Nursing Retention Rates Increase with Better Staff Scheduling

January 19, 2022

Scheduling problems are a huge factor contributing to low staff morale. This can happen when nurses are asked to repeatedly pick-up open shifts, cover shifts at the last minute, or stay late to keep things running smoothly. 

It’s no secret that nursing shortages are taxing on the current healthcare workforce. Nurses are burned out, feel under-appreciated, and when morale falls, they start looking for new jobs. Many issues forcing nurses to leave their jobs are related to staff scheduling, how overtime is distributed, and consistent gaps in coverage which can lead to inadequate patient care.

Female nurse wearing medical gloves, surgical mask, and goggles.

While Schedule360 may not be able to solve the nursing shortage or keep your nurses on staff, the system can provide tools that make optimizing your current staff much easier. What results is an efficient process for meeting target work hours, complete schedule transparency, and a better work/life balance.

Web-Based Access Anywhere 

Being aware of and having the ability to prevent staff shortages is made possible with the help of a robust web-based solution. Staff scheduling apps can lag and require constant updating, but with a real-time web-based nurse scheduling software, your staff will have 24/7 online access from any internet-connected device. Having real-time access to scheduling helps lessen the occurrence of missed shifts. Schedules can be checked remotely, leading to less confusion over schedules, and fewer shift changes.

Balanced Shifts and Better Patient Care 

Ensure safe staffing levels are always met by tracking and storing licensure and credentials in convenient, easy to access employee profiles. Admins can set guidelines to prevent staff from signing up for shifts they aren’t qualified to pick up. Credential tracking leads to balanced shifts and higher quality patient care. Since management can set guidelines, units can easily prevent nurses from being scheduled who either don’t have the proper credentials or have let their licensure lapse. Skills requiring recertification are tracked by expiration date and a renewal alert is sent to employees upon login for a set number of days prior to expiration.

Challenges in Staffing

With manual scheduling practices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the effort necessary to keep everything organized and optimized. Inefficient scheduling practices take their toll on the entire unit. Some of the major hurdles admins are facing include:

  • Costly agency labor dependence. 
  • Too much overtime for some employees, while others are consistently under their target work hours.
  • Call offs and the inefficient process of handling them.
  • Underutilized float pools.
  • Gaps in coverage spread resources too thin, causing staff to feel overworked and unhappy.
  • Changes to the schedule require schedulers to adjust staffing, including assigning mandatory OT.
  • Overworked and under-appreciated healthcare staff has a direct negative effect on patient care. 
  • Communicating needs and safety protocols under current pandemic workflows, including change in processes based on emergency needs.
  • Over-messaging when reaching out for help or changes in protocols.

How Can Schedule360 Help?

Stop throwing people at your staff scheduling problems. If your nurse schedulers are feeling like all they do is reactively manage the day to day needs of maintaining the staff schedule, it’s time to try something different. Leverage pointed technology to create a configured solution that really works. 

Real-Time Reporting 

Integrated real-time reports allow one-click management of work targets and provide the proper tools to quickly respond to current shift demands based on real-time needs. Configured reports provide shift level patterns based on patient flow, making it much easier to accurately forecast upcoming demands. 

Policies and procedures can be set with guidelines for fairness and transparency, and the ability to automate certain scheduling tasks based on set guidelines allows you to allocate your resources more effectively. 

Call Offs 

Managing call-offs can be a complicated, time-consuming process. Schedule360 includes a special call-off feature that’s ideal for large healthcare facilities with multiple locations. This automated call-off feature allows employees to call off shifts within a predetermined time frame. If a nurse “calls off” online within the Schedule360 interface, the request is listed as “pending”. This can be broken down further according to market, region, district, and geography, with filters on each of them. 

When the scheduler is processing the call-off, they have the option to:

  • Reopen the shift
  • Make it HOT (i.e., Critical Opening)
  • Dispatch it immediately to all Qualified and Available Staff

Holiday and Weekend Rotations 

Self-scheduling software allows schedulers to build a recurring template for each employee by facility. The template is stored in the system and replicates each scheduling period to lock down and confirm employee shifts. This process provides significant time savings, especially for holiday and weekend schedule rotations, and for nurses who only work weekends or have set days they’re unavailable to work.  

Self-Scheduling and Shift Swapping 

Self-scheduling gives nurses more control over their own schedule by choosing which shifts to pick up or swap with fellow nurses holding the same credentials. Nurse scheduling software gives staff more freedom and flexibility while management still defines setup to ensure work targets are met and safe staffing levels are occurring. 

Good scheduling processes give nurses:

  • Better work/life balance.
  • Sense of ownership through self-scheduling.
  • The ability to plan around upcoming shifts rather than calling off 
  • With set guidelines, only qualified nurses can fill certain shifts, ensuring shifts are more balanced and nurses don’t feel stretched so thin to cover patient needs.
  • Transparent and fair overtime approval process so some employees aren’t getting OT while others aren’t given enough hours. 

Better Staff Scheduling Begins with Schedule360 

While technology can’t solve nursing shortages alone, configurable scheduling tools can help alleviate the effects of nursing shortages by drastically reducing the amount of time, resources, and stress associated with staff scheduling. 

If you’re still hesitant to implement nurse scheduling software because of the initial investment factor, or a lack of time to commit to setting it up, we’d like to help. Our clients have noticed a fast and measurable ROI through overtime reduction, agency dependency, and a more efficient scheduling process just by utilizing our award-winning software. Schedule360 is a proven solution and extremely user-friendly. 

Schedule360 is designed to work in any given situation and is fully customizable to fit your unique scheduling and workforce management needs. If you’re looking for a configured scheduling software solution to manage your common scheduling pain points, contact Schedule360. We Know Scheduling™