Nursingworld.org Article

Innovation in Nurse Scheduling: 

A Nurse’s Foray into AI and Entrepreneurship

As a fresh-faced nurse eager to make a difference, I dove headfirst into the challenges of bedside nursing on a small medical/surgical unit. About a year in, my manager asked me to help her write the schedule. Little did I know, this was one of the most time-consuming and frustrating tasks she experienced as a manager. With a modest floor of 20 beds and around 50 nurses working 24/7 shifts, crafting a schedule was an ordeal. Everyone wrote their appointments and PTO on a blank spreadsheet, and I had to craft 12-hour shifts around those. No big deal, right? Wrong.

What seemed straightforward quickly escalated into a daunting task. Writing that 28-day schedule took me more than my 12-hour shift—my manager had to pay another nurse to come in to cover my assignment. Each shift required specific certifications and licensures, a qualified charge nurse, and must ensure an adequate mix of experienced and new nurses. For that small floor, there were over 7,000 variables to consider every time I wrote a schedule! It was painful and exhausting! Every schedule I produced, good or bad, seemed to displease someone, leading to perceptions of bias and grumblings of overall dissatisfaction among the staff.

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