There is no denying that being a nurse in America is one of the most challenging and stressful occupations today. All of the obligations that come with the profession can be taxing on an individual. Can healthcare employee scheduling software help?
Every day that a nurse goes into work, they are responsible for the well-being and safety of others. As if the amount of mental stress and physical demands a nurse has to endure isn’t challenging enough, job demands are further amplified by the fact that the majority of nurses all over the country are required to work long, often rotating shifts.
Any job would be challenging to do when entering the 12th hour of a shift, but for nurses, this is something that has become the rule rather than the exception.
The biggest issue is the lack of available nurses. The stress of the job, combined with the scarcity of qualified workers has created an unhealthy culture in the healthcare industry that has led to workers having to cover unpredictably long shifts with no solution in sight.
While it will take a lot more than good scheduling software to resolve all problems in the nursing industry, trying to create better and more efficient schedules is a good start to address some of the difficulties that nurses encounter daily.
Keeping nursing staff happy, safe, and satisfied should be a top priority for any healthcare manager looking to keep their best nurses. Here is how implementing a quality scheduling process can help.
Avoid Burnout With An Employee Scheduling Tool
Burnout is a serious concern for nurses all over the country. Approximately 40% of nurses are on the verge of experiencing burnout, and nearly 25% of nurses claim they expect to leave their jobs within a year.
Nurses are frequently scheduled according to the time between their shifts. When crafting nurse shifts, management looks at when their last shift ended and schedules the next shift accordingly. The problem with this method is that nurses rarely end their shifts when they’re supposed to and working overtime is a common and often expected occurrence.
The outcome of this type of scheduling results in nurses not having enough time between their shifts to recover properly. Proper recovery between shifts is not only detrimental to the employee, but also to their patients as well.
The unfortunate reality is that merely avoiding overtime is nearly an impossible goal. With the lack of nurses available, the healthcare industry has ushered in the need for mandatory overtime.
What management can do is try to make their scheduling process more accurate. By knowing exactly when nurses punch in or out for their shifts, they can schedule following shifts that give nurses ample time to recover mentally and physically for their next long shift.
Another vital factor or nurse scheduling is providing workers with a more balanced shift when it comes to rotating shifts and the times at which they are scheduled to work. Studies have shown that over 30% of nurses who frequently work night shifts or rotating shifts are prone to insomnia and sleepiness.
This is yet another form of burnout that can lead to performance and safety issues. Scheduling nurses to work overnight is unavoidable, but being able to have a clear overview of employee schedules can help you ensure that no particular nurse is getting the short end of the stick and working more night hours than others.
Achieve A Healthy Work-life Balance
Being that nurses often have to work irregular hours, it can take a real toll on their social lives and activities that take place outside of work, such as interacting with family or friends.
Being frequently unavailable for social events during the weekends or even on holidays can severely impact a worker’s ability to maintain a healthy social life outside of the workplace. On top of already being overworked, this lack of work-life balance is one of the main reasons why many nurses are unhappy and why the turnover rate in the healthcare industry is on the rise.
The turnover rate for nurses has continued to grow year after year. It is estimated that hospitals lose between 5 and 8 million dollars per year due to the turnover of nurses. Additionally, approximately 40% of nurses say that their heavy workload prevents them from achieving a healthy work-life balance. While there are no perfect solutions to these problems, one way to help nurses is by making sure that they have schedules weeks or months in advance so they can plan their non-work-related activities more efficiently. This can easily be done with the help of employee work schedule software.
Nurses frequently get their schedules less than two weeks in advance, which makes it challenging to make plans with any kind. Not to mention they are regularly asked to work overtime on short notice. This makes it a struggle to plan any activity outside of the workplace.
Hospitals that can create schedules several weeks or even a month in advance allow nurses to plan their personal lives better.
Provide Better Patient Care
Decades of research have shown that there is a legitimate connection between job satisfaction and a nurse’s ability to provide adequate care for their patients.
If you ask a nurse why they put up with long hours and everything else that makes the job challenging, most will likely tell you that it’s because they genuinely enjoy helping people, and they love the feeling they get when being able to improve a patient’s life.
Of course, being able to provide excellent patient care is often difficult for nurses because of a lack of proper sleep and organization, mandatory overtime, and all of the other factors that contribute to high turnover rates in the healthcare industry.
If management wants to help their nursing staff achieve job satisfaction, whenever possible, they should try to create schedules that facilitate the ability for nurses to provide regular care for the same patients.
This provides nurses with the ability to follow through on a patient’s care and establish a relationship. Not only is providing continuity excellent for nurses, but it is also much appreciated by patients as well who typically respond better to treatment when staff members are not changing every single day. Employee scheduling solutions can help to ensure these needs are met.
By investing in scheduling software, you can ensure that nurses receive an adequate amount of time to recover mentally and physically between their shifts, that they maintain a healthy work-life balance, and that they can experience all of the joys that made them fall in love with nursing in the first place.