Reduce Mandatory Overtime Occurrences with Nurse Scheduling Software

February 4, 2022

Optimizing your scheduling process with sophisticated technology is a proactive approach to improving employee engagement. Having a strategic plan in place that delivers consistent schedules in a scalable and manageable way results in an optimal work environment for everyone. With the right staff in place, compliance issues are less likely to occur, and the quality of patient care improves. Having the right balance of staffing levels empowers administrators to proactively prevent issues, and should any issue arise, they’re well equipped to handle them.

Female nurse in scrubs and cap wearing a mask standing in front of a sink in a hospital room.

Accurate scheduling can decrease reliance on on-call staff, which in turn reduces the amount of call-back pay and overtime. Excessive overtime can negatively impact the labor budget as well as create an unfavorable work environment for employees, making it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance for both staff and admins.

What Leads to Excessive Overtime?

  • Full-time nurses work long hours already, so if gaps in coverage occur during shifts with high patient volume, those nurses often remain on shift to help manage patient care.
  • Inefficient float pool management to help bridge the gaps in coverage. 
  • Schedulers do not have the ability to see the big picture because they’re using outdated or manual scheduling methods. This results in some employees being under their target work hours while others are burned out with overtime. 

COVID-19 is a huge contributing factor to the ongoing crisis for our nursing workforce. A substantial number of nurses are voluntarily quitting their jobs. According to a 2021 NSI nursing solutions report, 62 percent of hospitals are reporting a vacancy rate higher than 7.5%. The pandemic is taking an even greater toll than many realize. In a recent survey, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses discovered that out of 6,000 critical care nurses surveyed, 66% percent have considered quitting due to working conditions through the pandemic. 

How can scheduling software help?  

Staff Optimization 

Our nurse scheduling software can help you streamline your staff schedule based on target work hours. Our robust and configurable reporting features allow admins to optimize their current staff first and fill in any open shifts with non-optimized staff before assigning overtime to employees that already met their target work hours and overtime thresholds. This also leads to less agency labor use because you can easily fill scheduling gaps with staff nurses who are under their target work hours first. 

Real-Time Reporting 

Real-time reporting and transparency can help forecast patient demand more accurately. Integrated data compiling enables one-click management of employee compliance work targets. The ability to oversee multiple locations from one centralized web-based platform makes staff scheduling a much simpler process. 

Credential Tracking 

Nurse scheduling software makes it easy for schedulers to keep track of staff licensure and skills by conveniently storing them in employee profiles. Credentials requiring recertification are tracked from the expiration date and the system can alert employees 60 days prior to their expiration date. Credential tracking and automatic renewal alerts keep everyone in compliance resulting in less gaps in coverage and better patient care.

Rules-Based Self-Scheduling 

Self-scheduling and shift swaps provide nurses with more control over their work/life balance, leading to higher retention, improved morale, and less gaps in coverage. After you release shifts for the upcoming schedule and immediate booking of set schedule shifts, remaining shifts can be open for self-scheduling by unit-based staff. Self-scheduling is rules-based and reduces time spent on scheduling as nurses can also swap shifts with fellow nurses holding the same credentials. Admin defines guidelines at setup which can be changed at any time, and features can be turned on or off for the entire department or per employee as needed.

Centralized Scheduling 

Centralized scheduling is more efficient, resulting in less errors in staff scheduling. With nurse scheduling software, you can view your entire workforce with the click of a button. Schedulers can view reports and schedules by location or at a regional level. Centralized scheduling is scalable and ideal for any healthcare facility, even those with multiple locations. 

Shift Reminders  

Shift reminders can lessen gaps in coverage by notifying staff who pick up extra shifts or swap shifts with other staff. Ensure that your nursing staff never misses a shift by having a reminder sent to their phone notifying them of an upcoming shift they picked up. This valuable tool isn’t possible with outdated scheduling methods, like spreadsheets or pen and paper. Missed shifts is a common pain point in healthcare scheduling, and automated reminders can make a big difference in providing balanced coverage for better patient care.

Fair and Balanced Overtime Process 

Offering voluntary overtime is easy with set rules and guidelines for available shifts, allowing employees who want overtime to accept extra shifts before mandating overtime shifts to working staff. Schedule360 manages overtime with fairness and accountability for all staff by tracking OT and ensuring it’s in compliance with the set rules and guidelines you create. Having a big-picture view of overtime thresholds against accurate patient forecasts makes your staff scheduling process so much easier to oversee.

Scheduling Software to Optimize Success 

Schedule360 has the tools you need to help you reduce mandatory overtime, boost employee morale, and improve your overall staff scheduling process. Creating a resilient workforce is easily attainable with Schedule360, even in the middle of a pandemic. We Know Scheduling™, and understand the unique needs of healthcare staff scheduling. If you’re ready for an efficient way to centrally manage your workforce, contact us today for a configured demo. We’re here to create efficiency in your current processes and provide tools that make it easy for you to streamline and optimize your staff.