End the Nurse Call-In Hassle for a Happier New Year

End the Nurse Call-In Hassle for a Happier New Year

Shane Parker, RN
Co-founder and Chief Nursing Officer

Just when you get the unit’s work schedule humming, it happens: A nurse calls off at the most inopportune time. Or quits without notice. Stifling your emotions, you do what all good nurse managers do and deal with the task at hand, working the phone to find someone to fill in on short notice.

But who do you call? If you’re like many nurse supervisors, you keep a mental list of “go-to” people who always seem happy to cover on these occasions. It certainly reduces your hassle to know that you probably won’t have to spend a lot of time or effort finding an available nurse and convincing her to come in. On the other hand, your budget might not look so good at month’s end, when you discover the person you called in had already worked 36 hours that week and went into overtime status as soon as she set foot on the floor. And not only did you hear about that from your CNO, but you also had to listen to a couple of nurses who complained that you “never” call them in, so they “always” miss out on the opportunity to max out their shifts.

If you’re thinking there must be a better way to do this, you’re right. You can ease the pain of dealing with last-minute call-offs by automating the process.

Remove the Hassle Factor in Filling Open Shifts

How many individual phone calls do you have to make, on average, to fill an open shift in your department? What if you could fill those shifts with just a few clicks of the mouse instead of making any phone calls at all?

ShiftWizard scheduling software allows you to do just that. Simply open your manager dashboard and click the “Staff” link, and then click “Message Center.” Select “New Message,” and then use filters in the left pane to select the nurses to receive the shift offer.

Type a message in the box – “Hey, I need someone to cover tonight’s 7p shift. Please help!” – and click “Voice Call,” “Email” or “Text Message.” If you choose to make a voice call, ShiftWizard’s technology will convert your typed text to voice. Next, click one more button to send the message. Mission accomplished. Now you can turn your attention back to the other important tasks that occupy your day.

Nurse Call-Ins Don’t Have to Bust the Budget

But how can you be sure the nurses you’re contacting won’t immediately be on overtime if they accept the shift? Easy. Within the messaging pane, you can use filters to display only those nurses who meet certain criteria, such as:

  • Have not worked in the past 12 hours
  • Not scheduled to work within the next 12 hours
  • Have accrued fewer than 24 hours [or any value you choose to specify] in the current pay period

You even can choose to include qualified nurses who normally work in other departments. With three to four swift mouse clicks, you can populate a list that contains dozens of names for you to contact with the shift offer. And you can be certain none of them will require you to pay overtime.

A Fairer Process

Of course, the transaction of calling in a nurse has two distinct aspects: the manager making the request, and the staff nurse accepting the shift. ShiftWizard automates the staff RN side of the process, too.

As each nurse receives your automated phone call, for example, she will be presented with the opportunity to “press 1 to accept the shift” or “press 2 to decline.” Text message and email recipients also will be able to respond via the technology. You’ll be notified instantly when someone accepts the shift, and if another nurse subsequently tries to “press 1,” she’ll receive a message that the shift is no longer available.

This system makes the process much fairer than always calling your “go-to” nurses and eliminates any valid grumbling by nurses who would like to work a full 36 hours a week but often come up short.

Make the New Year Happier for Everyone

Automating your staffing using ShiftWizard scheduling software really is that easy. The simple-to-use interface relies on vivid graphics and gridded displays so you can glean all the information you need at a glance. Staff nurses love the ability to set their schedule or accept ad hoc shifts with a few clicks on their cell phones, no matter where they happen to be at the moment, and managers love the tools that make their life easier and allow them to meet budget goals. You can make the new year happier for everyone in your organization by scheduling a demo today.

Healthcare Staff Scheduling. Developed by Nurses for Nurses.

ShiftWizard makes nurse scheduling and communication easy, so you can focus on what really matters---improving patient outcomes.