Infusion therapy nurses -- a specialty most certainly on the rise -- are not only health-care professionals but serve as educators and resources to the patients they see on a regular basis. They are highly adaptable specialists who can work in any practice setting where IV therapy is delivered, which is increasingly performed inside special clinics and the homes of patients.
These nurses must possess a firm knowledge of venous access and phlebotomy within their medical and surgical experience. They are vital cogs in the health-care machinery of doctors, residents, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and administrators. They also shoulder tremendous responsibility in making sure patients are safe, and that care is of high quality: not just in IV delivery, but in evaluating someone’s response to therapy.
All of this is to say: infusion nurses tend to be passionate about what they do and are committed to the people and families who rely on them day in and day out, hour by hour.
To meet that commitment, the agencies or clinics that employ infusion nurses must do so thoughtfully. That begins with careful scheduling in order to maintain an adequate volume of clients -- a good practice not only for nurses, but for the administrators scheduling their time.
Toward the efficient use of infusion nurses
One of the major challenges with scheduling infusion nurses is managing the difference between care time, when nurses actively treating patients, and on-going time, when they simply monitor them. Key here is proper scheduling, which should align with the capacity of the infusion clinic. For instance, a single nurse can efficiently cover a three-chair clinic but if care time overlaps inefficiently, that nurse may struggle to carry the load. That then winds up requiring an agency to needlessly staff additional nurses -- or risk overworking its current staff.
This is the fine line: maintaining the right volume of clients without under- or over-staffing the clinics they visit. At risk here is nurse burnout, which is a very real problem within an industry that’s already experiencing a shortage of these skilled professionals.
To toe the line effectively, agencies can thrive with optimized scheduling built into a strong software suite.
Employ the right infusion scheduling technology
With the right technology in place, agencies can streamline scheduling, increase nurse utilization, and ultimately, provide better patient outcomes when it comes to infusion. With software, the more flexible and intuitive the better, as it will help administrators, schedulers, managers and care workers become more efficient despite any changing needs within an agency or the infusion market at large.
At AlayaCare, we think certain benefits set the bar for scheduling efficiency:
Group and facility infusion scheduling functionality: This helps nurses and other staff members view all patients scheduled during their shift, providing a complete picture of the day and the ability to batch cancel and/or mark patients as absent where needed. It also enables administrators to better ascertain capacity levels so that staff and resources can be capped where necessary. Lastly, staff and patients can be scheduled separately into the same group or facility, to expedite scheduling efficiencies for everything from clinics and shared care to day programs and training.
Maximize care time vs. on-going time: Managing active care time and on-going time are scheduling headaches. Software that offers care time settings to indicate the number of care time minutes per appointment can be a lifesaver here. AlayaCare’s software, for example, even features visual cues on the visit blocks themselves, with additional visibility within the facility finder to be released later this spring. By capturing and tracking this data, clinics can easily benchmark and increase efficiency within their scheduling practices.
Ease of use: Technology is only useful if it’s used -- and that means it must be simple and intuitive for nurses and other staff members. Drag and drop functionality enables quick and easy adjustments; color-coding and icons are helpful visual cues; hover effects easily display shift details and important visit information; and multiple scheduling views to suit individual preferences provide a comfortable interface. These are just a few of the benefits that can -- and should -- be in place.
If you aren’t yet familiar with AlayaCare’s industry-leading technology, request a free demo any time.