For some nurse managers, shift scheduling incites more staff drama than almost any other activity on the unit. How many times a week does a nurse march into your office to complain she “always” gets assigned to the “worst” shifts? What about the nurse who whines that he can “never” get anyone to cover his shift when he needs time off?
And let’s not even get started about signing up for call. If your facility still uses an old-fashioned sign-up sheet taped to the break room cabinets, you’re probably familiar with the uproar that emanates from the second and third shift nurses who resent the fact their daytime counterparts always get the first crack at signing up for call shifts.
Disempowerment as the root of departmental drama
We should be quick to point out, however, it’s not scheduling per se that can stir up drama in the department. After all, nurses want to work. Instead, schedule discontent usually is driven by feelings of disempowerment.
Disempowerment can arise when nurses feel unable to exert even a smidgen of control over their work schedule. Juggling a 10- or 12-hour shift with home and family responsibilities isn’t easy. It’s no wonder, then, that a nurse who is unilaterally assigned a shift that falls on the weekend of a major soccer trip for her kids, for example, might feel like grumbling. Ditto for those nurses who feel disenfranchised when it comes to signing up for holiday coverage or call shifts because they weren’t immediately on the unit when the schedule was posted.
Use self-scheduling to empower your nurses
Electronic self-scheduling offers the best option for easing feelings of nurse disenfranchisement. What better way to empower your nurses than to let them choose the shifts that best fit their lifestyle?
And if you think self-scheduling might be nightmarish for you as a nurse manager, you’ll be relieved to know the opposite is true. ShiftWizard software makes self-scheduling painless. In fact, nurses overwhelmingly embrace this technology when their facility introduces it.
Self-scheduling empowers nurses across the enterprise by letting them see what shifts are available in their department and then allowing them to choose what hours to work for the coming period. Not only will your nurses feel more satisfied with their work life, but scheduling software can help your department retain staff and save money, as well.
Promote fairness by publishing the call sheet electronically
You can include holidays, call shifts and other special events in your ShiftWizard calendar, too. By publishing these dates to everyone at the same time via the ShiftWizard software, you promote fairness in the sign-up process. Every nurse will have an equal opportunity to choose a call shift – or cover a holiday – with the click of a button using any device, including her phone. Even if a nurse is out grocery shopping when the call schedule gets published, she can take a moment to choose her shift and then go on about her day.
Enjoy drama-free scheduling
Nurse self-scheduling, including signing up for call, holidays and other special events, offers your staff great flexibility to customize their work hours to suit their life at the moment. And it offers nurse managers many benefits, too. Easily review the staffing matrix with a few clicks to ensure you have full coverage. Reduce overtime expenses by receiving alerts whenever a nurse has over-scheduled herself, and then incentivize that shift so an under-scheduled nurse might be more interested in picking it up.
Nurse scheduling doesn’t have to involve a lot of departmental drama. By empowering your nurses with ShiftWizard’s self-scheduling options and promoting fairer call sign-up using the software’s messaging features, you can eliminate staff grumbling and enjoy a happier, more productive unit.