How to Handle Nursing Scheduling Conflicts
May 2, 2019
Nurse scheduling can be a big challenge. Adding a scheduling conflict to that can compound the problem. The most common scheduling conflicts include unbalanced shift distribution, scheduling unavailable employees, and double booking.
How you solve the dilemma can be a careful balancing act that should be handled with grace in order to avoid stressing out your staff.
In a healthcare setting, nurses must remain calm and levelheaded in order to work in the best interest of their patients. You do not want patients to feel the brunt of a scheduling conflict that could have been avoided. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to better tackle nursing scheduling conflicts.
Scheduling conflicts arise even with the most carefully plotted schedule. When they do, it is not enough to simply check your availability chart to figure out who you can ask to cover a shift. Consider implementing a plan to get each member of the nursing staff's availability each week.
This can be done with an online form, by email, or during a weekly staff meeting. Then you will readily know who might be able to pick up a shift instead of making a seemingly endless number of phone calls. This will take a lot of time and could leave an immediate nursing need unfilled.
Schedule Further Out
Most employees crave a good balance between work and home life. Completing nursing scheduling several weeks in advance can do this and help prevent scheduling conflicts. Consider moving from a four-week to a six-week schedule, or perhaps further out.
Your nursing staff will happy to know the schedule in advance. They can also better plan appointments and other personal business instead of needing to take time off from their scheduled shift at the last minute.
Use Scheduling Software
Some scheduling conflicts are completely unavoidable. Human error often comes into play when you have one or more people pouring over spreadsheets to come up with a nursing schedule. Rule-based, nurse scheduling software allows you to better track availability, and to monitor and make changes when needed.
Web-based nurse scheduling software allows you to efficiently create conflict-free shifts and minimize shift-scheduling issues. Scheduling software crosschecks availability and time-off requests while preventing overlapping shifts or employees being double booked. You will do all of this while minimizing the high number of man-hours nurse schedulers and nursing managers spend creating your unit’s schedule. In addition, having nursing schedules online creates accountability because everyone has access to them, 24/7, from any device.
Schedule360 allows nurses to self-schedule within rules set by administrators, switch shifts, request days off, pick up available shifts, and much more. It also tracks who did what, provides daily documentation of cancellations, call-offs, and overtime approvals, tracks float documentation, and allows you to see who approved schedule changes. If you want a system that allows you to successfully manage nursing scheduling and scheduling conflicts, contact Schedule360 today to see how our nurse scheduling software can work for your unit.