What’s the age-old problem that nurses and nurse managers deal with daily? COMMUNICATION. Inefficient communication.
So much information is being thrown at you day after day, you’re overwhelmed before you even clock in.
I wholeheartedly believe that we inefficiently communicate about basic things. This ends up costing money because we’re wasting time and resources (paper, toner, time away from the bedside) doing things in an outdated, inefficient way. Administrative assistants spend hours dealing with the documentation of certifications. Managers and assistant managers spend way too much time dealing with communicating with staff about flexing up, down, or about things that are due.
It’s inefficient. It’s ineffective. And it’s 2015. We shouldn’t be having these issues with basic communication with so much technology readily available. Here are three scenarios that I know you’ve dealt with before.
Scenario #1 – “Shorted”
It’s 1500 and you look at how many nurses are on the schedule for tonight. We are 3, yes 3, nurses short. And so the panic ensues. You hop on your phone to put out a group text, you then call the float pool, and then sit down to manually call and leave a voice mail for the other 15 nurses that aren’t working. You wait. And you pray. It takes 30 min to leave all of those voicemails and in the meantime you’ve only received 3 text back that are “no I wish I could but I’m out of town!” Been there?
Scenario #2 – “The Run-Around”
It’s 0500 and the night shift supervisor realizes that we’re overstaffed for 0700. We have to float one nurse and put two nurses on-call. We have to go find the paper copy list to see who is up for call and who is up to float. We then find the number for the on-call person, dial it, and they don’t pick up. Ugh. Do we call the next one, or wait? We don’t have much time to wait! They live 1.5 hours away!
Three minutes later they call back. This nurse has no PTO, is really stressed about money and is pleading to work today. “Ok we can accommodate that, I’m sure someone wants call today,” you think. You really felt bad for her. You call the next person. They were on-call yesterday. And it’s not their turn so they pull the “you can’t put me on call, it’s not my turn” thing. They’re technically right and you’re trying to help the first nurse out. You hang up and call the NEXT person who gladly accepts call today. In all the chaos, you forgot to put the other nurse on call. They show up and demand to work because they drove all the way in. You’re in trouble now because we’re overstaffed for the morning. Oh, and the person that has to float is also not happy about floating. Been there?
Scenario #3 – “The Certifiably Mad”
One of your nurses needs their ACLS certification renewed. It’s due today. You’ve sent him four emails reminding him to get it done; the first one was months ago. The unit has been really busy though, so you’re not surprised the bedside staff isn’t up to date on emails. They can’t check their email from home and they’ve all been picking up overtime or clocking out late. He called you a few times today, but you had three meetings and couldn’t talk. You call him, he doesn’t pick up. Finally, at 1500 on the last day he has to renew this certification, you get a hold of him.
Glory be to God – he got it renewed and has the card! Woo hoo! He said he actually faxed it to you a week ago and was concerned that his certifications were updated yet. Finding a fax that was sent to you a week ago is like finding a vein on a severely dehydrated elderly dialysis patient. It’s not happening.
This is his first day off in weeks and he lives an hour away. He can’t email a PDF of the card. He doesn’t have access to his work email from home, the firewall of the hospital email system won’t allow a PDF from an unknown email to come through to you, and his scanner is broken. It would be easiest for you if he faxed it. But it’s 2015 and no one has fax machines at home.
This is way too complicated. Been there?
Why should these processes produce so much stress and take up so much time? And why – WHY – are we still using fax machines!? I can’t wait until those things are obsolete. The machine is down, it’s offline, the number is wrong, the toner is out, the paper needs to be refilled, and none of your staff uses it outside of the unit.
Good news, nurse managers! I’ve found something that addresses those three major headaches and a few other things. It makes those things that took up way too much of your time; only take seconds out of your time.
A few months ago, I wrote about an app called NurseGrid for bedside nurses to better manage their work schedules. Here’s the original post. Well, they just made a manager portal! And it’s awesome.
You can send push notification directly to their cell to put people on call, see if people want to work, manage certifications, and staff can even take pictures of their new certifications and send it to you, automatically updating their certification status.
Here is what the screen looks like for the Credentials Manager. You can just click “send reminder” and it will send that person a push notification to their phone (not their work email they never have time to check!) to let them know. Genius.
You can message staff (eliminating the need to have everyone’s current phone number) to see who wants to work, to flex staff up and down, and to even approve trade swaps. You can even message them to tell them it’s the last day to complete mandatory education!
Below is the screen to flex people off. You can pull it up and see the nurses that have set in their phone that they would like to be flexed off if staffing allows. No calling them to ask, no calling them to tell them they’re on call. Just click their name to flex them off. It takes seconds. Literally.
No phone numbers. No phone tree. No fax machines. No phone-tag. One easy-to-use program that sends push notifications to your staff’s smartphones in seconds.
Efficiency at its finest.
So the guys over at NurseGrid decided to give everyone a free 30-day trial to see this thing in action!
And they decided to give Team Nurse Eye Roll an additional two free weeks!
What what! Just plug in the promo code “EyeRoll” (not case sensitive) during your sign-up and you’ll snag those two free weeks.
Here is the link for the free 6-week trial, y’all: http://nursegrid.com/free-30-day-trial/
Still not sure? Here is their site with some great graphic that explain all the functions: http://nursegrid.com/for-managers/
As a bedside nurse, I would much rather receive push notifications than frantic phone calls. I would much rather check my app really quickly for notifications rather than check my email half asleep after a really tough 12 hour shift. I would much rather click that I would like to be on-call before I go to bed the night before a shift than get a call that wakes me up 20 minutes before my alarm to ask me.
I’m not a manager, but I can see how tedious and annoying these seemingly simple tasks become. Check it out, see if it helps. The staff will be elated that it’s easier, quicker, and less annoying. The management team will be relieved to get back all of that wasted time. Everyone will rejoice.
Please note: I was not compensated for this post. I partner with NurseGrid because I believe in them, nurses creating technology for nurses, and stand behind their brand. Opinions are honest and mine alone. The links above are affiliate links. If you decide to purchase this service for your unit, I may be compensated.