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Self scheduling

  • 1.  Self scheduling

    Posted 05-21-2019 12:50
    Hello All!
    Our cancer center is looking at what it would look like to do self scheduling with our nursing staff.
    Do any other cancer centers schedule this way?
    If so, what does this process look like?
    We are a 9 chair, 1 bed outpatient facility.
    Thank you-

    Lisa Nordick RN BSN OCN
    Lake Region Health Care
    Rothsay MN

  • 2.  RE: Self scheduling

    Posted 05-21-2019 16:37
    Hi Lisa

    Yes, we started this 2 years ago. Our Infusion department has 51 infusion bays and approximately 80 nurses (depending on whether we count the per diem staff). We started off on paper and are now using an Excel sheet on Microsoft Teams (and will be migrating to Kronos later this year). Our schedule goes for a 6 week period. While we'd like it to be longer, we've kept it at 6 weeks to allow for adjusting staffing patterns based on volumes in the department.

    Before self-scheduling can get started, you'd need to have some type of template to be able to know how many staff are required on a given day and at a specific time point. We look at patient visits and built the template to allow appropriate choices for M-Sunday, with specific start times beginning at 6:45am going through out last start time of 1:45pm. We are allowed 8 and 10 hour shifts,although there are only a specific amount available for each day and each start time. The spreadsheet calculates how many people have signed up so the staff can see if that day is already full, is over-staffed or understaffed. Staff know, for example, that we need more nurses on Wednesday than on Tuesday, is the former is our busiest day of the week and the latter is our lightest. Saturdays and Sundays are also included, and staff need to pick a certain amount of weekend shifts based on their FTE and seniority.

    Vacation days and "requested not to work" days are also entered.

    Staff sign up by a specific cut-off date, and then our Associate Director and staffing coordinator go through to see how close it is compared with what has been calculated to what we need based on quarterly patient visits. Once they've made minor adjustments, it goes back to staff for a week to either agree with any changes in their schedule or move to another vacant shift voluntarily. After that week, it goes to the AD for final approval and is posted on Microsoft Teams where staff can see the schedule at work or from home.

    Most staff get the days they want, and we also permit trading days and/or shifts. I should add that because we are open from 7am to 10pm, we do not have traditional "shifts," but several different start times.

    While it's not a perfect system, it works fairly well. Most of all, we are staffed WHEN we need to be.


    Seth Eisenberg RN ASN OCN BMTCN
    Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
    Federal Way WA

  • 3.  RE: Self scheduling

    Posted 05-22-2019 10:13
    I echo everything Seth addressed.  My much smaller outpatient center did this in the late 1980s - 1990s.  It worked well.
    I would add is that our experience was the a few 'natural leaders emerged from the nursing staff who embraced and championed it.  That, too, worked well.
    Staff was satisfied with it, especially the flexibility it allowed.
    Jennifer Guy
    Columbus, Ohio

    Jennifer Guy BS RN
    Columbus OH

  • 4.  RE: Self scheduling

    Posted 05-22-2019 14:37

    I have the exact same size oncology infusion center with the addition of 5 clinic rooms.  I have 4 full time (40 hrs), 1 full time (36 hrs), and 2 part-time (24 hrs each) RNs.  I stagger their schedule.

    Nurse A-M-F, 8-4:30

    Nurse B-M-F, 8:30-5:00

    Nurse C-M,W, Th, 8-4:30

    Nurse D-T, W, F, 8-4:30

    Nurse E-M, T, Th, F, 8-5:30

    Nurse F-M-F, 9-5:30

    One of my full time positions is my Clinical Coordinator who works M-F, 8-4:30 and can fill in wherever she is needed.

    Nurses E and F are my late nurses whenever both are working and when one is not working (such as Nurse E on Wednesdays), I have another nurse volunteer to stay late with nurse F.

    I hope this makes sense but you may be open more extended hours than we are.  We are open M-F, 8-4:30 for infusions.


    Kimberly Chumney, MS, RN

    Nurse Manager 

    Ambulatory Oncology at Stony Point

    Massey Cancer Center