Scheduling Models for an Inpatient Unit – Health System Example

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"Scheduling Models for an Inpatient Unit" is a great example of a paper on the health system. For planning purposes, the scheduling models that should be considered for planning purposes are the binary integer linear programming model. It has different levels of satisfaction preference and a different priority ordering of the nursing staff in order to plan their shift schedule. The objective of the model is to increase the level of satisfaction of personnel involved in nursing when it comes to their shifts of work and day-off schedule (Roussel, 2013). Shift patterns and schedules have various pros and cons as far as nursing is concerned.

For the pros, they encourage hard work and determination. A shift ensures that one works knowing that they are there for a specific period after which they will rest. They hence work in a determined mode so as to accomplish the task assigned to time. Second, there is monetary compensation especially for the nurses who work during the night shift. This assists them to have additional allowances on their basic salary. Also, there is a reduced workload as there are fewer patients attend to at night as compared with day shift and schedule.

The schedule is also flexible and hence accommodating some workers who might not have made it during the day or night. The cons for shift patterns and schedules are for those who work at night, and there is daytime sleepiness. Studies reveal that 29 % of shift workers fall asleep during the day while working. There is also reduced performance due to decreased mental clarity. A person who has 24 hours of wakefulness has problems with driving the same as a drunken person would have.

Also, there are problems with gastrointestinal problems. This is because of the interruption of the metabolic cycle resulting in nausea, heartburn, ulcers, and others (Yih, 2010). In terms of recommendations, there needs to be a proper way of assigning shifts. For instance, the shifts need to be running from 6 pm to 12 am and another one from 12 am to 6 am. Such a schedule or shift will help avoid all these cons that have been mentioned. The work delivered will be standard, and the management will be impressed by the performance.

It has been tested and proved to work (Roussel, 2013). There are several challenges or barriers that should be considered when implementing changes in staff scheduling. First is resistance from the staff members. There are those who will openly oppose due to their personal reasons. They would want to fit in schedules that favor them. There needs to be a channel to address such a challenge. The second is slow picking and getting used to the changes.

Once the staff is used to a particular model, it will always be difficult for them to pick and get used to a new model. They will always encounter problems in getting used to it. Third, there is the tendency for some changes to be costly. The management should test a schedule and see its costs before implementing it (Hall, 2011). There are measures that can be monitored to determine if any scheduling changes are positive. First, ensure there is customer feedback from the patients. Evaluate their responses to the new schedules. Second, ensure the staff themselves give their view on the changes.

Evaluate them also. The measures are important because they assist in determining the feedback from the customers who are the main beneficiaries. And it also gives feedback from the participants who are the nurses. If the responses from both the patients and the nurses are positive, then the model has positive outcomes (Yih, 2010). Another operation-related strategy in addressing such challenges is expanding increasing the number of staff. The number of staff is too low for such a scenario.

The management should thus consider recruiting more to accommodate them. The issue with space can be looked into at a later stage (Roussel, 2013).


Hall, R. (2011). Handbook of Healthcare System Scheduling. New York City: Springer Science & Business Media.

Roussel, L. (2013). Management and Leadership for Nurse Administrators. Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Yih, Y. (2010). Handbook of Healthcare Delivery Systems. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

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