Revolutionizing How You Schedule, Step by Step

Revolutionizing How You Schedule, Step by Step

While many industries – from retail to foodservice – are already using advanced technology to optimize workforce utilization and scheduling, most of the healthcare industry has lagged in adopting more advanced systems with nursing and rehab facilities, notably behind the rest of the sector. Most post-acute facilities are still working with outdated nurse scheduling systems like pen and paper or the digital equivalent: home-grown spreadsheet processes that fail to capture useful data much less provide valuable insights. Between the legislated staffing ratio mandates, a limited pool of available workers, and other unique scheduling challenges in the post-acute space, these organizations desperately need more user-friendly nurse staffing and scheduling tools to juggle all these requirements. In addition, they could also benefit from a technology that gathers vital data to support more advanced workforce management techniques.

Digitizing the scheduling process is a big undertaking, especially based on where many facilities are today, but ‘perfect’ should never be the enemy of ‘good.’ Instead of avoiding this endeavor altogether, facilities should focus first on adopting basic digital capabilities to get more efficient, and then begin to scale up to more complex, ‘nice to have’ capabilities when the time is right.

The following list describes the process of moving from basic but essential digitization to more advanced techniques. It can serve as a roadmap for organizations wanting to modernize their scheduling workflow:

  • Adopt a digital scheduling platform
  • Use platform to ensure safe and compliant staffing levels
  • Leverage data within the platform to improve cost management and efficiency:
    • Prioritize affordable staff over higher-cost resources (i.e., nurses going into overtime or from nursing agencies) when possible.
    • Schedule staff based on licensure (i.e., avoid scheduling higher-paid RN when an LPN can fill the same shift.)
    • Identify nurses with the competencies and training required for the specific demands of the shift.
  • Pull trends from data to increase staffing consistency and improve clinical performance:
    • Schedule limited pools so the same staff works with the same residents on the same floor, enabling greater retention of clinical knowledge and stronger resident-staff relationships.
  • Bring nurses into the scheduling equation to improve employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction:
    • Allow nursing professionals to build their own schedules and choose not to work when they need a break.
    • Enable nurse self-scheduling via crowdsourcing to reduce the burden on the scheduler.
    • Prevent nurse burnout or forced overtime (supporting cost-efficiencies and nurse satisfaction/wellbeing)

Revamping the scheduling function will take dedication, time, and effort – but the return on this work is huge. Though the process is complex, this checklist will help organizations tap into the many benefits of scheduling technology by starting wherever they are and taking it one step at a time.

Frustrated with antiquated staffing and scheduling? Welcome to the 21st century. Get in touch today, and our team will be happy to provide a hands-on demonstration for your facility. Get started today.

How Facilities Can Reduce Nurse Burnout

How Facilities Can Reduce Nurse Burnout

What Facilities Can Do To Reduce Nurse Burnout

Many facility managers and DONs have their hands full with their own day-to-day tasks and don’t always have the time to provide their Nurse and CNA staff with recognition programs and breaks. But when you factor in the effects nurse burnout can have on the performance of your facility, it’s clear that it’s just as important for a facility management team to be attentive to the ground-level work-life of their nursing staff. When communication between nursing staff and facility management gets cut off, nurses start to feel less cared for, less appreciated, and start to disengage from their work, causing a host of problems for the facility at large. 

Why should facilities address nurse burnout?

Nurse burnout can affect nurse facility finances and operations

Studies show that nurse burnout can negatively impact patient infection rates, patient satisfaction, and the overall quality of care found in healthcare facilities.

If a nurse shows up to work tired, disengaged, and unappreciated, they aren’t providing their highest quality of care. In healthcare, even the smallest of oversights can result in serious errors. Not only do these mistakes lower the quality of patient care, but they may cause legal and compliance-related problems.

In addition, patients and their families notice when a nurse is burned out, which leads to lower satisfaction with the facility. When nurses leave their jobs due to burnout, facilities have to recruit, hire, train, and orient new nurses. That costs a lot of money — not to mention what constant turnover does to staff morale. 

However, even if facilities recognize and understand the importance of caring for their nurses, doing so in an effective way may involve a considerable investment of time, resources, and money that some healthcare facilities can’t afford. If that’s the case for your facility, there are low-cost practices that address nurse burnout, too.

What can nursing facilities do to address nurse burnout?

