Consider Continuity of Care When Making Staffing Assignments

Patricia Dorgan

The creation of staff schedules requires an enormous amount of planning and preparation. Analyzing staff availability, overtime, trends, and census are just a few examples. Fortunately, integrated and robust software solutions can provide tools that can help automate the complete scheduling process.

Creating the schedule is only the beginning. The next step involves creating staff to patient assignments. These assignments are critical, and can have a great impact on both patient satisfaction as well as staff engagement. There are many factors to consider when making staff assignments, including patient acuity, workload distribution and patient location. However, there is one other very important point to be considered: continuity of care.

Patients perceive care to be more personalized when they have the same nurse. This can also lead to improvements in patient engagement. When assignments are made that provide the patient and caregiver the opportunity to establish a relationship it can increase patient safety and satisfaction, as well as help generate a deeper nurse patient relationship, which can lead to better patient care.

When the nurse becomes familiar with a patient’s orders and medications, they can define and resolve patient problems. The nurse can also more effectively identify and communicate changes in the patient’s condition. This continued level of involvement might help improve workforce outcomes, leading to a greater sense of accomplishment for the nurse, and better outcomes for the patient.

Continuity of care also allows nurses to build a rapport with family members and create simplified communication networks from which to provide updates on progress and answer questions. There is also a time-savings factor regarding efficiencies in reporting and chart checks. When nurses are familiar with their patients, communication with physicians and other healthcare providers are streamlined and more effective. Greater involvement and responsibility for the care of an assigned patient can have a positive impact on job enthusiasm and nurse retention.

To learn more about tools to help with creating staff assignments, you can read more about CentricityTM  Patient Classification.

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