Nursing Shortage Solutions For 2020
May 16, 2019
It’s no secret that the U.S. nursing shortage has made the job of adequately and effectively scheduling nurses in hospitals, clinics, and offices around the country extremely challenging.
Minimizing overtime to reduce nurse burnout and properly managing employment costs while also covering all necessary shifts can be daunting.
The good news is, managing the nurse shortage is not an impossible task if you have the right scheduling tools paired with the right scheduling strategies. This will give your facility the ability to do the following:
- Reduce workplace stress
- Improve employee satisfaction
- Build an atmosphere of mutual respect
- Achieve positive workplace outcomes among your nursing staff.
Create a Sense of Community
When your nursing staff feels like they are a part of a well-respected community of medical providers, their job satisfaction will show. Nurses that feel like their needs are met will perform their duties better, be more willing to take on additional shifts when needed, and will be less likely to feel burnout by the stresses of the job.
Nurse scheduling software allows schedulers the ability to clearly communicate with the nursing staff, create engagement between nurses, and develop tools for better discovering the staff’s needs on and off the clock.
Flexible Shifts Entice Quality Nurses
Traditional shifts might make scheduling less complicated but offering flexible shift options may attract highly skilled nurses whose personal lives might not accommodate traditional schedules. Some hospitals have created “mom shifts” to accommodate experienced working mothers who may need to work from 9am-2pm each day.
Offering nurses part-time options or even varying shifts of 8 hours or 12 hours can help your nurses feel like they are valued, both in and out of the hospital. Although these shifts might seem unconventional, they can be effectively managed and scheduled with the right scheduling software to streamline organization and nurse availability.
Offer Your Nurses Incentives
Every nursing shift scheduler knows that there are also those shifts that are difficult to fill. Because nurses are needed 24/7, there are some shifts that nurses just try to avoid. However, one good way to reduce the number of open shift slots available is to offer incentives for those nurses that volunteer to work during those times.
Do you struggle with mandating overtime to fill necessary shift slots? If so, the right incentives can entice reluctant nurses to voluntarily step in for added overtime pay or to help out their workplace community when needed. Schedulers who utilize an online scheduling program can easily identify which nurses have standing shift schedules, which nurses are contracted for specific hours, and which might be available to work those hard-to-fill shifts.
Once you’ve identified those nurses who might be available to work a shift, you can easily target them with those hard-to-pass-up perks to get them to say “yes”. Some incentives might be a float pass – to pass the float onto the next person, a lighter day of assignment, or offer those nurses the first opportunity to go home on low census days.
Additionally, a scheduling system that communicates these targeted shifts via text dispatch to qualified and available nurses greatly reduces the amount of time needed to fill these shifts.
Per Diem or Contingent Staff Can Fill in the Gaps
Even with enticing perks, sign-on bonuses, and additional offers to fill those less-than-desirable shifts, there may still be a few that consistently seem open. As a scheduler, you understand how crucial it is to get every shift position staffed for optimal performance. Units that are understaffed have nurses that are overworked, overstressed, and distracted. Hiring contingent nurses that are available to fill open shifts as needed can be the perfect solution to those frustrating staffing problems. Having contingent workers on standby means that you don’t have to guarantee specified hours to those nurses on a weekly basis. These nurses typically don’t want full-time hours, so that makes managing the schedule that much easier.
Using Training and Educational Opportunities as a Perk to Staffing Your Nursing Unit
One of the reasons that many nurses fail to volunteer for those “undesirable” shifts is because they feel unprepared or insecure about handling the common difficulties associated with the shifts. As medical technology changes, advancements in medicine develop, it’s important for your nurses to be able to adapt.
By offering trainings, certifications, and other educational opportunities, your nursing staff (both new and established) will know that their employer cares about their professional growth and development.
Which trainings might open doors for promotions within the facility? When new opportunities for growth and advancement develop, your nursing staff can be kept well-informed and in-the-loop about the trainings that apply to them. Consider utilizing your nurse scheduling software’s Class function as a way for nurses to sign up for educational opportunities. Additionally, a scheduling system that provides messaging capabilities allows you to alert your nurses about opportunities via personal or group communications.
When nurses feel valued and appreciated on the job, they enjoy coming to work, their performance improves, and they develop a greater desire to work hard and take on more responsibility.
Schedule360® can help make all of that possible. Allowing for clear and concise communication, automated scheduling, and nursing accountability, your nurses will be an integral part of the scheduling process. Your nurses will be happier and your ability to fill open shifts will be much simpler than ever before. Call us today for more information and to learn how Schedule360® can be a benefit for your medical care facility.