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The Case for Collaborative Staffing

Healthcare staffing and scheduling are complex issues, and with the ongoing nurse shortage, these issues haven’t gotten any easier to address. But what if you could help your hospital improve the scheduling process, reduce staff turnover, and increase the quality of patient care?

According to Dr. Karlene Kerfoot, BSN, RN and Chief Nursing Officer at GE Healthcare, everybody wins when hospital systems use a collaborative approach to staff management.

“Collaborative staffing allows managers to get the right nurse in the right position at the right time with the right patient,” says Dr. Kerfoot. “It takes the chaos out of staffing and scheduling.”

Unlike the traditional, top-down staff management style, the collaborative staffing method allows nurses and nurse managers to work together to cover shifts. For example, GE Healthcare’s cloud-based, scheduling software, called ShiftSelect, allows nurses to view and fill open shifts across multiple units. The results of a collaborative staffing style for hospital employees and patients are overwhelmingly positive. In fact, these top three benefits make the case for collaborative staffing:

  1. Increased staff and patient satisfaction: With more than 30 years in the nursing profession, Dr. Kerfoot has a passion for finding hospital staffing solutions. “The most common reason why people leave hospital work is the schedules,” Dr. Kerfoot says. “This technology empowers nurses by giving them the opportunity to fit their work schedules around their lives.” Dr. Kerfoot added nurses tend to stay in jobs where they feel engaged and valued. In turn, this engagement can lead to overall better patient care. “Patients can tell when their nurse is stressed,” she says. “Happy nurses equal happy patients.”
  1. Enhanced staff development: Under a collaborative staffing model, nurses also have more learning opportunities when they volunteer to cover shifts in various units. But it’s also important to remember this method isn’t just great for nurses — managers benefit from it too. “This system takes away a huge amount of work from the nurse managers,” says Dr. Kerfoot. “Instead of spending time dealing with staffing issues and complaints, these managers can now focus on the professional development of their nurses, and ways to improve patient care.”
  1. Improved staff productivity: In addition, a hospital’s scheduling process also becomes more streamlined. According to Dr. Kerfoot, there are usually fewer open shifts because nurse managers can post open shifts on the system early. “So nurses know ahead of time what the open shifts are,” she says. “It’s a friendly approach to staffing, and it makes all the sense in the world.”

With so many benefits to this staffing style, Dr. Kerfoot believes it’s only a matter of time before more hospitals adopt it. “Collaborative staffing is the wave of the future,” she says. “So many nurses love collaborative staffing.”

You can read more about the collaborative approach to hospital staff management here.

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Elena Barker

Elena Barker is a Creative Content Ninja at Medical Solutions, one of the nation’s largest Travel Nurse staffing companies. Elena develops and edits content for Healthcare Staffing Blog which covers healthcare staffing industry news and trends.