scheduling system removes many of the complexities and human variables associated with a traditional, manual system.

 

Logibec’s fully integrated solution to the nurse scheduling problem

Logibec developed a software solution that meets the constraints and budget of any hospital or care center. Logibec’s digitized scheduling solution offers a fully integrated suite of planning and management tools and provides an all-in-one command center for nurses, schedulers, managers, and administrators.

Digitizing the nursing schedule optimizes resources, time, and energy allocation. For instance, by streamlining and automating schedule management, planners like head nurses and assistants can focus their time on more valuable tasks; the scheduling system works for them by reducing the chances of overtime and unfair workload distribution.

Logibec’s solution helps to considerably reduce administrative burden while providing nurses with more autonomy, and a more predictable working environment that can accommodate any unforeseen circumstance. This singular approach means there is less time spent on clerical efforts and more time allocated to value-adding tasks like patient care. Most importantly, Logibec’s Scheduling & Analytics system catches errors, enforces rules, and optimizes fairness around the clock.

 

Lean and agile schedule with real-time updates

The Logibec solution provides healthcare organizations with innovative tools to help optimize resources and processes. It facilitates efficient operation and the delivery of quality, safe care to patients. With a platform that offers master rotation templates to help organizations plan for effective staffing levels, managers no longer have to worry about having too few nurses on the floor or asking staff to work overtime. Logibec’s Scheduling & Analytics solution is designed with workforce efficiency, cost-containment, employee experience, and optimal patient care in mind.

The platform responds quickly and efficiently to unplanned absences or shift changes, seamlessly fills open shifts, ensures awareness of the minimum number of staff required for a particular unit rotation, and provides dashboard notifications to action gaps in the schedule. Supported by Logibec’s Scheduling & Analytics solution, know that your workforce is optimized, efficient, engaged, and focused on providing your patients the best available care.

Free White Paper: Optimizing Staff Scheduling Efficiency for Schedulers