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Behind the scenes of My VCH Projects: filling vacant shifts and decreasing relief not found (RNF)


Jessie Rodrigue (left) receives an award from Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer Darcia Pope at the IO Celebrations in June 2018.

Ever wonder how our staff are making Vancouver Coastal Health a better place?

What gave you the idea for this project? 

Relief not found (RNF) pertains to any time there's a staffing need that isn't filled for whatever reason. This can be a huge challenge: not enough frontline staff can result in poorer quality of care for patients, and an increased burden on staff members. It's a big deal, and something we aim to avoid at all cost. The new myVCH Projects approach gave us the opportunity to look at new tools that will help us tackle this challenge, which has been a concern for a long time.

Every unit at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has a portfolio clerk who is responsible for scheduling frontline staff, and they look 12 weeks in advance to book vacancies. Our goal was to have 80% of all shifts filled six weeks in advance, with 95% filled one week in advance.

Where are you now in the project?

We worked with managers across VCH to review the current scheduling process to fine tune where we are at and determine what needs to be improved. We created new tools to help with booking (such as a weekly vacancy report and a portfolio clerk checklist), and five managers trialed these in a pilot project. This allowed us to quantify if we were doing well or not – and the numbers have really improved!

The success of the pilot project was such a pleasant surprise. To say this is solely due to our project is a bit of a stretch because of all the complex variables involved, but I think it definitely helped. The new tools also helped improve collaboration between staffing and operations, which is a crucial aspect of improving our pre-booking of staff and managing our vacancies.

We are just about ready to go live with the tools for all our sites, and by early October all of VCH should be onboard. We're hoping we can have the same positive impact on other units.

How did using the new myVCH Projects pathway affect your project outcome?

The My VCH Projects approach gave us a helpful structure, and a means to escalate issues when we encountered roadblocks. This is one of the biggest strengths to the approach, and it was super helpful. The support from the Transformation Office was also very much appreciated.

What advice would you give to people using the myVCH approach for the first time?

Investing the time to get your project started right is very important. Trust the process and have your project sponsor truly onboard so that any roadblocks that come along can be quickly tackled and removed.

This was truly a team effort: I might be the project owner, but the results are thanks to everybody's commitment to doing the work and trialing the project approach with me. It's been a great experience!

Project Name: RNF – To have 80% of vacant shifts filled six weeks in advance

Initiative Owner: Jessie Rodrigue, Operation Director, Surgical Services

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