There should be a trust-wide policy, which is published, with only a minimal number of additional "rules" for individual wards areas.
The system is fairer as it is transparent and providing it is maintained and managed well, with regular updating and a good eRoster team in place it will achieve a great deal.
Requests for off duty can be seen by all staff and should help balance annual leave also across each roster.
Being able to request online, remotely, is a benefit as is the use of eTimesheets - the latter especially saves time and costs enabling funds to be put to better use for patient care.
As you can tell, I am fully in favour of this particular technology.
Thought I would revisit this article and still stand by my views having now over 3+years of experience with rostering systems.
eRostering does work if regularly maintained and set up correctly. If the rules are set appropriately, if personal flexible patterns have been formally agreed, then all these affect how autorostering assigns shifts.
With regard to night duty, there are Trust set rules and then area rules. I have seen areas where staff prefer to work 7 nights on, 7 nights off and that actually seems to work quite well. However, there does need to be a balance.
Rosters should and must be planned around the skill mix required to deliver the care to the patients - with the patients central to the workforce numbers. Rather than planning rosters about what people wish to work...controversial but important to say nevertheless.
Comment on: Safe staffing on the table
Using eRostering to maximimum benefit, producing meaningful data to ward managers, matrons, Heads & Directors of Nursing - plus a monthly Trust Board report would be a starting point.
Ensuring the levels are correct, making sure ESR is up to date and using eRostering for reporting on sickness/absence would help consolidate data on the workforce. ESR is often 6 weeks behind on sickness reporting so eRoster can be in real time.
However, how many organisations know that? How many know how well they are using their systems? How often to they "healthcheck" those systems? As the system is only as good as it is maintained.
Lets start with the basics - the rest will follow..
Comment on: NHS must value its nursing staff, warns report
In times of great activity and masses of negative publicity for nursing staff, it is more important than ever that organisations take time to engage with staff - that simple thank you can do so much.
This report is very timely and I hope that it will help focus on support systems being considered to assist staff rather than blame them constantly regardless.
It is clear from evidence that highly stressed staff become quickly demotivated and less able to cope. Therefore support systems are very much needed.
I am yet to be convinced that 12 hour shifts are the best way to help staff cope with the heavy emotional, physical and mental stresses in todays hi-tech, hi-dependency environment that is the norm in the acute sectors.
The Schwartz rounds are a good idea and replicate something like the supervision sessions Midwives regularly hold. This time to reflect with colleagues is what has been lost with the reduced handover times and lack of teaching time on the wards which used to be possible.
I have written previously that staff who feel valued will have a positive impact on patient care delivery. This report clearly supports that view.
Every mother has the right to choose and be given support to make the choice that is right for her.
Although an advocate of breast feeding, I will not judge anyone who chooses a different method.
Information, choice and a non-judgemental approach would be welcomed by many I am sure.