Scheduling Nurses: ‘Just Scheduling’ Aims to End Favoritism
Jackie Larson is vice president of client services at Avantas. She is responsible for the executive oversight of its consulting and education branches, including project and client management, technical implementations, business intelligence and workforce analytics.
Have you ever wondered why another nurse is always called in for overtime (and incentive pay) instead of you? Or why a supervisor always seems to grant your co-worker's requests for time off while your requests are sometimes denied?
Most nurse managers do their best to avoid these kinds of situations, but sometimes favoritism is in the eye of the beholder. And even the appearance of preferential treatment can create tension in the workplace.
"Just scheduling" is a concept that grew out of a desire by nurse leaders to create a transparent process that prevents any appearance of favoritism.
Recently a client shared her thoughts about the concept with me. Inconsistent scheduling policies and practices throughout her multihospital organization had led some nurses to feel they were being treated unfairly. She said leaders believed the organization was "at risk in a lot of different ways" and could potentially face legal action.
Their solution was to implement an automated labor management system that incorporated consistent policies throughout the organization. Nurses now have online access to schedules and know that those policies are automatically followed when they seek additional open shifts or request other schedule changes online. She told me that Smart Square has created a "fair and just culture" for nursing by taking favoritism out of the scheduling equation.
I'm interested to know what you think. What kinds of scheduling challenges does your organization face? How could the concept of "just scheduling" be applied in your workplace?