CNO conversation #1: How do you handle overtime?

March 14, 2017

Danielle Miller, PHD(c), MSN, RNC-OB Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications

This blog is part of a series of topics I frequently discuss with CNOs across the country. As we head to the AONE conference in two weeks, I thought it would be a good time to kickoff this set of blogs, since these are recurring challenges a typical CNO faces regarding the nursing workforce. Today I’m focusing on overtime.

For most healthcare organizations, labor costs comprise a significant portion of the annual budget. Inefficient labor and staffing processes can lead to budget-busting overtime pay, excessive reliance on costly staffing agencies, and staffing of expensive resources. It is not a surprise that working extended hours and shifts can have an impact not only on the patient but on nurses who are providing care. Nurses and support staff who work extended shifts and overtime are prone to increased nursing turnover, and decreased job satisfaction and engagement.

A study finds that nurses who work shifts longer than 12 hours are 1.45 times more likely to leave their job position within a year. When overtime is unmanageable, it creates a deep and embedded problem that can cause a ripple effect on other aspects of your hospital organization, including employee and patient satisfaction, and overall reimbursement to the hospital in the transition to value-based reimbursement. Overtime is not only expensive in terms of salaries paid to staff at increased rates, but productivity and performance can also be affected as nurses become fatigued and less attentive, placing the healthcare organization at risk for errors or medical mistakes.

Having the insight to make better staffing decisions and reduce overtime takes an innovative approach. Leveraging technology will allow you to create and edit sophisticated schedules by automatically assigning employees to meet required demand. It will also allow you to easily find appropriate replacements as needed, all in real-time to secure workload overage for your patients. When overtime is necessary, you can have real-time insight to make more fiscally responsible staffing decisions by providing overtime equalization to ensure resource optimization.

Infor Healthcare can help your organization gain insight, plan for fluctuating staffing needs and manage overtime, agency, and staffing costs that can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

In 2017, our challenge as industry executives is to continue integrating clinical delivery with financial sustainability. As the Advisory Board describes, with the aid of technology, we’re on the verge of a higher level of complete integration to set the standard for best practices with input and influence from both the financial and clinical leaders in our organizations.

How is your organization handling staffing and overtime issues? Feel free to share your thoughts here for better managing overtime in your organization.
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