Managing Nurse Staffing in Uncertain Times

Jon Forknell, vice president and general manager, Atlas Business Solutions, Inc.

COVID-19 is impacting long-term care and assisted living facilities in unprecedented ways, placing healthcare workers under extraordinary stress. Nurses must work long hours treating coronavirus patients while putting themselves and their families at risk of infection.

Nurse managers understand that maintaining appropriate staffing levels is critical to both the well-being of their nurses and the quality of patient care. However, ensuring proper coverage for every shift is more difficult than ever as absenteeism rises due to illness, childcare issues, and school closures.

Many healthcare administrators have discovered a solution to that challenge and others: staff scheduling software. In addition to streamlining the scheduling process, these tools offer a number of advantages to address fluctuating staffing requirements.

Managers can immediately communicate with staff to fill open shifts and meet demands for additional support more quickly. Staff scheduling systems can also deliver notifications through multiple communication channels, such as emails and text alerts, to ensure everyone receives information in a timely manner.

In times of crisis, it’s imperative to have the right people in place precisely where and when they are needed. Some scheduling software systems support that by tracking staff attributes, such as skills, certifications and training. Managers can quickly identify and notify a select group of staff members with ideal qualifications to address each situation.

Scheduling software also frees managers from the burden of manual staffing calculations, giving them more time to focus on core responsibilities. That advantage is particularly important when resources are already strained.

Some systems can even be customized to perform staffing calculations according to each facility’s unique criteria. This feature enables managers to easily determine whether scheduled staffing levels are too low or high and adjust them to meet fluctuating personnel requirements. In turn, facilities can better manage their overtime costs – and overall budgets.

Scheduling challenges related to COVID-19 create additional headaches for nurse managers who are already working under tremendous stress. The right scheduling software system can give them the peace of mind of knowing every nurse has up-to-date schedule information – and every shift is properly staffed.

Learn how ScheduleAnywhere software helps senior living facilities streamline staff scheduling, ease managerial burdens and control costs – particularly during uncertain times like these.

Topics: Administration , Departments , Featured Articles , Staffing