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Kronos Survey Reveals Nurse Fatigue is Pervasive in the Healthcare Industry and Directly Linked to On-the-Job Errors
April 2nd, 2013 at 3:09 pm
DENVER, March 20, 2013 — A new survey titled “Nurse Staffing Strategy”, commissioned by Kronos Incorporated and conducted by HealthLeaders Media, revealed that nurse fatigue is pervasive in the healthcare industry and may negatively impact quality care delivery, patient and employee satisfaction, and operational costs. Sixty-nine percent of healthcare professionals surveyed said that fatigue had caused them to feel concern over their ability to perform during work hours. Even more alarmingly, nearly 65 percent of participants reported they had almost made an error at work because of fatigue and more than 27 percent acknowledged that they had actually made an error resulting from fatigue.
The “Nurse Staffing Strategy” survey showed that current scheduling processes in hospitals are largely manual — which can result in inefficient scheduling processes, a lack of visibility into the larger staff scheduling picture, little or no alerts to compliance with staffing policies or regulatory requirements — leading to extremely high levels of fatigue and absenteeism that can be disruptive to operations.
The majority of survey respondents either considered current staffing levels as inadequate (39 percent) or unsatisfactory (38 percent). Thirty-four percent said they use manual processes such as whiteboard and paper and more than 20 percent use basic programs such as online calendars and Excel to schedule. Only 28 percent stated that they have the ability to self schedule.
Fifty-seven percent noted that they had witnessed inequitably distributed workloads in the last 12 months and 54 percent had personally experienced an excessive workload. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they currently use 12-hour shifts within their organization.
Ninety-six percent reported having felt tired at the start of their shift and more than 92 percent while driving home after working their shift, both of which may negatively impact patient care and employee safety.
Sixty-three percent of respondents agreed that nurse vacancies impact scheduling and staffing overtime more often than anticipated during a payroll cycle. Despite the fact that 79 percent said that they monitor key performance metrics for overtime, absenteeism, rest periods taken, and deviations between scheduled and actual hours worked, it is often after the payroll cycle and therefore not preventable.
Also, according to the survey, the majority of organizations have policies to regulate shift length, overtime, and on-call shifts. But more than 56 percent neglect policies requiring rest periods and nearly 65 percent have no policy on cumulative days of extended shifts.
Without a centralized, automated scheduling system, it is nearly impossible to proactively handle staffing vacancies in an optimized, cost-effective manner. Kronos offers the market’s most advanced, clinically focused workforce management suite that helps align labor with anticipated demand while consistently adhering to all organizational and regulatory scheduling policies. Supporting the premise that there is no such thing as a static schedule, Kronos offers paperless workflow, mobile applications, and self service to more effectively manage the modern workforce.