Look out for signs of stress

Nurses often hide their stress when they come to work because they fear judgment or punitive action from management. So it’s not always easy to identify who’s experiencing nurse burnout and why. 

A common sign of burnout is a decrease in enthusiasm for the job. For example, if a nurse who usually is very social starts avoiding colleagues, or if a team player starts to withdraw from team activities, it’s likely a sign of burnout. 

Nursing facilities attuned to nurse burnout make it standard practice to check the pulse of their workplace to positively engage nurses. For example, a facility may find that a nurse missed shifts, left early, complains, or disagrees with co-workers more than normal. In this case, a punishment causes more problems than it solves. Instead, find ways to engage the nurse in a positive way. This helps them individually and sets an example for other nurses, which in turn fosters a culture of care.

Teach and implement self-care strategies

Another way to build a caring culture is to teach and promote self-care strategies. It’s helpful for nurses to learn how to separate work from home life. Encourage them to share their hobbies in an appreciation initiative like “caregiver of the week.” let them know that their life outside of the facility is as valuable to you as it is inside the facility. There are plenty of low-cost culture-building strategies that facilities implement, either remotely or in-facility, to address their facility’s nurse burnout.

If possible, a personalized approach is the best way to address the problem. Every nurse is different, so the causes of their burnout symptoms are, too. Even if your facility doesn’t have the time and resources to commit to self-care programs or break spaces, it’s still important to take a few minutes out of the day to send a weekly morning email, for example, to facility staff to prompt a friendly social comfortability. If your nurses feel comfortable, they’re more likely to seek out help if they need it. Camaraderie is hard to foster, but providing platforms for nurses to engage and laugh with each other is the first step to improving their comfortability and productivity.

Prioritize wellness

When facilities prioritize wellness from the top-down, it can lead to tangible improvements in quality of care and worker happiness. Surveys find that nurses often work through their breaks. So it’s no surprise that nurses’ stress levels rise when it’s not clear that the facility management team values their break time. 

Nursing facility leaders, such as doctors, DONs, and RNs, need to make sure their nurses take enough time off during their shift to be alert and prepared to give quality care.  If leadership doesn’t make it clear that staff’s mental wellness and alertness are valued, nurse burnout reduction efforts will likely be ineffective. So make sure to engage different levels of leadership in efforts to reduce nurse burnout.

Provide tools to foster healthy work/life balance

All of these efforts come back to one thing – providing quality of life to nurses at your facility. To do that, it’s crucial to have a set of tools that can tangibly affect nurses’ work/life balance. One of the best tools around for this problem is IntelyCare Staffing and IntelyCare Scheduling. These tools allow nursing staff to pick up shifts and arrange their schedule according to what works best for them, without overloading the facility scheduling process. When nurses have control over their work schedule, it gives them more control over their lives, and the weight lifted from their shoulders is tangible. Suddenly, your nurses don’t have to skip things like an important family obligation to work overtime, saving you money, and saving them stress that leads to lower quality of care. And for you, the facility manager, IntelyCare Scheduling has already swapped shifts with someone who is available and willing to get to work at your facility.

If a simple and easy-to-use tool is the solution your facility needs for its’ scheduling and staffing needs, then request a demo today.

 

 

The Three Cs Crucial for Positive Patient Outcomes and Experience

The Three Cs Crucial for Positive Patient Outcomes and Experience

 

Chronic workforce shortages and the financial impact of traditional outsourced nurse staffing solutions have created a delicate balancing act for nursing homes, requiring them to walk a razor’s edge between the two C’s, cost and coverage. However, recent research has found that a third C, consistency, is another key consideration for nursing home success.

What is Consistency?

A recent study published in Production and Operations Management found that minimizing the number of unique nursing aides who care for nursing home residents during at least one shift each month would lead to improved workflows and yield significant benefits to residents. “Our approach found the continuity benefit was clear and completely maintained with a pooled approach to nurse staffing,” said Vincent Slaugh, corresponding author of the study and professor of operations management at Cornell University. “Tools like IntelyCare’s scheduling software are exactly what nursing homes need to realize these benefits as economically as possible.”

It makes logical sense that by consistently having the same care teams, nursing homes can minimize the loss of informal but critical patient information that nursing staff are privy to when they care for the same patient. Building these relationships and trust dynamics is essential to ensuring high-quality care.

