Running a medical practice is difficult at the best of times. The healthcare industry can be unforgiving when it comes to creating schedules. Particularly ones that suit both the nurse and their workplace. Due to the recent COVID pandemic, the scheduling rulebook has been disregarded and is now in the process of repair. Or seen by some, a reinvention. To make this transition smoother than first foreseen, the healthcare industry is integrating nurse scheduling software as the solution to transform their business from the depths of this unprecedented period.
Let’s first look at why nurse scheduling software is so important right now.
The need for nurse scheduling software
Nursing is widely recognized as the most demanding job in the industry. It is undeniable that nurses’ work life balance is being compromised at the expense of workloads. These increasing demands are creating both physical and psychological strains, which is leading to an increased degree of burnout cases. Many frontline workers are now looking to consider other options in their careers.
In a recent survey by McKinsey & Company, 22% of nurses indicated that they may leave their position of providing direct patient care in the next year. The significant strain on nurses is forcing health systems and employers to deploy new strategies to provide a better workforce landscape. It is likely that the healthcare industry will look to rebuild and regain its old strength in the future. But for now, the focus is turned on allowing nurses to gain more flexibility in their roles. The best way to create that pathway is none other than nurse scheduling software.
So, let’s explore how nurse scheduling software can transform your healthcare business.
How Nurse Scheduling Software can transform your Healthcare Business
Increased flexibility for nurses
One of the main benefits of nurse scheduling software is that it provides nurses with a healthy work-life balance. We all now have a deeper understanding of what healthcare means to this world. Nurses see great value in a schedule that can better their own health. In a recent survey, 87% of hourly workers said it’s extremely important to have control over the days and times they are expected to work. To create a better working environment, medical practices should enforce it.
Just like you and I, nurses are likely to have a hectic lifestyle outside of their job. Many nurses still have nursing school duties to attend, while balancing their work responsibilities and trying to further their education. Utilizing the benefits of scheduling features can relieve a workforce of undertaking those additional duties that are causing them mental and physical stress.
Employee availability, self-scheduling, and shift bidding
Medical practices can use nurse scheduling software to increase nurses’ flexibility in the workplace. By finding out when they are available to work, these medical practices are better placed to create a competent schedule. So giving them an employee scheduling app to input their availability actually empowers both the nurse and their workplace. It gives the nurse the freedom to work when they want. The scheduler is presented with comprehensive data to make an informed decision on their schedule.
Alternatively, a medical practice may allow shift bidding or self-scheduling to give nurses more autonomy over their schedule. Research has shown that 89% of companies report better employee retention rates because of their flexible working options. Giving nurses the autonomy to choose the shifts they want will ultimately give them a happier life outside of work and help to prevent them burning out. Controlling the hours that nurses are allowed to work can also help to combat the long-term overtime issue the healthcare industry has faced. If the right measurements are in place, nurses will no longer be working 60-hour workweeks. Creating a working culture that is considerate towards nurses doesn’t just keep them happy. It alleviates their performance levels and makes a medical practice an attractive proposition for the best talent.
These features can go a long way to transforming the way your business operates. But it’s still vital to remember that no matter how great a nurse schedule is, it must be operable in real-time to gain maximum productivity and efficiency.
Effective scheduling with real-time visibility
Everybody is aware of how important the healthcare industry is. So, ensuring it operates at the fastest pace possible is essential for optimizing nurses’ performance. Due to the significance of the industry, managers need to ensure that the schedule is concise and leaves no room for error. The first step in making this possible is by scheduling far enough in advance. Nurse scheduling software can help with this.
Providing schedules in good time
Due to the important nature of healthcare, it is paramount that you provide a schedule as far in advance as you can. By creating schedules way ahead of time, you will be limiting those unexpected and frustrating last-minute changes. Whether you opt to create a hoard of self-scheduling shifts or allocate shifts to select nurses, you will be giving them an opportunity to inform you of any change if required. If a change is absolutely necessary, you can dip into your live schedule to find a suitable replacement.
The benefits of real-time scheduling
There are a ton of real-time scheduling benefits for both the nurse and their medical practice. A Citrix survey revealed that 61% of employees reported working outside of the office at least part of the time. So, there is a good chance they are using a smart mobile device to access their schedule.
The digital approach to scheduling has enabled nurses to view their schedule online with the click of a button. They have the autonomy to communicate their availability and choose shifts using self-scheduling and shift bidding. This helps to cater to their lifestyle outside of work. And should their schedule require change, they can use in-app chat to inform their manager on the spot.
For the manager, they have the visibility of a live schedule. So, if there is a shift that been dropped or a missed check-in alert because someone didn’t arrive at site, they have a range of tools at their disposal. To fill the void, many managers use rules-based scheduling to search for an autofill by qualification or availability. These rules can be setup to prevent overtime and ensure no shift is double-booked. If preferred, managers can use AI-based scheduling tools to discover new rules from historical data. Whichever method they choose to adopt, their schedule will be less time-consuming and far more competent.
Nurse scheduling software can help to streamline all your business processes. But now, the focus is on whether it can contribute and curb the transition of growth that the healthcare industry is in the middle of experiencing.
Curbing the healthcare demand
The workforce landscape of the healthcare industry has changed in recent years. The industry is still looking to regain some balance from the times when there was less demand and change was far less frequent. To curb the transition of demand, the healthcare industry is looking to employee more nurses.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 12% increased in nursing jobs between the years 2018 and 2028. Although this statistic is likely to see more jobs created for nurses, the pace of the increase could lead to issues with growth.
So, how can nurse scheduling software help to curb this transition?
Categorizing your nurses
Categorizing your nurses can be advantageous when dealing with varying demands. Creating a schedule can be extremely complex compared to the typical part-time and full-time employee basis. Patient acuity levels are something that any medical practice must consider when applying a nurse for care. Acuity levels can define the level of care that is needed for a patient. When it comes to scheduling, managers must ensure that the right care is being provided for the right patients.
Utilizing nurse scheduling software, a manager should focus on creative and effective ways to apply skills and certifications. By ensuring that all nurse records are up to date, they will be in a position to choose the right people for the right shifts by using the scheduling features that support it. This will allow a medical practice to operate using a fully optimized nurse schedule.
Despite how nurse scheduling software is evidently transforming the healthcare industry, medical practices must not lose sight of looking for ways to make a positive difference to their operations. Let’s review how nurse scheduling software is the beginning of this invaluable industry’s long road to recovery.
The nurse scheduling conundrum
Scheduling nurses has become one of the most challenging issues the healthcare industry has had to face. Due to the stress that it has been placed on nurses since the COVID-19 pandemic, the workforce landscape has required dramatic change. Over the last two years, the “great resignation” has seen the healthcare industry lose over 30% of its nurses because of the overwhelming schedules they have had to suffer. So, it’s needed a fresh injection to provide a better working landscape to alleviate the added pressure and give them a platform to enjoy their work again.
Management can use nurse scheduling software to offer flexibility in a time where it can be a game-changer. Nurses have become active participants in this transformation. By empowering them to choose the shifts that create a healthier work-life balance, the healthcare industry is slowly transforming into a more sustainable operation. There’s no desperation to offer overtime or assign an unqualified nurse to a post. Although the easiest route would be to stick with tried and tested systems, their ineffectiveness in this desperately important period is the greatest risk to patients and nurses themselves. Nurse scheduling software is in place to make informed decisions that not only regain the stability the industry used to have, but to improve these processes too.