Determining the Size and Skill-Mix of a Nursing Resource Team (NRT) Using Forecasting and Optimization
St. Michael’s Hospital recently created a Nursing Resource Team (NRT), a team of staff nurses whose role is to cover vacations, sick leaves and other short-term absences on the hospital’s nursing units.
A challenge of the program is determining the optimal size of the NRT. If there are not enough NRT nurses to cover absences, then the hospital relies on staff overtime and external nursing agencies to fill the gaps, which has significant costs. If the NRT is overstaffed, then the costs of the program become unnecessarily inflated due to supply exceeding demand.
LKS-CHART was asked to apply advanced analytics to determine the optimal number of NRT nurses to hire for the up-coming year. Historical nurse absence data has been used to build a forecast model to predict the weekly number of absences up to a year in advance.
These predictions can then be used to optimally determine the number of NRT nurses that will minimize the total of NRT, overtime, and agency costs.