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Do you support the move to e-rostering?

  • Comments (7)

Drake R (2014) Five dilemmas associated with e-rostering. Nursing Times; 110: 20, 14-16.


Increased use of e-rostering is likely to benefit nurses and patients, but will also create dilemmas for staff. Rosters may not be flexible enough to accommodate day-to-day changes, and may also foster unfair treatment and disempower staff.

5 key points

  1. The government is tendering for a workforce management system for the NHS costing up to £1bn
  2. While manual rostering systems may be unsatisfactory, e-rostering brings new dilemmas
  3. Fairness is the most commonly cited objective of roster policies at NHS trusts, with productivity second
  4. Today’s e-rostering systems are the forerunners of more sophisticated systems that will change the way nurses work
  5. Employment contracts in future may specify a number of “on-call” hours to be worked at short notice

Let’s discuss…

  • Do you support the move to e-rostering?
  • What dilemmas do you envisage e-rostering causing?
  • What problems have you found with current rostering systems?
  • Comments (7)

Readers' comments (7)

  • e-rostering systems have to have rules built into them by the organisation using them. In my experience, rules are built in to ensure good skill mix on shifts, but not to protect staff from impossible shift patterns. There should be some sort of agreement as to what are reasonable shift patterns for staff to work to protect their health and well-being, and to enable them to get regular sleep, ie. not working random nights to fill a gap, 10 days worked in a run, etc. Nurses are not machines, and should not be programmed like machines

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  • Anonymous

    Having worked with e roistering I was not impressed with the last one, for the following reasons. We were only allowed 4 requests a month and that included study days, and staff meetings, medical appointments or requesting a day off prior to annual leave etc. On this system there was a trust roistering manager who thought it was ok for us to do 12 hours on , twelve hours off, 12 hours on. This meant that it was difficult getting a couple of days off together to go on trips or see families, let alone have a good night out. There was no loop hole to put the correct time we went off duty so overtime was not paid, or given back. Ideally it should be a better system but management have got to understand the needs of the staff as well as the patients. I agree with the previous comments

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  • Anonymous

    I work in Malta where our specialist unit has a system whereby the staff roster is put on the unit's group page on facebook. I must say I am unsure about the privacy of this means of contact. I also , along with others of the team find it an inconvenience at times, also sometimes difficult to access the group's page. I do not like the thought that we have to firstly go to a social website to see my roster, and secondly that our roster is often changed at the last minute without actually being asked if its convenient. I have had to change many appointments at the last minute then had to wait ages for the next one.
    Granted hopefully in the UK the e-rostering will be done in a safer mode but not everyone has access to internet continuously to access whatever form is used.

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 14-May-2014 9:53 am

    lucky you working in Malta.

    the way your rostering is being managed sounds most unprofessional. not everyone has or wishes to use Facebook and apart from the privacy and personal safety issues a nurse may be unaware of any changes. you cannot spend all day and every day glued to a mobile phone or other digital gadget!
    where there is necessary change at short notice the nurse should be informed personally. In your place I would contest, or even refuse to accept, the system and request a professionally run service in its place.

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  • e rostering was a nightmare for us and was used as another tool to bully us with.

    It (CCC) paid no attention to the EC directive of 11 hours between shifts, it put us on days and then nights and then days with no thought about what our human bodies needed to move from one time zone to another.The team who were supposed to make sure that CCC didn't make too many " mistakes" had never done shifts themselves so had no empathy, they were just "jobsworths". So they refused to make changes 99 times out of 100. even when the e Rota put us to work in the middle of our holidays.( and it frequently did this).

    E rota's do not save time and they certainly cause disillusionment of the staff so if hospitals want to keep their staff they would be well advised to steer clear of these blasted things.

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  • Anonymous

    We are going to pilot an eroster shortly. I must say, I am quaking in my boots at the previous comments

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  • E-rostering systems can be used for good or evil. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Penny that many of the managers who purchase the systems (a) have never worked shifts and (b) have never been rostered. Consequently, from their perspective, it's all about productivity - a return to the old-fashioned 'time and motion' study. The systems are sold (and bought!) based upon the number of FTE that can be saved per ward. On paper the savings look excellent - if you're not the person working the shifts. However, if the systems are used to help staff comply with rules within a self-rostering environment, then they can be quite empowering. Unfortunately, in my experience (I've been involved with over a dozen implementations) e-rostering becomes yet another tool of management command and control. The vendors fleece the NHS (have you seen how much these systems cost?) and the managers oppress the nurses...

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