You know how a nurse's favorite pair of shoes can make the day a lot easier, or take it to a new level of "bad day?" Staying on your feet at all times isn't easy to begin with, but without the right pair of shoes to get through the shift, every step feels endless — and so does the day.
Nursing shoes are a tool for the job. And they need to be great in order to help. When they fit badly, that's at the forefront of a nurse's mind, distracting them. When they fit properly, operating within the space of the clinic or hospital is smooth and painless.
Nurse scheduling software works the same way.
When you can build a schedule and it goes smoothly, you hardly notice it. You can add new staff, swap shifts, adjust for vacation requests, all without missing a beat.
But when your scheduling software isn’t doing its job, it quickly becomes all you can think about. You're on your toes. Your constantly reacting to pain.
Worse, it becomes all anyone can think of, because the schedule affects your whole department. And if you build the schedule, you wind up on the receiving end of all those complaints.
Nurse scheduling software should be a perfect fit.
It should be able to grow with you and change when you need it to — without anyone within the department needing to call IT for technical support. It should be able to provide the information you’re looking for without a lot of digging, and should help you notify everyone of changes quickly.
Ask yourself …
- Does your nurse scheduling system allow you to add new staff easily?
- Can you make changes to your schedules without calling the company or your IT team for technical support?
- Can you schedule even a large and complicated nursing department quickly?
- Do you always believe the schedules are fair and transparent?
Nurse scheduling software should never give you blisters.
That means it should never make things worse. So, for instance, if it fails to warn you about a short-staffing situation, or if it allows an inappropriately certified nurse to be assigned to a case, then you’ve got problems. Like shoes, not everything labeled “nurse scheduling software” is the same quality — and this is definitely the time to invest in quality.
Ask yourself …
- Has your current nurse scheduling system ever resulted in mistaken assignments?
- Have scheduling errors ever caused you to be short-staffed?
- Do you have to check and double-check all your schedules before you trust them?
Nurse scheduling software should look good.
Now, no one expects nursing shoes to be as sleek and snazzy as dancing shoes — but they shouldn’t be the joke of the department, either. You want your scheduling software to be the same. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it does have to look nice enough that it's presentable. You need software that outputs easy-to-read reports, whether they are printed out, read on a laptop, or viewed on a smartphone. Your scheduling software should be adaptable to all those environments.
Ask yourself …
- Can you create reports that look good in all viewing environments, from desktop to mobile?
- Are you able to easily build all the reports that you need?
- Are you able to instantly email your reports to everyone on your team?
Sometimes the best tools are the ones you don’t even think about.
As with shoes, if you’re thinking about your scheduling software, the odds are it’s because it’s not working for you the way you need it to. Maybe it's too cramped with data, or difficult to use, causing you to walk around with pains you definitely don't need.
So, the next time you are building a nurse schedule, think about your nurses' shoes — and make sure your expectations for comfort and functionality are just as high as theirs are.