Scheduling Nurse Shifts Using Goal Programming Based on Nurse Preferences: A Case Study in an Emergency Department

Document Type: Original Article


1 Health Management Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Management, Islamic Azad University Kerman Branch, Kerman, Iran


Nowadays, nurses scheduling is one of the most important challenges with which health care centers are encountered. The significance of nurses’ work quality has led researchers to be concerned about scheduling problems, which have an impact on nurses’ performance. Observing the interests of hospital and patients, providing their satisfaction, and meeting their needs are among the main objectives of scheduling, which are focused on in this research. For this end, goal programming is used for modeling and problem solving of the nurses scheduling process. Hence, a developed comprehensive model with 7 goals related to management aspects and nurses’ interests have been designed considering emergency department characteristics of a large hospital in Tehran as a case study. Finally, the model was solved via GAMS software. The model resulted in an optimal pattern for nurses scheduling in a 28-days horizon. According to the definition presented in the modeling process, 3 goals associated with proportion, sequence, and isolation of working days were fulfilled. However, 4 goals of nurses’ interests, number of working days, and isolate off days have illustrated a few deviations due to resource limitation. In addition, a comparison between the results and the current scheduling indicated a higher efficiency of optimal scheduling. Sensitivity analysis of the nurses scheduling also revealed that with an increase in the number of nurses, the goals would improve significantly. Implementation of this scheduling not only improves work justice and performance of the nurses but also increases their satisfaction from the scheduling process.


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