To simplify nurse scheduling, many healthcare administrators rely on nurse scheduling software. This not only ensures every shift is properly staffed, it also decreases the amount of time they spend on scheduling, reduces overtime, and improves communication. Here are seven features that are most important for nurse managers to look for when selecting staff scheduling software.
1. Staffing Calculations
Staffing levels impact nurse satisfactions, as well as the quality of patient care. Nurse scheduling software that manually performs staffing calculations ensures proper coverage and gives nurse managers more time to focus on core responsibilities. Whether it staffs nurses based on patient acuity, shift requirements, or census counts, administrators should choose software that can be customized to make calculations according to their facility's specific criteria.
2. Reporting Tools
Scheduling software that allows healthcare supervisors to run and print time-off and schedule reports, as well as daily, weekly, and monthly rosters helps prevent unnecessary overtime costs. Reports that allow them to sort employees by attributes such as skills, certifications, and training help ensure each shift is properly covered. For optimal compliance, healthcare facilities should adopt scheduling software that allows supervisors to instantly see how many people are scheduled by shift, position, location, or skill.
Many healthcare facilities are turning to nurse scheduling software that helps manage self-scheduling. With self-scheduling, managers share the responsibility with nurses, so they spend less time on scheduling and more time on other key responsibilities. This simplifies scheduling for nurse managers and reduces scheduling frustrations for nurses. Nurses can work the hours they prefer - increasing job satisfaction and staff retention.
4. Patterns and Rotations
Re-entering shift patterns and rotations each time they create a schedule can be a time-intensive task for healthcare managers. Scheduling software that allows them to easily copy schedule patterns and rotations far into the future saves them time and hassles. Software that allows them to schedule multiple employees at once saves additional time and simplifies complex scheduling.
5. Mobile App
When schedules are posted onsite, nurses can only view them when they are at work. Even when schedules are sent out via email, nurses often are not aware when the schedule is changed. Online scheduling software gives them 24/7 access to real-time schedules. Systems that include a mobile app allow nurses, administrators, and staff to view up-to-the minute schedules on any mobile device. Some apps allow employees to submit schedule requests remotely, and let managers view staffing needs and make last-minute changes if necessary.
Scheduling software that allows managers to instantly communicate with nurses via email and text message helps managers notify nurses of schedule changes. It also provides them the ability to notify nurses when there is a need for additional manpower in times of crisis and fill open shifts fast. Software that lets managers send messages to a select group of qualified and available nurses helps get messages to the right people at the right times.
7. Skills Tracking
Tracking skills, training, and certifications is necessary for maintaining appropriate staffing levels. Software that lets managers assign these qualifications to each nurse helps ensure the correct number of qualified nurses are scheduled in the appropriate departments. For added security, some software alerts managers as far as 90 days prior to any expiration dates - reducing legal exposure. Software that allows schedulers to organize and view the information most important to them on one screen makes it easy for them stay on top of key scheduling and compliance issues.
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