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Self-Scheduling a Win for Nurses, Hospitals

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   March 20, 2012

Not a Free-for-All
In other words, although it's called "self-scheduling," but it's not a free-for-all. The self-scheduling must occur with limitations and guidance, says Reynolds. For example, St. Francis still has policies in place that require nurse to work a certain number of weekends and holidays. After nurses schedule themselves, managers go into the program and balance out the schedule.

"You can't just schedule yourself for every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday," Reynolds says. "Full time staff goes in first, then the manager goes in and balances it, then the PRNs can pick up overtime."

If done right, self-scheduling can help organizations strike the right balance between giving nurses more control over their schedules and allowing the hospital to fill every shift. And according to Lenoir and Reynolds, it's a change that's affected more than simply the schedule.

"It's like a whole different culture," Reynolds says.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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