While consistency may elicit the notion of always having the exact same staff, the study also revealed that even a moderate improvement in the consistency of staff proved to be beneficial. The research showed that when facilities picked from a stable, limited pool of nursing staff, they were able to yield consistent benefits. In this way, facilities can reap the benefits of consistency while broadening their options with a temporary workforce.

Achieving the Three Cs

By adopting a hybrid nurse staffing and scheduling approach that balances all three Cs – costs, coverage, and consistency – nursing homes have the best chance of overcoming their biggest challenges and supporting the needs of their patients and nurses alike. Organizations that choose to tap into a temporary workforce method can ensure they are appropriately staffed at all times, guaranteeing the necessary care nursing home residents need and avoiding regulatory fines.

Nursing home facilities that would like to achieve maximum financial and staffing benefits must simultaneously prioritize and balance the Three C’s. The staffing solutions that optimize cost, coverage, and consistency are available and ready to use. When nursing facilities leverage this type of technology, they will be better equipped to care for patients and minimize the effects of burnout.

The IntelyCare Approach

Based on this research, we have been working with our clients to optimize our gig model to increase consistency. Solutions like nurse staffing and scheduling software allow facilities to meet staffing requirements while ensuring appropriate workloads and optimal patient care. Nursing can be an emotionally taxing occupation with some of the highest burnout rates.

IntelyCare’s on-demand staffing solution and scheduling software allow nurses the flexibility to choose the hours that are right for their physical, mental, and financial well-being. This also enables nursing homes to reap consistent benefits by quickly viewing where PRN nurses and CNAs have been staffed and developing consistent relationships with per diem IntelyCare nurses and CNAs. Putting nurses in the driver’s seat and giving them control over their schedules improves staff satisfaction and retention. By building in visibility and consistency, we are optimizing patient outcomes at the same time.

Ready to simplify your scheduling? The best way to see the value of IntelyCare is to see it in action. Get in touch today, and our team will be happy to provide a hands-on demonstration for your facility. Get started today.

Meet the Winners of IntelyCare’s Inaugural Healthcare Heroes Awards

Meet the Winners of IntelyCare’s Inaugural Healthcare Heroes Awards

IntelyCare believes that nursing professionals deserve the spotlight, long after the cameras stop rolling, the news crews have gone home, and life as we know it returns to normal. The Healthcare Heroes community is one that empowers nursing professionals like you to share their heroic stories, celebrate their achievements, and to connect and grow with their nursing peers. Nursing professional and facility winners also get awards, scholarships for furthering their nursing education, and funds that can go towards their facility.   

In honor of Nurses Week last year, we hosted a contest that invited nursing professionals and skilled nursing facilities across the country to share impactful nursing moments. They were inspiring and heartfelt. And we couldn’t be more proud to share them with the world because we believe that nurse’s stories matter.   

“While the pandemic unfolded, we felt compelled to honor and support the people who provide care and companionship to their residents each and every day,” said Chris Caulfield, RN, NP-C, Chief Nursing Officer and co-founder at IntelyCare. “We received so many humbling and inspiring stories from the post-acute community and we’re proud to shine a light on these healthcare heroes who truly deserve to be seen and heard.” 

Words from 2020’s Healthcare Heroes 

We never want to lose sight of what drives us to support these heroes in their mission as caregivers. “In the midst of chaos, it’s easy to be distracted with nursing tasks,” Says RN and Healthcare Heroes winner, Nicole Martine, “but during covid-19 I was forced back to the fundamentals of nursing, doing it with love, compassion, humility, dignity, and respect. What that experience showed me the most is that the covid-19 nursing home residents are the true heroes, and it was my honor to serve them.” We want our platforms to empower healthcare professionals to focus less on the stressful details of work, and more on the fundamentals of giving care the way Nicole has. 

Last years winners of the Healthcare Heroes had some powerful messages to convey: 

“The unwavering compassion, devotion, and kindness exhibited by the staff during a highly stressful time when healthcare providers and the community at large received conflicting messages regarding COVID was extraordinary,” said Pat Leja, who nominated Blackstone Valley Health and Rehab. “While hospital workers were rightfully glorified in the press, nursing home workers were absent. These forgotten members of the healthcare continuum are true heroes.” 

