Scheduling models for an inpatient unit

Topic: scheduling models for an inpatient unit

Order Instructions: One of the inpatient nursing units in Regional Hospital Center anticipates difficulty in meeting its staffing needs in the next several months. The current scheduling is cyclical, on a 8/40 pattern, with little flexibility. You are assigned to help the nurse manager of this unit. She asks you for your input on whether some challenges might be alleviated by changing the staff scheduling model. Based on your preliminary assessment, she will decide if she should do further formal analysis.

You learn the following facts about this unit, which may or may not pertain to the issue at hand:

This is a 30-bed nursing unit that cares for medical and surgical patients. Patient volume and acuity can change within +/- 20% on any given day.

The average daily patient census is 25 patients seen daily, with an average stay of 4’6 days. The daily census is usually based on the number of patients counted while in bed at midnight. This includes an average of 8 patients who are admitted and/or discharged or are transferred in or out of the unit on a daily basis.
The unit currently has 27 RNs, 10 other patient-support staff (LPNs, aides), 5 non-patient-support staff, and 1 manager. There are two vacancies for RNs that are filled by agency staff at a premium cost of 250% of the current staff’s average pay level. Upper management has mandated reduction in use of agency staff wherever possible.
A new information system (electronic nursing documentation system) is planned for implementation within the next few weeks. Current staff members will require 6’8 hours of uninterrupted training on the new system.

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