Nurses at the Wilmot Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center noticed an increase in patient volume at the outpatient oncology infusion center. With limited space and difficult scheduling around the original hours of operation (7 am–7 pm), nurse leaders at the center decided to expand normal hours to include Saturday and Sunday infusion appointments, which required a change in RN staffing at the center.

Cassie Adams, BSN, RN, OCN®, Jen Galdys, MSN, BSN, RN, OCN®, Colleen Merry, RN, Corinne Porter, MSN, BSN, RN, Kelly Robbins, BSN, RN, and Linda Ullrich, BSN, RN, OCN®, presented their updated infusion schedule model during a poster session at the ONS 41st Annual Congress in San Antonio, TX. The poster was titled “Making Oncology Treatments More Accessible: Creating a Weekend Infusion Schedule Model.”

Beginning in June 2015, four staff RNs formed a committee to represent the unit. They developed weekend shift templates, and the staff voted on the preferred template. The unit implemented a paper self-scheduling system that closely resembled the Med Scheduling System (MSS) while waiting for the electronic system to be completed.

The researchers noted that it was important to involve all RN staff in the decision-making process by addressing concerns and providing updates. Once weekend schedules were implemented, work schedules during the week were lightened to decrease the risk for RN errors and burnout.

In March 2016, 65% of the staff participated in the weekend scheduling satisfaction survey. When asked how satisfied the staff was with the new shift requirements, 69% were very satisfied, 23% were satisfied, 8% were neutral, and none responded that they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. When asked how satisfied the staff was with the shift sign-up process, 58% were very satisfied, 33% were satisfied, 8% were neutral, and none responded that they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. When asked if they were looking forward to using MSS, 69% said “yes,” 8% said “no,” and 23% reported “mixed feelings.”

The researchers noted that making a significant change to a nurse’s work schedule can impact their life. “Oncology RNs are passionate about their role, are patient-focused, and willing to make this change,” the authors wrote.

Adams, C., Galdys, J., Merry, C., Porters, C, Robbins, K., & Ullrich, L. (2016). Making oncology treatments more accessible: Creating a weekend infusion schedule model. Poster presented at the ONS 41st Annual Congress, San Antonio, TX, April 28–May 1, 2016.

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