“Working through this pandemic, we are undoubtedly living in a trying time that has challenged our need for patience, true compassion, and willingness,” said award honoree Nickia Minus, a licensed practical nurse for over 10 years. “If by chance I had ever doubted my ability to fulfill my role as a great nurse, this year alone has removed any of that uncertainty.”

The 2020 Healthcare Heroes Winners

Join us in giving a round of applause for last year’s winners: 

Nursing Professionals

  • Ann Okoro, CNA, Ohio

  • Claudine Bruff, RN, Massachusetts

  • Denise Pegram, LPN, Pennsylvania

  • Nickia Minus, LPN, Pennsylvania

  • Nicole Martin, RN, Illinois

Facilities 

  • Blackstone Valley Health and Rehab (Formerly St. Camillus Health Center), Whitinsville, Massachusetts

  • Carriage Hill, Madbury, New Hampshire

  • Genacross, northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan

  • Ohio Living, Ohio

  • Richboro Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Richboro, Pennsylvania

Read their winning stories here!

Healthcare Heroes Awards 

Share your stories with the Healthcare Heroes community and you’ll have a chance to win our 2021 awards, including a scholarship worth $5,000 that will go towards furthering your nursing education. 

Winning stories do not have to be perfectly written, but will most likely share a specific story or anecdote that conveys the character of your facility, or the way you approach your work as a healthcare hero.

Share your story here! 

Three Ways One Platform Can Transform Your Facility Scheduling

Three Ways One Platform Can Transform Your Facility Scheduling

Inefficient staffing processes have long been a problem for the nursing facility scheduling industry. Whether it’s due to paper and pencil systems or confusing spreadsheets, the scheduler has had a tough job managing regular and on-demand staff. 

So how can one platform transform your post-acute facility scheduling?

1. It Can Save You Time

Facility Schedulers often find themselves spread thin using multiple different spreadsheets, managing separate calendars, and using paper and pencil systems to track agency and internal staff. Keeping track of all the moving parts can take up a lot of valuable time. With one intelligent workforce management platform, schedulers and Directors of Nursing can see their agency and internal staff, all in one place. Plus, AI technology gives supervisors the ability to predict and blast out shift openings to available staff. This eliminates time-consuming tasks like shift swaps and allows supervisors to focus on quality care for residents.

2. It Can Save Your Facility Money

When it comes time to fill a shift at the last minute, it’s difficult to predict exactly who is available and who has already worked their 40 hours. When you’re scrambling to fill that shift, it often comes down to keeping nurses overtime or using agency staff, both of which can push your team overbudget. So when that pesky shift needs to be filled, having one platform that can leverage your non-overtime internal staff can save a lot of money for your facility. While there may be upfront costs of bringing on new technology, utilizing a single platform can help your facility save money in the long run.

3. It Can Improve Staff Engagement

When last-minute call-offs occur, Schedulers often find themselves struggling to fill their gaps in care. Ultimately, they end up leaning on the same staff to pick up the slack, leading to an overworked, burned-out team. But with the use of an intelligent, all-in-one platform, supervisors can predict scheduling gaps, and engage with full-time staff directly through their mobile devices and give them the power to swap or pick up shifts. Giving staff more control over their schedule can lead to less burnout, improved staff retention, and better patient outcomes.

With one platform for schedule management, you’re finally equipped with the tools you need to save money for your facility, keep staffing shortages at bay, and ultimately help your facility provide the best care possible.

Ready to simplify your scheduling? The best way to see the value of IntelyCare is to see it in action. Get in touch today, and our team will be happy to provide a hands-on demonstration for your facility. Get started today.

How Technology Can Empower Today’s Healthcare Heroes

 At IntelyCare, we’re revolutionizing healthcare staffing, scheduling, and training for post-acute care. Fueled by advanced data science, our workforce management platform empowers nurses, facility administrators, and other healthcare heroes to transform the way they work by bringing flexibility, simplicity, and transparency to per-diem scheduling and staffing. We’re also proud to share that we were named No. 41 on the Inc. 5000 and No. 1 on the Boston Business Journal’s Fast 50 in 2020; we are also the top-ranked nurse workforce management solution in the country and the fastest-growing private company in Massachusetts.

To learn more about IntelyCare, check out our brand video below! 

Are you a nursing professional ready to take control of your work schedule? Apply today.

Are you a nursing facility looking for an easier, more reliable way to fill shifts? Let’s talk