One of the most valuable assets to physicians and nurses in a healthcare organization is time, so their work schedules need to be productive for them and the patients without inducing stress.
Healthcare can take a cue from the trend arising in other industries--several national businesses have recently made changes to their scheduling policies, usually based on concerns from employees whose sporadic work schedules became too difficult to handle.
The Gap, Inc. will soon end the practice of on-call scheduling, for example. The announcement last week means that employees of the national retailer will be notified 10-14 days in advance whether or not they’re working a shift.
This isn’t only a retail problem, though.
Healthcare providers know these struggles well--it’s difficult to maintain a work-life balance in the hectic world of medicine, especially when patient lives may be on the line and only one scheduler is responsible for organizing shifts for hundreds of physicians and nurses.
In the interest of improving the work-life balance, especially for employees with families, organizations should be willing to make an effort to schedule better. An unpredictable work schedule may not only affect productivity while on the clock; the resulting stress can also negatively impact time with family and friends.
An organization that acknowledges and addresses the need to improve this balance will reap the benefits because employees will be more content at work and in their personal lives, increasing motivation and mental presence.
So, how can a healthcare organization take initiative and make that seemingly elusive balance more attainable for its providers?
A scheduling solution can help in creating an efficient, organized schedule that saves the scheduler valuable time and is easily accessible for providers.
If providers know well ahead of time when they’re expected to work a shift, they can devote their valuable physical and mental energies to their patients, making them the top priority. A quality schedule also takes the risk of burnout into consideration, so providers won’t be overwhelmed by too many consecutive shifts and possibly make a clinical error as a result.
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By establishing rules for each provider on the schedule with Intrigma’s software, for example, any scheduling conflicts will be flagged before they make it into the finished schedule. Shifts that need to be covered will be, while ensuring that providers won’t be left overworked and patients will always have alert, focused physicians and nurses ready to attend to their health.
A schedule that puts the staff first, no matter what the industry, means increased productivity and reduced stress for everyone involved.