Current Staffing Practices for Nursing Staff and Supportive Personnel
Outdated Scheduling Processes
Outdated scheduling processes have been found to be one of the leading contributing factors to inadequate nursing staff ratios. These outdated systems have led to several nursing-related issues such as: decreased job satisfaction, decreased patient satisfaction, poor patient outcomes, high nurse attrition rates, and increased healthcare-associated infection and injury. With an increased prevalence of these negative impacts on the nursing profession and patient care as a whole, nurse managers and struggling to find innovative ways to improve staffing on their units with little help from facility administration.
For example, healthcare facility administrators are typically well versed in the latest and greatest technological advances that can help drive patient care forward by streamlining processes for healthcare employees. Companies who develop these technologies frequently pitch their products to facility administrators, hoping to sell their products and services to them. They explain in great detail how their improved systems and cutting-edge technology will help in achieving positive outcomes.
The unfortunate reality is that healthcare facility administrators rarely provide their employees with the opportunity to review new products and/or services that could benefit them in their current role, thus driving up patient outcomes. Instead, administrators decide on what is best without the considerations or expertise of the nursing staff. With that being said, it is no surprise that 80 percent of nurse managers state that they are unaware of advanced scheduling technology (Becker’s Hospital review, 2016). Although predictive analytics can be used to forecast future patient demands and nursing staff needs, one in four nurse managers still uses paper-based scheduling tools and nearly the same proportion don't use any tools at all.
Additionally, many facilities still use an authoritative scheduling system, where the nurse manager is solely responsible for creating the schedules for the nursing staff. An alternative scheduling method that has been found to work much better in terms of adequate staffing and nursing staff job satisfaction is staff-directed scheduling. Instead of the manager filling in the schedule for the staff, the nursing staff will work with one another to fill the needs of the patient care area. This scheduling practice transfers the responsibility from the nurse manager to that of the nursing staff, while improving collaboration and camaraderie (Koning, 2018).