07th April 2017 Written by Skills for Health

NHS Doctor 1 smallerWith trusts and hospitals under increasing pressure, now more than ever, it is vital to get it right when it comes to compiling staff rosters.

Although paper-based rostering processes are becoming the minority, there are still some that aren’t reaping the benefits of an online system. Using e-rostering systems can help individual wards and departments operationally save time and effort at every turn.

To meet the needs of today’s healthcare system, rosters need to be accurate, up-to-date and leave staff and patients confident that the right skills mix is present where and when it is needed. Importantly, they also need to be flexible.

At a recent nursing conference, we asked nurses working on the front line, what they felt was important when it came to rostering. The top three answers were flexibility, staff participation and the ability to update rotas in real time. Staff working in different roles and shift patterns have very different requirements and responsibilities. Therefore, hospitals need to introduce a rostering system that can accommodate these differences, whilst maintaining the effectiveness across the whole organisation; focusing on both individual staff needs and the wider picture. Building this flexibility into the rostering process can help significantly.

Let your staff participate

One of the biggest ways that e-rostering can help increase flexibility within the system is by offering greater opportunities for staff participation.

Healthcare workers need to be involved with rota creation. While roster managers have the final say on who works where and when, Realtime Rostering allows staff to, indicate shift preferences, suggest swaps, highlight any issues and request leave. Not only does this give a sense of empowerment to staff but also helps ensure the hospital continues to run smoothly, steered by productive and efficient individuals.

The Roster Wizard

While Realtime Rostering is flexible and transparent in supporting staff preferences, it is also flexible and supportive in how Rotas are created.

Integrated into Realtime Rostering is the Roster Wizard, a tool that takes a Rota Lead through a series of simple steps to generate rotas and staff patterns. Having this tool, means that staff can create simple, compliant rotas - taking the strain off busy rota managers in the organisation.

In any rostering system transparency is key and through Realtime Rostering, staff are able to view colleagues’ shift patterns as well as their own. Allowing roster managers to look at shifts across the board, means that it will be much easier to spot gaps and fill them ahead of time, rather than retrospectively. Any and all changes take immediate effect and are updated in real time so staff are always on the same page.

For more information on Realtime Rostering and how Skills for Health can help your organisation, visit: http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/realtimerostering