Staffing issues can be a major concern in hospitals. Although making some changes proactively can reduce the incidence of problems, some concerns may not be noticed unless you make a point to find out what is not working and be receptive of implementing changes.
Utilize Better Scheduling
Many hospitals continue to use paper scheduling or computerized scheduling systems that are not an effective way to manage employees. Choosing a better, computerized scheduling system can take much of the headache out of work schedules. Some of the features you should consider when choosing a scheduling system is wide-spread access. Not only should employees be able to check or change their work schedule at the hospital, but the system should be accessible from home and mobile devices. Often, scheduling software is integrated into employee portals for maximum versatility. Shift swapping is another ideal feature in scheduling software. When employees need a day off, it should be easy for them to see if there is another employee who can take their shift. For hospitals who often have employees in the labor pool, those employees may routinely check available shifts, even at the last minute.
Invest More Resources Into NPs And PAs
Nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) are medical professionals that are often underutilized by hospitals. One of the major benefits of investing more resources into hiring and retaining NPs and PAs is they have more versatility. In many hospitals, the emergency rooms are filled with ambulatory patients who may not have significant emergencies. Both NPs and PAs can handle these non-emergency situations, which will free other medical professionals to handle more severe cases. Additionally, the time to treat non-emergency cases is reduced while maintaining the quality of care because there is not a room full of patients waiting for hours to see a handful of doctors. NPs and PAs also work well for the needs of admitted patients, especially if they have prior training in a specialty of medicine. For example, some PA programs have specializations in emergency and neurocritical medicine.
Integrate Constructive Criticism
Employees of the hospital should have the opportunity to express concerns with staffing issues without the fear of retribution. Since each hospital will have its own unique issues, you cannot always anticipate what will work for every environment. You may want to have monthly staff meetings where employees can express their concerns and make suggestions for change. Additionally, you should have an anonymous platform available, such as a suggestion box or online survey, where employees can feel comfortable expressing their concerns. Some issues you may notice are overworked employees, ineffective shift-change protocols, or employees in a supervisory position who create a poor work environment.
Addressing staffing issues before they create a poor work environment or compromise patient care is critical for a hospital to run smoothly. For more information and help with your situation, contact a hospital staffing agency, such as SOS Healthcare Staffing.