31st May 2017 Written by Dr. Jen Harrop, Clinical Performance Manager in Urgent Care

iStock 92045921 LARGE 3We’ve already written about how integrating e-rostering systems could be invaluable to hospitals and healthcare organisations but we haven’t yet talked about how vital a comprehensive and effective rostering system is to particular departments or wards.

Accident and Emergency departments can feel a surge in pressure within minutes and with a 24/7 stream of activity, A&E staff need to be ready for anything. If they get it wrong, the impact on patient care can be instant.

Clinical Performance Manager in Urgent Care, Dr. Jen Harrop, is in the process of incorporating an e-rostering system into her department. Here’s the top five ways the new programme will benefit the team:

Increased visibility

“We currently produce a spreadsheet roster for each day in our A&E department so we can see who will be working. However, if people call in sick, rotas need to be rewritten and there is a delayed visibility. Online rostering will help us respond quicker to such changes and ensure all staff know exactly where they are working and who they are working with.”

  • Easy staff deployment
  • “A&E departments have multiple clinical areas and staff skill sets need to be balanced accordingly. From increased visibility comes an easier job when deploying staff to the different areas. We have to make sure the right people are manning the cubicles, treatment and resuscitation areas, for example, to ensure the best possible patient care and experience.

    Backlogs of information

    “The ability to keep an audit trail of who’s done what and when will be invaluable to us. We need to make sure we are always balancing the skills mix and education needs of staff. Having a record of which staff have worked at which stations within the department will be instrumental to making this happen.”

    Keeping on top of a surge

    “One of the most important jobs I have on a day-to-day basis is managing a surge in patients. If ten ambulances arrive at once, I need to be able to move staff around immediately to accommodate newcomers. Having our rosters on a screen in front of me will mean I can make decisions and amends quickly, rather than trying to ring around the department or alter a paper rota. This is particularly important as it minimises distractions at what could be a critical time for our patients.”

    Forward planning

    “Because of the nature of A&E, we don’t tend to work more than a month in advance when it comes to creating rotas. However, having the visibility, audit trail and improved communication that comes with e-rostering means we can start making more sensible choices when it comes to staffing. Having all the information on one screen means I’ll be able to see who is on leave and whether approving any new leave requests will leave us depleted. This will ensure not only the best possible level of care for patients, but also fairness and equity for my staff.”

    This is just one example of how departments can reap the benefits of e-rostering and Skills for Health want to spread the word on their new integrated Realtime Rostering system.

    For more information on Realtime Rostering and how it can benefit your department, visit: http://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/realtimerostering