Midnight, 10 in the morning or just after dinner: no matter the time, registered nurses at St. Paul’s Hospital and on unit 5000 at Royal Unviersity Hospital have been testing out a pilot project in the Scheduling department. With a few clicks of a computer mouse and an e-mail, they can request some of the dozens of available shifts at their hospitals.

On the receiving end of the e-mails is Scheduling Administrative Assistant Emariel Dsalisa who confirms the shifts that haven’t already been spoken for by other RNs. “Not many people know about the pilot project yet,” he says, “but the nurses who are using it are getting the shifts they want.”
Within 24 hours, Staff Scheduling will send a confirmation of the shifts that awarded.

“We are looking for ways to make it easy for staff to schedule themselves when they are available for work,” says Kweku Johnson, Manager of Staff Scheduling. “This pilot project will show us if staff are interested in an electronic method and whether it works to simplify scheduling people into available shifts.”

Nurses log in to http://www.pspcentral.ca and there, they can see all the available shifts for the coming weeks. If they see a shift they want, they click on the e-mail address which automatically populates an e-mail with the required information. After hitting send, they await confirmation, usually with 24 business hours, that they got the shift.

Already, the pick up has been beyond expectations. Johnson says shifts are being filled quickly and the previous method of calling people has been reduced, at least a bit. “Typically, our scheduling staff have to make multiple phone calls to fill a shift. This way, people who are looking for work can be proactive in picking up shifts.”

The idea is to make it easier to fill shifts and ensure nursing units have adequate staff. Currently, the pilot is available to all SUN members at SPH and for SUN members in unit 5000 at RUH. The plan is to extend it to all of RUH in the coming weeks.

“Our dream is to make it possible for nurses to not only see the shifts online, but to book themselves into a shift automatically on the internet.”