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Self-Scheduling a Win for Nurses, Hospitals

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   March 20, 2012

"Little rewards that they may not have given to themselves if this system wasn't in place," he adds. "They're earning little kudos for themselves."

Because the system is Web-based, nurses can plug in their schedules anywhere they have an Internet connection.

"I actually had a nurse that was on vacation in China, and she logged in and put her schedule in," Reynolds says.

Additionally, when someone calls out sick, the program sends a text message, phone call, or email to nurses who said they would be available to work that day or interested in picking up extra shifts.

"I would just have to start going down the list of nurses to start calling to see if they would come in for the day or night," Lenoir says, but since they moved to self-scheduling, "people that would never come into work before will work extra."

Of course, for all of the positives associated with self-scheduling, there can be pitfalls as well. According to a paper by the MIT Workplace Center, "if nurses see [self-scheduling] as an individual entitlement instead of a balance between individual and unit benefit, everyone loses. Miscommunication of rules and lack of adherence to self-scheduling guidelines can bring forth mixed feelings of tension and anxiety to the nurse manager as well as the nursing staff."

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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