Hospital Staff Scheduling: What Works and What Doesn’t

May 29, 2020

Smiling female healthcare worker wearing scrubs standing in a hospital.

Every healthcare organization, including hospitals, has faced a major dilemma or two when it comes to staff scheduling. Hospital staff scheduling can get complicated, wasting both time and resources. While every healthcare organization is unique, they all share a common need to effectively schedule their staff.

While staff scheduling might sound like a complex mystery that’s impossible to figure out, deciphering what’s working and what’s not is an important first step to streamlining your process.

Let’s Talk About What Doesn’t Work

Manual Scheduling

While some may strongly believe that manual scheduling is still the only way to go, in reality, manual scheduling is a confusing, time-consuming, stress inducing circle of tasks.

Emailing Time-Off Requests

If you’re still using manual scheduling processes, such as paper or spreadsheets, time-off requests are anything but quick and painless, especially when those emails pile up, or your time-off requests accidentally get lost or unorganized.

Overtime and Agency Spending

Outdated, manual scheduling processes lead to gaps in the schedule, resulting in costly overtime and agency spending in order to fill those shifts. There’s a better way. You probably have the staff you need already, you’re just not optimizing your resources. With a view of the big picture in real-time, you’ll be able to fill in those schedule gaps with your own staff, and maybe not completely eliminate your need for agency staff, but greatly reduce it for sure.

Wasted Time and Resources

The main problem with manual scheduling methods is the sheer amount of wasted time and resources. Scheduling ends up monopolizing far too much of the scheduler’s time, resulting in costly errors and decisions that could have easily been avoided with the right scheduling software solution.

How Can Hospital Staff Scheduling Software Help?

Set Rules and Guidelines for Self Scheduling

Your staff may or may not welcome the ability to self-schedule, and you may be apprehensive too, but let’s talk about it. With rule-based self-scheduling software, nurses have the ability to pick up extra shifts and swap shifts, all within the rules and guidelines set by management. With a robust, configurable software, you can automate a good chunk of your scheduling process, leaving more time to better utilize your resources.

Eliminate or Reduce Overtime

Some scheduling software comes equipped with overtime alerts built into the system, allowing managers to quickly view which employees are approaching overtime thresholds, and which employees still need additional hours. Make sure the software you choose has this feature.

Reduce Agency Needs

Since gaps in the schedule are easily filled thanks to scheduling software, the need for costly supplemental agency staff is greatly reduced or even eliminated. And your staff is happy too, because not only are they getting the hours they need, they’re not being overworked, which can quickly lead to burn-out.

Accountability for Hours Worked

Since everything is tracked and recorded with employee scheduling software, this leads to better communication as well as employee accountability.

Optimize Shifts Based on Skill Level

Scheduling software keeps track of employee credentials, ensuring that only those employees with the proper skill set and credentials are filling the right shifts.

Increase Positive Patient Experience

When healthcare workers are happy with their jobs, the quality level of patient care they provide increases, resulting in a better patient experience. Let’s be honest-happy staff is invaluable to your overall working environment as a whole, but especially in healthcare.

Save Schedulers Time and Resources

Thanks to employee scheduling software, managers will be able to make much better use of their time as the software can take over a heavy load of your scheduling tasks. Most schedulers are also a part of your staff that creates the foundation of your workforce. If they are spending less time on the schedule, that means they have more time to spend on more important tasks that better leverage their skills and experience.

Schedule Transparency

Employee scheduling software provides complete schedule transparency by allowing employees 24/7 access to their schedules from any mobile device with internet access. This feature leads to less confusion over schedules, and fewer shift changes as staff have more time to plan their personal lives around their work schedules.

While scheduling dilemmas may have plagued hospitals in the past, we know what an impact employee scheduling software by Schedule360 can make on your unit. Contact us today for a customized demo to see just how configurable our robust software solution really is and how it can meet the unique scheduling needs you have.