April 15, 2016

Using Nurse Scheduling Software to Schedule Your Nurse Staff More Effectively


There’s no denying that managing a staff made up of hourly employees is an enormous challenge. But managing a staff of nurses is especially hard. Why? Because unlike most other industries that run on hourly employees, healthcare institutions need to have nurses scheduled for 24/7 coverage.

Not being able to schedule nurses effectively not only loses healthcare institutions tons of money each year, it’s also the biggest reason why the nurse retention rate is so low. Bad scheduling results in low employee morale and frustration.

Why entrust such a complex process to pen & paper schedules or sloppy Excel spreadsheets when there’s a better way? Here’s why:

Human Error is a Big Problem in Staff Scheduling

Humans are prone to making errors, especially when having to schedule employees to work around the clock. Humanity’s smart scheduling options make it impossible for you to schedule conflicting shifts or lose track of empty shifts.

Overtime is a Big Problem in Nursing

Unnecessary overtime is one of the biggest problems in the nursing industry. It loses your healthcare institution money and it results in nurses being overworked and exhausted. Humanity gives you a better understanding of your schedule that lets you distribute work shifts more evenly across the board to limit overtime.

Nurse Scheduling is Complex

Scheduling nurses is complex work. There are so many variations involved. Whether you’re scheduling 8, 10 or 12-hour shifts, rotation work shifts, recurring shifts, creating open shifts for on-call “floaters,” Humanity gives you endless options to customize your scheduling process to fit your specific needs.

How Nurse Scheduling Software Helps You Manage Your Nursing Staff Better

How can you improve communication among your nursing staff, reduce your turnover rates and save time and money all at once? Start using Humanity – a better way to schedule and manage your nurses.

Save Time on Scheduling

According to the many hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare institutions that have switched over to Humanity, they have been able to drastically decrease the time it takes for them to schedule their staff – some have even cut their schedule time by 80%. Here’s how they’re doing it:

Incredible Customization Options

From hospital to hospital, nursing home to nursing home, every healthcare institution has its own set of pain points when it comes to scheduling nurses. Humanity is incredibly easy to personalize in order to meet just about any obstacle you throw at it.

For example, in order to keep their nurses from burning out, many healthcare facilities have rules that say that once a nurse works a 12-hour shift, he or she should not have another shift scheduled within the next 24. With Humanity, you can set rules like that one – and any other rule you can think of – to make sure that your nurses aren’t being overworked. This also helps you to cut down on unnecessary overtime.

Do you have “floaters” who are available to fill in empty shifts whenever needed? Humanity allows you to create empty shifts, notify the staff members who are designated to work them, and then let the nurses independently request to work empty shifts.

Do you need to always make sure when filling absences that a nurse who is qualified to take the shift is being scheduled to work? Humanity allows you to input skills, such as certifications, for every nurse on staff, so you can easily sort them by certifications and other important skills to make sure that the right people are always working the right shifts.

There’s many ways in which the malleable nature of Humanity helps schedulers get the job done better when putting together cohesive work schedules for their nurses. Humanity even gives you the ability to manage more than one healthcare location from one account.

Smart Scheduling – Automation and Analytics

Another great thing about Humanity is that it gives schedulers the tools they need to not only effectively schedule their nursing staff, but to improve and optimize the process over time. One of the biggest problems when it comes to scheduling nurses is unwarranted overtime. Humanity makes it incredibly easy to avoid scheduling overtime for your nursing staff when it isn’t absolutely imperative.

Every time you add a new shift to the schedule of one of your nurses, the time they are working for that week is calculated and then displayed next to that nurse’s name right in the application. If you have set a limit on the number of hours your nurses can work every week, the employee’s number of shifts will turn red to immediately let you know that you have scheduled overtime for them. You can then reevaluate your schedule and see if there’s a way to alter it in order to reduce the amount of overtime you are scheduling for your staff.

