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Keywords:

  • Nurse Staffing;
  • Service Operations;
  • Stochastic Processes;
  • Workforce and Shift Scheduling

ABSTRACT

This article builds on prior research to develop shift scheduling models that include on-call overtime for service environments where demand is uncertain. The research is motivated by recent developments in nurse scheduling, such as laws prohibiting mandatory overtime and the popularity of self-scheduling systems. For single-period scenarios, models are developed, solution methods are described, and results are explored for a variety of environments. Results show that the use of on-call overtime can reduce costs slightly, with the amount of savings dependent on characteristics of the scheduling environment. The factor that most significantly affects cost savings is the cost of outside agency workers relative to overtime workers. In addition to lowering costs, on-call overtime greatly reduces reliance on outside agency workers, which can have important practical implications in terms of quality of service and workforce morale. Results based on single-period models motivate multiperiod formulations for single- and multidepartment scenarios, and solution methods are outlined for those cases. The possibility of using multiperiod models within a rolling horizon framework with forecast updating is discussed. This goes along with an extension of the traditional workforce management hierarchy that separates overtime and regular-time scheduling, as seen in practice with self-scheduling and shift-bidding systems.