A nurse sits on the steps outside of work, looking at the available shifts on the ShiftMed Flex nursing jobs app.

Introducing a flexible nurse staffing and scheduling system into your healthcare organization is no longer an option. It's imperative for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and optimal patient care. And believe it or not, creating work flexibility for your nursing staff doesn't have to be costly or complicated.

Traditional staffing and workforce models are proving to no longer meet the needs of the ever-evolving healthcare workforce. So, before we get into making flexible nurse staffing a reality within your organization, let's cover why it's more critical than ever.

In a Chief Healthcare Executive article, Beth Ulrich, the lead author of a nursing study released by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in 2022, said some nurses leave hospitals because they're weary of long hours while others are walking away because of rigid schedules.

Ulrich's insight underscores a critical truth within the healthcare sector. The need for flexible staffing transcends age and experience levels among nurses. Here are four reasons why ensuring flexibility for all nurses, regardless of their career stage, is imperative:

1. Retain Nurse Experience

Veteran nurses bring invaluable expertise to healthcare settings. However, they often face heavier workloads when younger colleagues exit the profession due to family obligations. By providing flexible scheduling options, veteran nurses are more likely to remain in the workforce, preserving patient care continuity and enhancing overall healthcare quality.

2. Reduce Nurse Burnout

Nursing is a demanding profession, and burnout is a pervasive issue that affects both newcomers and seasoned professionals. Flexible staffing allows nurses to manage their work-life balance better, reducing stress and preventing burnout while enhancing patient safety and satisfaction.

3. Enhance Nurse Recruitment

Flexible staffing is a powerful recruitment tool in a competitive labor market. More and more nurses are prioritizing work-life balance and flexibility when choosing employers. By promoting a culture of flexibility, you can attract top talent and differentiate your organization as an employer of choice.

4. Future-proof the Nurse Workforce

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, adaptability is critical. Flexible staffing practices prepare the workforce to respond to changing patient demographics, technological advancements, and emerging healthcare challenges. By fostering a culture of flexibility, organizations can future-proof their workforce and remain agile in the face of uncertainty.

An infographic that lists the results of ShiftMed's 2023 State of Nursing Report that surveyed 900 nurses.

5 Considerations Before Adopting a Flexible Nurse Scheduling System

When selecting a flexible scheduling system for your healthcare organization, you must consider these seven factors to ensure successful adoption:

1. System Scalability

A flexible scheduling system should be customizable to meet your healthcare organization's unique needs and workflows. It should allow for easy adaptation to different departments, specialties, and staffing requirements.

2. System Integration

A flexible scheduling system should seamlessly integrate with your existing platforms, including electronic health records, payroll, and workforce management systems, to ensure staffing efficiency and data accuracy.

3. Self-Scheduling for Nurses

A flexible scheduling system should offer various options to accommodate different scheduling preferences, such as self-scheduling and float pool management. It should also adapt to patient volume changes, staffing levels, and clinical priorities.

4. User-friendly Interface

A flexible scheduling system should have an intuitive, user-friendly interface that nurses and administrators can easily navigate. You want a system that has mobile accessibility, makes posting and claiming shifts as simple as possible, and allows nurses to update their credentials.

5. Reporting Capabilities

A flexible scheduling system should provide robust analytics and reporting capabilities to track key metrics such as overtime costs, staff utilization, and compliance with scheduling policies. Advanced reporting tools can help healthcare organizations identify trends, optimize staffing levels, and make data-driven decisions.

ShiftMed Flex Revolutionizes Nurse Staffing and Scheduling

For years, technological limitations have prevented healthcare organizations from quickly and cost-effectively adapting to fluctuating patient demands and adopting self-scheduling for nurses. But those days are over with ShiftMed Flex.

The image shows what two of the ShiftMed Flex app screens look like.

With ShiftMed Flex, your healthcare organization can take our award-winning nursing jobs app technology and make it your own. We customize our technology to align with your brand and workforce specifications—without having to pay any integration or licensing fees! All you have to do is pay a 6% routing fee for shifts worked.

  • Custom-branded nursing jobs app makes it easy for your internal and external float pool nurses to claim open shifts 24-7 within your organization.

  • Technology seamlessly integrates with your existing scheduling, payroll, and HRIS platforms with minimal, if any, IT support or involvement.

  • AI-based Intelligent Routing™ software identifies the best, most cost-effective staff matches for a shift and notifies those nurses in real-time via the app.

  • In-app incentives such as discounted Uber Health rides, Instant Pay, and Guaranteed Shifts® elevate your workforce operations and boost shift fulfillment rates.

The image shows a piggy bank with a stethoscope and explains how ShiftMed Flex prioritizes the most cost-effective options in an organization's staffing network.

Shift Fulfillment Starts With Internal Staff

ShiftMed Flex enables you to leverage your internal nursing staff before utilizing external healthcare labor to fill scheduling gaps. Why is this important?

  • Cost Efficiency: Utilizing an internal float pool can be more cost-effective than relying on external agency staff. Internal float pool nurses are already familiar with your facility's protocols, procedures, and patient population, reducing the need for extensive orientation and training associated with external agency staff, which can result in significant cost savings over time.

  • Staff Satisfaction and Engagement: Offering internal float pool opportunities can boost staff morale and engagement. Nurses appreciate the opportunity to gain experience in different clinical settings within your organization, which can enhance their professional development and job satisfaction, contributing to higher retention rates and a more stable workforce.

  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Internal float pool nurses are often more flexible and adaptable to changing organizational staffing needs. They may be willing to pick up additional shifts or adjust their schedules to meet fluctuating patient volumes or unexpected staffing shortages. This flexibility can help your organization maintain optimal staffing levels and minimize disruptions to patient care.

  • Community Building: Internal float pool arrangements can foster community and camaraderie among your staff members. Nurses who float between units develop relationships with colleagues across different departments, promoting collaboration and teamwork. This sense of unity can enhance communication, patient handoffs, and overall cohesion within your organization.

According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals spent a median of 4.7% of their total nurse labor expense on contract travel nurses. In early 2022, that number jumped to 38.6%, with some facilities reporting their travel nursing costs accounted for more than 50% of their nursing labor expense.

And while you can unlock the full potential of your internal staff with ShiftMed Flex, why stop there? Adding these customizable modules to the mix can further elevate your workforce operations:

Shift Mode

This add-on feature can help supersize your healthcare organization’s internal float pool, minimizing or eliminating your reliance on external staffing support. You can also categorize your shift vacancies by unit, setting, and location, providing unprecedented visibility and accessibility to internal staff members.

Credential Cloud

This add-on feature makes it easy for staff to upload their credentials directly to ShiftMed Flex from anywhere, eliminating the need for cumbersome paperwork and manual submissions. Furthermore, you can customize credential requirements based on worker type and location, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards while tailoring the onboarding process to meet your organizational needs. What's more, your administrators can review these credentials or delegate the task to ShiftMed.


In essence, prioritizing flexibility in staffing isn't just about accommodating individual preferences; it's about safeguarding the well-being of nurses, optimizing patient care, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the healthcare workforce. By recognizing the diverse needs of nurses at all career stages and offering tailored flexibility solutions, organizations can foster a supportive and resilient workforce that thrives in the face of evolving healthcare demands.

Book a demo to see what ShiftMed Flex can do for your nurse staffing and scheduling!

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