Optimizing Usage of Workforce Scheduler Extensions — Integrating the Staffing Office

Integrating the Staffing Office

The focus of Workforce Scheduler Extensions for Healthcare is often the day-to-day activity of a nursing unit. The solution helps charge nurses manage assignments, gauge workload, and project census so unit managers can assess how close they are to meeting budget and care model goals. The Staff Planning All Locations Screen is specifically geared to the staffing office and a staffing coordinator/nurse supervisor. 

Let’s look at how this screen can benefit you and your staffing office.

Integrating the Staffing Office

Benefits of the Staff Planning All Locations Screen

Staffing offices can vary from facility to facility. Some facilities may not have a staffing office at all — but the Staff Planning All Locations Screen is helpful to anyone who needs a big-picture view of a facility or even an entire enterprise.

In addition to offering an eagle eye perspective of multiple units, the screen is organized in a treelike structure so you can open and close levels to drill down to specific units. The screen provides some overview data along with specific staffing information by role.

The overview data contains information like actual, projected, and licensed staff-to-patient ratios. It contains workload information through a data element we call the workload index, which allows the staffing office to gauge relative workload across units. When staff resources are limited, this screen could be used as one of the factors to determine where to deploy those resources.

On the staffing side of the screen, a user can see the target number of people needed for a specific role based on a projected or actual census number and the number of people scheduled to work in that role. Staffing deficits and overages are quickly identified using color shading and up and down arrows. All this information is immediately available without any special configuration beyond the finance and staffing matrix information normally collected.

Projecting census

Accurately projecting the census is a task that facilities struggle with and one I see fall by the wayside too often. Projecting the census involves individual units predicting for an upcoming time frame how many patients they think they will have. Typically, an experienced charge nurse is using clinical, administrative, and process knowledge to gauge how many patients will be on the unit for an upcoming time so that he or she can better plan for staffing needs. To indicate the projected census in the software program, the charge nurse simply clicks the census projection link and types in a number.

If the system sees no projected census, it simply uses the actual census. No functionality is lost if the charge nurse doesn’t project a census — but the quality of that information may suffer. If unit experts use the best information on hand, they can provide the staffing office with census updates that can help make better resource deployment decisions. If your staff isn’t projecting the census, consider adding this as a requirement to improve the overall quality of data within the system as well as the information available to your staffing office.

Integrating your staffing office with Workforce Scheduler Extensions

There are three main ways to further integrate your staffing office with Workforce Scheduler Extensions and with the end-users on in-patient nursing units: tags, notes, and unit staff requests.

  • Tags The charge nurse on a unit typically uses staff and patient tags to help identify additional information about a staff member or patient (such as a patient who is in isolation or a staff nurse who speaks Spanish). Those tags can also be configured to display on the Staff Planning All Locations Screen. As an example, let’s say your facility widely uses sitters, and your staffing office is charged with tracking where all the sitters are at any given moment. A patient tag of sitter could be configured for all units. The charge nurse on each unit would apply the tag to any patient who has a sitter. That tag can then be configured to display on the Staff Planning All Locations Screen. This allows staffing office personnel to quickly glance down a list of units and see how many sitters are on each unit. 
  • Notes The notes feature can be used as a communication tool between individual units and the staffing office, reducing the need for phone calls or in-person messengers. For example, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center leverages the notes feature in Workforce Scheduler Extensions to maintain a streamlined staffing communications process. Charge nurses enter staffing needs into a shift note for a set time period so that the staffing office will always have the most up-to-date information about what type of staff is needed and when. Using notes has reduced the number of phone calls between the units and the staffing office, allowed the organization to keep a record of staffing requests, and provided a way for them to record shifts where staffing needs were not entered.
  • Unit staff requests More advanced users can have individual units request staff on the Staff Planning All Locations Screen so the staffing office can consider the requests from units when assigning resources.

Although these elements are all configurable, they typically require education of users and process change.

If you’d like even more information about the Staff Planning All Locations Screen, check out this earlier post from my colleague Megan Schramm, MSN, RN. 

These elements are also things that might be included in your 24-hour walk-through, which I spoke about in part 1 of this series, so be sure to review that if you haven’t already. The Kronos Global Support team can assist with any configuration changes you might need, but if you’d like a Kronos consultant to review your process or provide feedback on any of these items, contact your Kronos advisor or sales representative about engaging one of the solution consultants to assist.

Up next

In part 4 of this series, we’ll discuss Leveraging Reports. Check in at the Working Smarter Café to make sure you don’t miss it, or click Subscribe via email under my bio in the top right-hand corner to subscribe to Working Smarter Café and get emails when new content is published.

Other blogs in this series: