South Florida Hospital News
Monday August 19, 2019
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November 2007 - Volume 4 - Issue 5

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New Program Helps Nurse Scheduling

Nurse staffing is critical not only to provide the best possible patient care, but also to ensure that that care is provided as efficiently as possible.

To help streamline the staffing process, Martin Memorial Health Systems turned to a Web-based scheduling program called Kronos Workforce Scheduler. The program will provide scheduling advantages to nurses and nurse managers, while helping to reduce costs as well.

"We’ve been looking at different products for awhile," said Beth Eaton, director of special projects and process improvement. "This product interfaces seamlessly with our timekeeping program. That will make it more efficient for scheduling, timekeeping and payroll."

Starting in December, nurses, primary care technicians and health unit coordinators in four pilot units will be able to view what shifts are open and set their schedules from any computer with Internet access. At the same time, managers can track which nurses are scheduled to work and which nurses have the appropriate skills and training to be able to move to different units and function efficiently.

Each Associate has a profile entered into the computer containing information that includes their skills, training, shift preferential, availability and which units on which they can work. That information can be utilized by managers to ensure each unit is appropriately staffed.

The program also tracks the hospital’s census four times a day – at noon and midnight, as well as 3:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. That allows managers to adjust their staffing needs accordingly, floating nurses from a unit that may not have many patients to another unit that has a higher patient population.

The program will also help reduce costs by allowing managers to more accurately track overtime. That cost savings alone will likely pay for the expense of implementing the system within the first year, Eaton said.

Martin Memorial will start moving from a four-week scheduling process to a six-week schedule starting in November, then begin the process of self-scheduling through Kronos in December for the pilot units. Eventually, the system will spread throughout the health system’s two hospitals and will incorporate other departments such as diagnostic imaging.

"This will be very beneficial for everyone involved," Eaton said.

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