The other big problem with scheduling nurses is the sheer complexity that comes with having to create 24/7 coverage. It can be a dizzying process that is very much prone to human error. Humanity will recognize any shift conflicts that you may have inadvertently created and the application will then make you aware of those issues and show you how to fix them. The same goes for empty shifts. With Humanity, you’ll never be over or understaffed again.

Humanity also gives you invaluable reporting capabilities that allow you to dig deep into your scheduling data and analyze it in order to optimize the way you’re created your shifts. Not only are you able to see all of your scheduling and time and attendance data presented to you in real time, but you can also integrate other business software you might be using with Humanity to further expand the amount of data you have to work with when trying to optimize the way in which you schedule your nursing staff every week in the goal of not only making your schedules cleaner but also saving time and above all, money, in the process.

Improve Staff Morale

Being a nurse is a very stressful and difficult occupation, there’s no doubt about it. It’s no wonder that one out of five nurses leave their jobs within the first year alone. A lot of these retention problems in nursing have to do with low morale in the workplace. Nurses are not happy with their working situations often because they find their shift schedules to be too demanding and they constantly experience a lack of good communication between the nursing staff and management.

Better Communication

You already know how complex it is to schedule a nursing staff correctly. Now think about how difficult it is to inform everyone of their shifts – especially if they are constantly being altered. Humanity does all that work for you. As soon as you publish a new schedule, all of your nurses who are scheduled to work new shifts will receive notification via email and SMS informing them of their new shifts.

On top of that, they will also be informed every time the schedule is changed. You don’t have to worry about calling your staff every day to notify them of new changes. You don’t have to urge your staff to check the nurse spreadsheet every day to see if any changes have been made to the schedule. Every time you make a change that your nursing staff needs to know about, they will be notified immediately. Management can even set up notifications to send reminders to staff one hour and even 15 minutes before their shifts begin in order to make sure that everyone is ready to go when needed.

This helps both management and the nursing staff. Thanks to this high level of communication, nurses feel as if they are in the loop and are never in the dark. This significantly decreases the stress levels that they have to endure when trying to figure out when and with whom they are scheduled to work. It also helps management because it significantly decreases absences and tardiness. When your nurses know exactly when they need to work and when they receive timely reminders about their shifts, they no longer have any excuses for missing shifts or coming in late.

Greater Employee Independence

Another great way to improve staff morale is to make sure that your nurses are included in the scheduling process from start to finish. Humanity enables nurses to input their availability settings even before their first shifts are given to them. Nurses can tell management what times work best for them and during what times of the week or day they are not available. By getting this information in ahead of time, Humanity once again helps both management and staff.

One one side, nurses feel as if they have a say and appreciate the fact that they can tell management what their work preferences look like, and on the other side, management have this information ahead of time, which makes the scheduling process a lot easier for them as well.

Humanity also gives nurses the ability to request leave independently and even the ability to request shift trades between one another without having to involve the management at every step. For example, one nurses can request to swap shifts with another, and if the swap looks good to management, they can approve the shift trade with just one quick. Again, this gives nurses greater independence and managers less work to do.

A Recap of Nurse Scheduling Software Benefits:

Easy to Use

  • Simple enough
    that nurses and other hospital staff can handle scheduling too.
  • Keep better track
    of unauthorized absences and make sure your nurses aren’t late.
  • Fast, friendly, helpful support
    is available through chat or phone for your entire nursing staff.

Improves Morale

  • Enables nurses
    to check their schedules on any device, no matter where they are.
  • Track shift preferences
    so your nursing staff has a say when it comes to availability.
  • Send schedule reminders
    To all your nurses via both email and SMS to keep them informed.

Saves Time

  • Manage a variety of tasks
    from nurse scheduling to payroll, all with one, complete tool.
  • Create better, more accurate schedules
    in less time and with fewer errors while keeping your nurses happy.
  • Accommodate a variety of schedule types
    including compressed work week as well as rotating and recurring shifts.