Nursing

Expert spotlight: Fill staff scheduling needs of all generations

Nurse Leader Insider, September 29, 2008

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This week, expert Judith "Ski" Lower, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNRN, shares some insight on how to take control of scheduling conflict amongst multigenerational staff members.

The healthcare world has changed and yet we still do schedules basically the same way we did 30 years ago. Baby Boomers (nurses between 43-63 years of age) love rules and feel entitled by seniority to have their needs met on the schedule. Generation X nurses (those between 29-42 years of age) are seeking balance. They want to be able to put their children on the school bus and be there when they get home. Generation Y nurses (those under 28 years of age) want a life and a career and are looking for lots of flexibility.

The answer? Be brave, and try something totally new:

  1. First, have an open dialogue with staff, talking about generational needs to increase understanding versus judgment and anger. Ask each nurse to identify the top three consistent things they want in a schedule.
  2. Next, think outside the box. Who says shifts must be eight or 12 hours long? Pilot some shorter shifts that can fill in for peak activity times and meet the needs of Generation Xers and some Boomers seeking shorter shifts.
  3. Have each nurse write down the schedule they want, knowing that the goal is to make the numbers required for minimum safe staffing. The numbers will not meet the goals all of the time, so allow staff the opportunity to make changes to fix the numbers while they still have control of those changes.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? Email your queries to editor kmucci@hcpro.com and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.



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