The majority of nurse scheduling performed today is Command and Control:
Managers set the schedule and post it for all to see. What follows is typically a negative emotional response by the staff because they are once again being told when and where they are going to work. Any insubordination, failure to show up when you've been assigned or general unhappiness with the schedule is met with a stick: HR violations documented, staff member not viewed as a "team player" etc. What ultimately happens when holes exist on your unit: you post shifts on hoping someone will bail you out, or you call your "trusted" staff and beg them to help, or you call in contract labor.
These solutions increase your Costs Per Patient Day, take your time away from focusing on direct patient care, and create general tension between management and staff.
Well, there is a new way to lower your cost of care, improve staff satisfaction and get your unit scheduled up: Collaborative Scheduling using Open Shift Management (OSM). With the use of OSM you can engage your staff in a positive way to tackle the challenge of scheduling your unit and facility together WITH your nurses collaboratively.
Open Shift Management is a method of bringing the organization's needs and the staff's availability and preferences together to more effectively and efficiently schedule each unit in the facility.
With this process you cast the widest net to fill your holes with the most qualified and desirable person. You now tap into all qualified personnel in the organization to fill your holes and not just those on your unit that happen to see the sign-up sheet, or the reliable few that you call regularly to help you out that you are potentially burning out.
Many vendors claim to have OSM, but few truly do. Posting open shifts on the web for staff to view and then contact a unit manager or scheduler is not OSM. Staff and managers need to have an accurate view of the scheduling status and a method to communicate effectively. A list of shifts on the web doesn't decrease phone calls or notes being left under doors. Going half way will not even get you half the benefit you are seeking. It needs to all be communicated online, in real-time and via Email and Cell Phone Text Messages.
There are hundreds or healthcare organizations across the country using a collaborative method to staff their facilities today. They have happier staff, happier managers and spend less on contract labor to fill their holes. Embrace the paradigm shift and view your staff as part of the solution instead of the problem.