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Self-Scheduling a Win for Nurses, Hospitals

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   March 20, 2012

Eighteen months ago, things were a lot different in the nursing units at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia. Like so many hospitals, St. Francis was having staffing problems that forced their own nurses to float between units when they didn't want to. The hospital also had to pay a lot in incentive payments to cover extra shifts and rely on expensive agency nurses to fill in the gaps.

That's when it decided to put scheduling into the nurses' own hands.

Implementing self-scheduling has paid off, according to William Reynolds, RN and nurse manager. Without hiring any additional employees, St. Francis Hospital no longer has holes in its schedules, he says.

"We haven't had any agency nurses since we started," Reynolds tells HealthLeaders Media. "We don't pay incentive pay anymore."

Reynolds says the success of self-scheduling boils down to one major factor: autonomy for the nurses.

"The staff have more input into their schedules," agrees staffing assistant Tammie Lenoir. "And if they can see open shifts in other units they're picking up a lot of shifts outside of their units."

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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