The Risks of Improper Nurse Scheduling

January 17, 2023

Excerpt from a 2015 white paper from the American Nurses Association with contribution from Matthew McHugh, Ph.D., JD, MPH, RN, FAAN, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) School of Nursing in Philadelphia, stated that "With the increased focus on value-based care, optimal nurse staffing will be essential to delivering high-quality, cost-effective care." 

Dr. McHugh further said that bad things could happen without enough nursing staff at the bedside.

Improper nurse scheduling is an inexcusable error. Management and leadership fail to use the best information available to achieve the best possible outcomes. 

In this post, we will share the risk factors of improper nurse scheduling and how to avoid them in your facility. 

The risks of improper nurse scheduling are legion and include the following:

Increases Rate of In-hospital Mortality

Linda Aiken, Ph.D., RN, of Penn State University, found that for every additional patient a nurse cares for, patients are at a 7 percent greater risk of dying within 30 days, as well as a greater chance of not surviving. 

Poor nurse scheduling in any healthcare facility increases the likelihood of medical errors, increasing the likelihood of patients dying. This phenomenon occurs because when nurses are overworked, they tend to become easily fatigued and can thus make mistakes. 

A Great Number of Falls

Hospitalized patients are subject to several risks. Patients often are prone to falling because they are weak. Falls can cause severe injuries to patients. Nurses need to monitor their patients to prevent this constantly. Patients are less likely to fall if shift changes are scheduled, so they never are left without assistance. The manager's and doctor's responsibility is to schedule nurses strategically to reduce patients' chances of falling.

Higher Risks of Infection

For patient safety, nurses must be appropriately scheduled to match their skill levels and the staffing needs of the particular shift. Improperly assigning nurses can cause potential safety risks to patients who may risk inadequate care, infection, or other forms of injury because of their amateur or fatigued status.

A Rise in Postoperative Complications

To a certain degree, all surgeries carry some risks. Suppose a surgeon operates on too many patients in one day or does not have adequate rest between shifts, the chances of a patient suffering postoperative complications increase. The same goes for nurses who assist in the OR. 

If there is improper nurse scheduling, the chances of postoperative complications increase because an unqualified nurse may be assigned to the OR, or an overworked nurse prone to fatigue or error may be working.

How does Improper Nurse Scheduling Affect Nurses?

Apart from the impact improper nurse scheduling has on your patients; it hurts the nursing staff. Some of the adverse effects include low morale, sleep deprivation, emotional and physical stress. 

If there is no systematic way to schedule staff, personnel will constantly work long shifts over several days without getting enough rest.

A more efficient nurse scheduling process improves your bottom line and increases the quality of care you can provide your patients. 

Eliminate Fatigue and Reduce the Chances of Medical Errors

Eliminate Fatigue from Among Your Nurses and Reduce the Chances of Medical Errors with FloatCare

FloatCare is on a mission to eliminate burnout by connecting, simplifying, and organizing the lives of medical professionals. With our automated system, you can improve your efficiency and security with a new approach to nurse scheduling.

FloatCare world-class technology solutions to nurse scheduling will help you use your nursing staff more efficiently, optimize your workforce, and strengthen patient relationships. 

Don't wait for the next medical error because of an overworked nurse. Take action and schedule a demo today. 

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