In the world of inpatient nursing, there are times when core staff will not be able to fill all needs. It is at these times that contingency resources must be tapped into by posting open shifts. A tremendous amount of waste, in both time and dollars, has been tied to the process of filling open shifts. This is due to the reactive nature of the process stemming from a scheduling system that does not provide an accurate projection of volume and flexibility in business rules to design an automated program.
But filling open shifts does not need to be a frustrating process. The use of predictive analytics to forecast staffing needs sets the stage for an effective healthcare open shift program that rewards staff for picking up shifts several weeks in advance. Incorporating modern modeling techniques and machine learning methodologies to forecast staffing needs, predictive analytics clearly identifies predicted demand versus scheduled staff.
An effective open shift management program will include these three features:
1. It promotes proactive self-scheduling
The flexibility offered by an automated healthcare open shift program empowers staff to pick up additional shifts that fit their lifestyle. It gives them control over their schedule, and the ability to build their schedule at a convenient time and place. Whether someone is motivated by money or convenience, an effective open shift program appeals to both. If an organization chooses to offer monetary incentives, staff members can maximize their income by committing to shifts early, working a flexible schedule and agreeing to work in multiple units.
2. It creates significant time savings for managers
With an open shift management program powered by predictive analytics, open shifts are automatically posted according to predicted patient demand. It gives managers the ability to monitor incentives and shift selections. An automated open shift program also manages commitments and rules around open shifts. This process delivers meaningful time back to managers to focus on patient care initiatives and staff development.
3. It offers a cost-efficient solution
If an organization elects to use incentives, those incentives peak 30 days before the shift and gradually decline as need decreases. This eliminates the last-minute chaos caused by staff holding out to pick up shifts until the day of in hopes of a higher wage rate. If an organization does not tie incentives to open shifts, convenience is still a strong motivator for staff to pick up shifts. Staff members are more motivated to commit to shifts early before it is picked up by someone else. By promoting the behavior you want, more shifts are picked up sooner, confirming staffing plans further in advance.
Whether an organization chooses to incentivize open shifts or not, implementing an open shift program that automatically posts vacancies based on predicted demand beginning a month in advance of a shift solidifies staffing plans sooner. This methodology results in 75 percent of open shift hours being picked up more than two weeks ahead of the shift, increasing certainty with staffing.