Staffing Needs and Scheduling Policies
The manager has both a financial and an ethical duty to plan adequate staffing to meet patient care needs, staff and the organization.
Staff need to have creative methods of staffing and scheduling to avoid understaffing and overstaffing due to patient census and acuity fluctuate.
Staffing and scheduling policies should not violate labor laws, state or national laws, or union contracts.
Mandatory overtime should be a last resort, not standard operating procedure because an organization does not have enough staff.
Having a mix of professional nurses improves patient outcomes and decreases adverse incidents.
Individuals who have staffing responsibilities must remain aware of mandatory staffing ratios and comply with such mandates.
Managers need to attempt to have a diverse staff who will meet the cultural and language needs of the patient population.
Fair and equal staffing, scheduling policies and procedures must be written and communicated to all staff members.
Current staffing policies need to be examined periodically to determine if they still meet the needs of the staff and the organization or if change is needed.
“Key concepts that are important to take away from this chapter”
Responsibilities of the Scheduling Manager
1. Managers must be certain that adequate number of staff and an appropriate mix of staff are available to complete the unit needs and the organizational goals.
2. Staffing patterns and scheduling policies must be administered fairly as well as economically
a. Fiscal responsibility
i. Due to increased federal and state budget debt, health-care organizations are pressured to reduce costs
ii. When patient acuity rises managers must increase staffing and when acuity is low the staffing needs to be decreased but also remain within the budget
iii. Manager needs to calculate daily staffing needs using formulas and instructions
3. Constant reevaluation of the staffing philosophy, scheduling and staffing policies and procedures
4. Managers must understand the unique cultural and language needs of their patients and try to meet these needs with an appropriately diverse staff
5. The manager needs to be certain that scheduling policies are not violating state and national labor laws, organizational policies, or union contracts.