March 8, 2007 —Milwaukee— Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital is the first hospital in Wisconsin to use an Internet-based scheduling system that allows nurses to submit requests from their own personal computers for extra shifts.
Like most hospitals, CSM uses agency, or temporary nurses, to fill shift vacancies. However, agency nurses are more expensive than using currently employed nurses on open shifts.
“We’d prefer to use our own nurses to fill shift vacancies when they do occur as they know our hospital and patients best,” said Sue Scholz, RN, manager, Nursing Support Services at CSM.
Bidshift works by posting all open shifts two weeks in advance for a four-week time period, Scholz explained. Nurses who are interested in additional hours or those who work for the CSM internal pool, who have already committed to a full work week can go online and indicate their preference for working additional shifts at that point. Then, each unit or department director will make a staffing decision based on the number of CSM nurses who are interested in working those extra shifts.
“Right now, when vacancies occur, each department or unit director the staffing coordinators need to get on the phone and call nurses at home to fill the openings,” Scholz said. If that fails, agency nurses are called in, she said.
Scholz said using Bidshift will reduce the need for agency use and the increased cost associated with temporary nurses and provide CSM with a real selling point to nurses looking for new jobs.
“As a nurse, I would appreciate the ability to pick up extra shifts without having to be in the hospital to learn about the vacancies,” she said.
She said she heard about Bidshift from a colleague at another Ascension Hosptial that had used it successfully. Scholz said Bidshift’s applications might extend into other fields such as respiratory therapists and pharmacists. Additionally, Bidshift will promote cross-campus experience, allowing a nurse from Ozaukee to choose a shift at Columbia, for instance.
Columbia St. Mary’s first use of Bidshift will start March 12th for the four-week time period beginning on March 25th.