I don’t know if this is something that I actually learned or if it was just reaffirmed to me but staffing is hard. It is such a complex, delicate issue because there are so many factors involved. For those that do staffing, they have to not only please the staff by giving them their requested schedule but to schedule them for the appropriate amount of hours. They also have to figure out how to distribute the staff evenly amongst the unit and if they have extra, how to help staff other units as needed. Furthermore, staffing involves keeping management and finance happy. There are certain regulations and guidelines from corporations that play a huge role into staffing and they have to be abided by. Intertwined with all of the patient safety is paramount. Staffing has to be done appropriately to protect all parties involved. It is a huge undertaking.
This week for the team activity, we had a good experience. Because all of us are such new nurses from all different areas of nursing we needed each others’ opinions to complete the assignment. Everyone came to the table with different insights which allowed us to staff the unit appropriately. For example, someone was able to assign staff for each shift evenly, while another person recognized that some people were being scheduled too much or for back to back shifts. And someone else pointed out, even after we had completed the assignment, that we had over staffed and need to make some adjustments before submitting. Everyone brought fresh eyes to the issue and it was helpful for me because if I were doing this on my own I probably would not have known really where to start. Staffing should be something a team or a few people do, instead of just one person. You need multiple sets of eyes with different backgrounds in order to staff effectively and smartly.
For me, the most important thing that I can do is be patient with staffers and staffing. I can do my part but requesting my schedule and show up for my scheduled shifts. I can also float with a positive attitude when I am asked to do so. I can’t control the numbers or the assignment but I can accept, hold my own and do my part. I have also joined matrix/staffing committee in an effort to improve and fix the problems that we are facing. We are trying to keep everyone involved safe and happy while sticking to budget and meeting our goals. It is a huge undertaking but it has given me a lot of insight into how leadership works in regards to staffing and staffing requirements. It has also helped me understand our staffing assignment this week and help participate in it.