It is clear at this point that the electronic recordkeeping within healthcare organizations is here to stay, and leaders and staff are adjusting to the benefits and challenges of computer-based systems. New system implementation is typically established by senior leaders and followed by staff, but in the digital age, staff opinion and buy-in have become increasingly important. We are seeing an influx of technically-savvy millennial talent entering the nursing profession and these employees are particularly adept at evaluating and learning innovative technology. Regardless, nurses and nurse leaders are still left wondering:
Nurses – Why aren’t we involved in the decision-making process for new systems?
Nurse Leaders – How can listening to staff, and acting on their feedback affect morale, productivity, and patient-outcomes?
A case study in evaluating and purchasing an electronic staff scheduling solution.
The anecdote below details how the executive team at ValleyHealth, led by Anne Whiteside, the VP and Chief Nursing Officer, went through the journey of evaluating and purchasing a staff scheduling solution – based on guidance and input from the clinical staff.
In healthcare, it’s always refreshing to hear stories where executive leadership teams really listen to the clinical staff (nothing against executive leadership of course)! I hear so often that many nurses and caregivers feel that their opinion doesn’t matter and that they’re not appreciated – I must admit, I’ve felt that way at times in my career as a nurse.
There are many instances in our everyday work life when nurses find solutions that will benefit both the nursing/clinical staff and the hospital organization. One such instance is when nursing at ValleyHealth asked for a better staff scheduling solution – and leadership listened! After much due diligence, deliberation, and many software demonstrations, ShiftWizard came out as the best-fit scheduling, workforce optimization, and communication system.
Why ValleyHealth chose ShiftWizard.
There were many reasons why the nurses at ValleyHealth requested a better solution—autonomy, self-governance, better work-life balance, increased exposure to open shifts in other departments, increased communication between staff and management, etc.
Staff scheduling solutions, if developed properly, benefit both the unit managers and the staff by giving staff the ability to easily self-schedule. ShiftWizard found that departments leveraging self-scheduling saw a 7% increase in staff retention, which can equate to hundreds of thousands of dollars of added value to the hospital. Furthermore, self-scheduling ultimately leads to a sense of autonomy and enhances work-life balance for the employee. It also assists managers in preparing their staffing schedules, with minimal effort and frustration. A recent analysis of ShiftWizard’s 2017 data revealed that 5.1 million shifts were scheduled within ShiftWizard, and 80% of those shifts were self-scheduled – dramatically decreasing the burden on the manager.
A well thought-out, and developed staff scheduling solution, such as ShiftWizard, provides managers with many intuitive tools, such as the ability to effortlessly, automatically, broadcast unfilled shifts that would’ve otherwise not been available to those who are more than qualified, and/or willing to help out. Additionally, with ShiftWizard’s Float Pool module, those open shifts can easily be filled and managed by the organization’s supplemental staff, thus decreasing the dependency on expensive agency and travel nurses. Did I mention that ShiftWizard was developed by nurses, specifically for healthcare? We know healthcare staffing workflow, and we have the experience to back it!
System implementations can be a party, not a painful process!
Back to ValleyHealth’s decision to listen to their staff! Staff feel validated when making suggestions that are taken seriously and eventually put into effect. Jacob Young, the assigned Project Manager at ValleyHealth, mentioned to the ShiftWizard team that a “day of celebration” had been planned. Let me explain the experience that the ShiftWizard team encountered for the post go-live celebration at ValleyHealth.
Myself, and Lauren Mitcheltree (ShiftWizard’s Senior Manager of Implementation) arrived on-site at ValleyHealth, and met with the leadership team, consisting of Anne Whiteside, CNO, Robert Amos, CFO, James Sherwood, VP of Operations, and Skip Philips, SVP of Valley Health & President of the Winchester Medical System. Here’s where it gets interesting – prior to the celebration, Anne dared Jacob to dress in a “wizard” costume. With what appeared to be a fair amount of trepidation, Jacob called Anne’s bluff, and donned his special, tailored, “wizard” suit, which included a wizard’s hat, beautifully adorned with stars!
After many laughs at Jacob’s expense, we began our journey with 500 purple and green cupcakes, led by the leadership team! We made a point of visiting every nursing department at Winchester that had gone live with ShiftWizard, and Jacob was even gracious enough to put on the “wizard” suit later that evening, making another round of the entire hospital for the night shift!
Proactive and thoughtful leadership makes a world of difference.
During our journey, feedback was encouraged by leadership from those utilizing ShiftWizard. It was very rewarding to hear all of the positive comments that were received, but from the perspective of a nurse, it was even more rewarding to see the leadership team so involved, soliciting feedback from the staff. It was quite apparent that the staff really appreciated the effort that the leadership team had put forth to ensure the staff was happy with the decision and satisfied with the solution. We spoke to all levels of staff, including the end-users, charge nurses, managers and directors, who all expressed their contentment with ShiftWizard.
Also, while visiting the various departments, we noticed that the ICU’s had initiated their own celebration by providing Snicker’s bars in jars at the nurse’s stations, which were labeled, “Let’s have a Snicker’s bar because we completed or first schedule in ShiftWizard! Great JOB!”
A happy and engaged “front line” benefits the entire organization.
In the end, it’s important for those on the “front lines” to feel that their ideas are validated and that their opinion matters. It’s even more rewarding to the staff when those ideas are turned into reality! Changing to a “new way of doing things” and implementing a new software solution is never easy, but this story proves that when you have a leadership team that really cares, is willing to listen to their staff, and goes above and beyond the call of duty, the implementation of a new solution is much less painful – and everyone comes out a winner! These ideas, coming from those truly affected by the outcomes, become benchmarks by which other changes can be made. It shows the willingness of leadership at an organization, such as Valley Health, to make changes that benefit everyone.