The Nurse Scheduling Crisis


America’s aging population is increasing at alarming rates. As we are currently in a physician shortage, it is only a matter of time before there won’t be enough RNs available to keep up with the increasing demand. Nurses make up the largest segment in the healthcare sector, according to the American Nursing Association, and they are about to be stretched thin. Now is the time for solutions, especially those that make a nurse’s job easier and effective. The solution to effectiveness may be simpler than you think. But, what’s the solution?

The Problem with Nurse Scheduling

The quality of care, patient satisfaction, nurse burnout, and nurse morale are all in one way or another related to the effectiveness of nurse scheduling. Avantas, an AMN Healthcare Company, released a survey report that reveals that US nurse managers are not using nurse scheduling to its full potential, thus unraveling the previously listed issues.

According to nurse managers from the survey agreed that nurse scheduling and staffing issues negatively affect nurse morale. In fact, almost 90% said that their nurses feel unappreciated. And due to short staffing, nurses on duty feel they are unable to provide the highest level care. Which sometimes leads them to fear that they are putting their licenses at risk.

So, why are so many nurse managers struggling with nurse scheduling? Avantas’ survey revealed the surprising fact that a large number of nurse managers, one in four to be exact, use paper-based scheduling systems or no scheduling tools at all. A whopping 80% confessed they were unaware of scheduling and staffing software solutions. However, 43% of nurse managers with access to software solutions still used manual scheduling tools.

Surveyed nurse managers seem to agree that understaffing, lack of specialty/experienced nurses, and last-minute schedule changes are their most common issues with nurse scheduling. Registered nurses, nurse and finance managers seemed to all agree that understaffing is the greatest issue that they face. More specifically, meeting nurse-to-patient ratios requirements.

Software Solutions

All of the issues nurse managers confessed to having in the survey are usually temporarily fixed with more hires, agency staffing, overtime, etc. Yet they can easily be solved with the application of scheduling and staffing software. And in the looming issue of the nurse shortage, they offer predictive analytics, which accurately predicts patient demand.

Healthcare facilities that adopted software solutions reported that their staffing needs 30 days out are predicted with 97% accuracy. And those pesky open shifts are not so pesky anymore because 75% of them are often filled two weeks in advance. They are also happy to report that RN staff satisfaction has increased and overall labor spending has decreased to 4-7%.

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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