Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and hospitals need vetted, credentialed nurses and aides and fully scheduled shifts. Many states regulate the number of staff necessary based on the census, so having all shifts filled is imperative. Covid-19 has created additional risks and challenges, increasing the obstacles operations management and shift schedulers face.

Software innovations in staffing and scheduling applications, along with best practices, can help facilities overcome issues with not having enough staff to fill a shift.

Best Practices to Fill Shifts

Every organization keeps operational data. This information can be used by scheduling applications to go beyond matching to optimizing the online experience for schedulers and nursing staff. Typically, the choices that nurses make are tracked within these applications. These choices help the staffing agency and heath care facility understand the decisions that nurses make and help to maximize shift scheduling. These valuable insights help agencies to serve facilities better.

Another example of how to fill more shifts is to make the shift longer. When posting shifts to a scheduling app, like ShiftMed, nurses are 28% more likely to claim a 12-hour LPN shift than an 8-hour LPN shift.

Post the available shifts early. You will be more than twice as likely to fill a shift if you post it and make it available four or more days in advance versus two days in advance.

Minimize shift cancelations. If your facility often cancels shifts, then your ability to fill the schedule with workers for a shift will drop. When nurses and aides commit to working a shift and get canceled at the last minute, they are very frustrated. The data shows that when facilities cancel over 30% of the shifts they post, healthcare professionals choose to work at other facilities. Consider that many nursing staff need to schedule childcare when they work, shift cancelations complicate their busy life.

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Specialized Staffing and Scheduling Apps

Providing nursing staff is a complicated logistics function. Software developers build algorithms to match openings with qualified staff. This software can fix logistics challenge with unique features, functionality, and predictive analytics to deliver the right healthcare professional to you at the right time. These types of solutions increase efficiencies in staffing, lower costs, and empower nurses and aides to find and accept the shift they want to work.

Eighty percent of adults in the United States have a smartphone. The nursing staff is no exception. All of us rely on software applications designed for consumers, and we expect them to be easy to use. The customer experience (CX), user interface (UI), and simplicity are design factors of software applications. Many of these scheduling solutions come as a mobile app, sending alerts and communications to all parties, from nurses and caregivers to facilities. The easy-to-use user environment helps nursing job candidates and healthcare facility schedulers interact with consumer-like friendly software. The top-notch customer experience increases engagement, interactions, and loyalty.

Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and rehab centers need to fill open shifts with exemplary nursing staff. These businesses also need to meet target rations, such as Nursing Hours Per Patient Day (HPPD), a standard metric of quality and quantity of care for a skilled nursing facility or hospital. Scheduling apps can help meet these metrics.

Healthcare professional users are trying to do the work they love and provide care for others. They use scheduling apps to schedule their work shifts. They select work that gives them personal flexibility and income. For schedulers and facility management, recruiting nursing staff gets more competitive and complicated, but better tools make the job faster and more effective.

Some of these staffing tools offer extra features like guaranteeing the nursing shift to ensure nurses get the income, even if the shift is cancelled. This not only means the nurses will get dollars in their pocket, but because of guaranteeing a nursing shift, the facility can fill shifts earlier because nurses prefer these shifts. Guaranteeing shifts also lower the price of filling shifts because facilities avoid paying shift bonuses or rate surges for those hard to fill shifts.

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