Putting together a nursing schedule, of all the industries in which personnel scheduling needs are highly involved and sophisticated, is in a league of its own in terms of the obstacles that are posed to schedulers.
Nursing schedule templates are especially tough to come by in an industry where there is a chronic shortage of workers and coverage is required 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Managers are dealing with a mix of part-time and full-time nurses with varying skill sets and qualifications. And, on top of all the practical difficulties, there’s one more factor that makes creating outstanding schedules critical: patient care.
It’s not easy to create a nursing schedule template that meets all of these requirements, but there are some things you can do to improve your shift scheduling process. Here’s where you should begin.
Implementing Nurse Scheduling Problem
A hospital supervisor must develop a three-day timetable for four nurses, according to the following conditions:
- Each day is divided into three shifts of eight hours each.
- Every day, a single nurse is assigned to each shift, and no nurse works more than one shift at a time.
- During the three-day period, each nurse is allocated to at least two shifts.
The parts that follow propose a solution to the nurse scheduling issue.
1. Importing Libraries
The code below imports the necessary library.
The following code below creates dummy data to work on this problem.
3. Creating model
The following code below creates a model.
4. Creating variables
The code below creates an array of variables for the problem. The array defines shift assignments to nurses:
If shift s is allocated to nurse n on day d, shifts[(n, d, s)] = 1, else it equals 0.
5. Assigning shifts to nurses
Following that, we’ll illustrate to you how to allocate nurses to shifts while keeping the following in mind:
- Every day, just one nurse is assigned to each shift.
- Each nurse does one shift every day at the most.
According to the code for the first condition, the sum of the nurses allocated to each shift is one.
Here’s the code that says each nurse may only work one shift per day. The total number of shifts allotted to each nurse is capped at one (“at most” because a nurse might have the day off).
6. Assigning shifts evenly
After that, we’ll demonstrate to you how to distribute shifts among nurses as equitably as possible. We can give two shifts to each of the four nurses because there are nine shifts during the three-day period.
There will be one shift remaining after that, which can be allocated to any nurse. In the three-day period, the following code assures that each nurse performs at least two shifts.
7. Solver parameters update
You can allow the search for all solutions in a non-optimization model.
8. Register a callback
On the solver, you must register a callback that will be called at each solution.
9. Launch a solver
The code below runs the solver and displays the first five results.
10. Final results
Here is the final result of nurse scheduling.
One of the most difficult problems in workforce management is nurse scheduling. Although it may appear counterintuitive to include nurses as active players in the process, it can actually reduce stress and aid in the creation of a useful nursing schedule template that can be re-used with small alterations.
Remember that technology is your ally and that there are specialist solutions available for staff scheduling challenges. Although it may appear to be easier to remain with tried-and-true methods, their ineffectiveness poses the biggest risk of all—for both patients and nurses.
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