Filling open shifts is perhaps the most challenging part of being a nurse manager. You have to keep the hospital functioning as you respond to changing patient volume projections, all the while trying to keep your staff happy. Every day presents new challenges as the number of patients rises and falls, but you can stay one step ahead of the game by incorporating some of these scheduling tips into your management routine.
Schedule Management Software
More hospitals and healthcare facilities are switching to schedule management software to help managers fill open shifts and communicate with their team members. These programs tend to feature a simple interface that helps you quickly take stock of your scheduling needs. As patient volume projections change, you can quickly add or remove shifts from the calendar. You can also keep tabs on schedule change requests from staff members and update the calendar accordingly. The program monitors the working hours of your current team members, so you don’t accidentally over-schedule them. The system will even alert you if one of your team member’s credentials is expiring, so you can send out a reminder. Keeping all your scheduling information in one place helps you manage the schedule more efficiently.
Mobile Apps and Instant Notifications
Some of these software programs also include a mobile app that allows you to make changes to the schedule even if you’re away from your desk. You’ll receive instant alerts if someone wants the day off or a new shift needs to be filled. You can also use this app to communicate with your team members in real-time. You can send out push notifications with reward incentives to encourage your team members to pick up an extra shift, all from the palm of your hand.
As efficient as these programs can be, you also need to make sure you’re being consistent when trying to fill open shifts. Enticing your team members with a large sum of money when trying to fill a shift at the last minute can get you into trouble. If your staff members feel that you’re being unfair by offering money to certain employees, it can create tension in the workplace. You can use rewards to motivate your employees to pick up an extra shift but only if you’re consistent with your approach. Create a system for filling open shifts that treats everyone equally.
Sharing Staffing Needs Well in Advance
You don’t want to find out at the last minute whether or not a shift has been filled. It's important to have a system in place for filling shifts and communicating with your staff. We know many schedulers spend hours texting and calling staff to fill holes, but with the help of a scheduling software system like NurseGrid's, you can cut the amount of time you spend filling shifts and not have to stress that you may end up understaffed.
Balancing all these needs and demands can be grueling. But you can take some of the pressure off yourself by using smart scheduling software that helps you monitor the situation in real-time. Updating information is a breeze as you establish a consistent approach to open shift scheduling.