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What does "The Great British Bake Off" have in common with e-rostering?

At first sniff, perhaps not much. Still, I think it’s an excellent allegory for the roster planning process. Which goes like this...

Mary and Paul provide a recipe – a simple set of instructions really. But cunningly put together, and with lots of hidden twists. This is read and followed by the contestants, to greater or lesser degree, until (tragic “fridgegate” accidents not withstanding) each delivers a subjective interpretation.

Paul and Mary may well pop around during the bake, to offer sage advice (Mary) or dollops of smugness (Paul). It’s unlikely that contestant offerings will look quite so fabulous as the template piece showcased to us at the start of the show. That’s no surprise, the “Tarty Twosome” have many, many of years of experience in this niche.

When Mel calls, “Stop baking”, it’ll be clear mistakes have been made. It’s a pressured situation. Bakers are only human. Humans make errors.

At the end the efforts are judged. So who will be star baker? The contestant who follows the rules most carefully? Probably. And (after a hug) someone sadly goes home. And attempts to get a book deal etc.

Anyway you know all of this - time to rewind…

Picture your busy Ward Manager during roster planning. First, there’s the Roster Policy [Recipe] to consider. This is a most complex and weighty tome, not just a wipe clean A4 laminate. Now can you say a hearty “YES” to all three of these questions?

  1. Is your Ward Manager a great nurse?

  2. Is your Ward Manager deeply interested in administration and IT?

  3. Has your Ward Manager been sufficiently master-classed in e-rostering?

The dark laws of e-rostering dictate that it is in fact not possible for all three of these most important conditions to have been met, so don’t kid yourself!

Meanwhile, bleepers are bleeping, telephones are ringing and patients and relatives are demanding attention - and all in an environment where there’s so much more at stake than avoiding a soggy bottom. It would be a miracle if mistakes were not made. Or if 12 attempts at planning the same roster didn’t deliver 12 different plans…Anyway hopefully, you can see why in many rosters, planning and data quality isn’t great?

Never ones to push out a problem without a solution, we say give your Ward Managers a break, a delish slice of Mary’s Sea Salt Caramel cake and introduce them to Sentinel from Oceansblue.

A bit like a wandering Paul and Mary (but with a robot brain) and armed with all of the best practice stuffed into your roster policy, it’ll stop them from ganaching their teeth and going cocoa-loco. It’ll check roster compliance before it’s too late. Too late, in this context means unsafe shifts and unnecessary bank and agency spend.

We can’t expect Ward Managers to bake perfect, even rosters all of the time, can we? Sentinel. Knocking the rough-puff edges from your rostering pastries since 2014.

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