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Tame Holiday Scheduling Woes with ShiftWizard

Even under the best of circumstances, holiday staffing can turn ugly fast. One nurse just left your office after complaining about how she “always” has to work the holidays, while another one is just entering to complain she “never” gets to work those premium shifts. And then, on Christmas Eve, you get an eleventh-hour phone call from one of the night nurses saying she’s snowed in on the coast, her flight’s been canceled and she won’t be able to work, after all.


Next, the usual scenario plays out: you try to think of which nurses might be available to work on short notice, phone them and repeat the process until somebody says yes. If nobody wants to work? Well, then you might be stuck with a phone call to the agency as you glance with concern at your staffing budget.

Fortunately, you have other options. ShiftWizard can help you staff holiday shifts fairly so everyone who wants a turn gets one, and the software also lets you quickly and easily deal with last-minute call-offs.

Create a level playing field for holiday staffing

ShiftWizard can quell those “I always” or “I never” complaints by giving you the tools to implement an unbiased system for staffing holiday shifts. Simply create staff groupings within the software and then rotate which group gets first crack at the schedule each time.

For example, let’s say your unit has 18 dedicated nurses. You can divide these nurses into three groups of six, labeled A, B and C. Starting with the first time you use ShiftWizard, the schedule can open to Group A first, giving them an exclusive schedule view and choice of which shifts they want to cover – holiday or not. After a pre-set interval, Group B can access the schedule, and then Group C.

The next time the schedule opens, Group B will get “first dibs,” followed by Group C and then Group A. The following time, Group C gets the first choice of shifts. You get the idea.

When used consistently over the years, this inherently fair system should give every nurse an opportunity to work a holiday shift if she wants to. It’s hard to complain about that.

And if your hospital requires a seniority-based approach to these staffing situations, you can still employ the phased sign-up approach. Just create your staff groups based on the seniority requirements.

Cope with potentially budget-wrecking holiday call-offs

Naturally, any savvy nurse manager will maintain some budget cushion to deal with unexpected call-offs due to illness or travel delays or whatnot during the holiday season. But with ShiftWizard you can almost eliminate the need to anticipate end-of-year overtime or agency costs.

With the click of a few buttons, ShiftWizard can show you all the RNs qualified to work on your unit and which ones have available hours without going into overtime. With a couple more clicks, you can send a text-to-voice phone call to those nurses to ask them if they would like to pick up a shift. When they receive the call, they can, in turn, simply click a button on their end to accept or decline the shift.

And if nobody accepts the shift? You can use the enterprise view in ShiftWizard to look at staffing across the organization and float a qualified nurse from her shift on an overstaffed unit to your understaffed one. No need to call the agency and pay big fees to cover the shift.

De-stress your holidays

The holiday season can be stressful enough on a personal level without introducing additional stress at work. ShiftWizard can reduce your holiday stress by providing a fair way for your nurses to opt in or out of holiday shifts and for you to call in or float nurses to your department in the event of a last-minute staffing need – so you can spend your time enjoying the holiday season.


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.