5 Must-Have Time Clock Features for Nurses

April 20, 2023 Kimberly Anderson-Mutch

5 Must-Have Time Clock Features for Nurses

As the manager of a skilled nursing facility, you know how challenging it can be to juggle the responsibilities of tracking employee attendance, keeping schedules filled, completing payroll, and maintaining quality resident care. If your long-term care facility still relies on outdated, slow legacy systems, you might be wasting valuable time and labor with manual processes. 

Manual processes leave you at a significant disadvantage, which can lead to higher costs, higher nurse turnover, and difficulty attracting and retaining skilled nurses. An innovative time tracking system provides several benefits and enables you to maximize the time and efforts of your nurses and administrative teams. 

How Time Tracking Software Can Help Your Skilled Nursing Facility

Implementing efficient workforce management software gives your facility access to many time clock features that can help you streamline operations, reduce labor costs, and give your nurses more control over their schedule. The following must-have features demonstrate the power of role next-generation time clocks to advance multiple objectives.

1. Automatic Tracking and Monitoring

The National Healthcare Expenditure (NHE) is expected to grow by over 5% per year until 2030, and considering that Federal and state government budgets are already being stretched from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, your long-term care facility may also be affected by increased costs. Expenditures associated with long-term health care services are also increasing to support the needs of older adults residing in long-term care or assisted living facilities. 

This means that your skilled nursing facility may need to find ways to reduce unnecessary costs, such as excessive overtime. Without a streamlined, automatic way to track and monitor your staff members' attendance and hours, it can be easy to suddenly see many hours of unscheduled overtime come up when you go to process payroll. Here are some ways you can reduce these expenses with the help of nursing time clocks:

Enforce Attendance Policies—Automatically 

Though often overlooked, routine attendance policy violations drain a healthcare facility’s bottom line. For example, staff members often punch into work a few minutes early and punch out late. Though many instances may be justified, the practice adds up to big expenses and often triggers unnecessary overtime.

Advanced staff time tracking and integrated staff scheduling can help stop these expenses before they start. Equipped with sophisticated time tracking software, the time clock automatically compares new punches against the employee’s schedule and restricts early, late, and unscheduled punches. Nurses who arrive early must wait to punch in while those who are not scheduled to work must obtain manager permission before they can punch into work.

Eliminate Buddy Punches

Workers can no longer cover for tardy or absent co-workers by entering their colleague’s badge ID and access code. The time tracking system can automatically confirm the worker’s identity though biometric recognition capabilities as well as the integrated mobile and corresponding QR code. 

The time-sensitive punch in window limits access to one staff member and prohibits them from inputting a “buddy’s” information. Time clocks equipped with thermal sensing also validate the employee’s identity while documenting their temperature and sending the results to the integrated staff scheduling system.

Improve Productivity

Nurses can punch in and out of work six times faster with an intelligent, touchless time clock. They complete punch in requirements quickly on their mobile workforce management app and then present the corresponding QR code to the time clock. 

As long as they comply with the schedule, they can quickly enter the facility while the necessary employee ID and punch information is automatically sent to the integrated scheduling and time tracking system.

See how Trilogy streamlines scheduling at 110 facilities with SmartLinx.

2. Efficient Scheduling

Optimizing your scheduling and staffing practices can help you avoid being understaffed. A survey found that staffing shortages are the top reason that motivates nurses to leave their jobs, with 60% of staff reporting that having inadequate staff makes them feel like they have less control over their careers. 

This research also indicated that short staffing makes nurses feel that they cannot take a break without feeling guilty because there are not enough nurses to care for patients. You can eliminate these issues with an efficient scheduling and time tracking tool that helps you maintain a smooth workflow for your nurses—and your bottom line.

Systems that are fully integrated with time tracking solutions share staff scheduling and attendance data in real-time. Administrators can get at-a-glance views of scheduling gaps for multiple facilities and drill down for more information. The workforce management system will then display who is qualified and available to take the open shifts. 

Not only that, a workforce management system will also tell administrators who can work each shift without incurring overtime. At the click of the mouse, you can offer the open shift to those workers who will see the requests on near real-time on their mobile app and respond accordingly.

5 Must-Have Time Clock Features for Nurses

3. Easy Access to Schedules

Building positive engagement among nurses has been proven to promote commitment and retention in healthcare organizations. In addition, high nurse engagement rates have also been associated with improved patient outcomes and safety, lower staff turnover, better workforce performance, and higher levels of job satisfaction. 

You can invest in your nurses' well-being by implementing the right solutions to ease their workload, allow them access to their schedules right from their mobile device, and make it easier for them to request time off. These perks help reduce burnout among your staff, which can lead to many other issues like turnover, medical errors, and poor patient care.

If you want to improve staff engagement, you must alleviate as much frustration as possible and show employees what matters to them matters to you. Interactive, intelligent time clocks tell employees their needs matter.

They start by providing staff the flexibility they need to get their workday off to the best start. Of course, touchless access helps ward off germs and demonstrate your commitment to prevent inadvertent virus transmission. 

Mobile apps grant anytime anywhere access to scheduling and other key data. By integrating the two tools in an intuitive platform, you help nurses focus on the important work ahead of them rather than having them jump through multiple, little hoops just to get started. For example, they no longer need to run to the HR department or access, complete, and email forms to submit a PTO requires but can simply use the mobile app or the time clock’s interactive touchscreen.

Put Answers at Employee Fingertips 

However, suppose a staff member forgot their phone. You need a time clock that can quickly and easily verify their identity, align it with their work schedule, and grant access. Intelligent time tracking devices with biometric capabilities, like fingerprint scanning, can do this.

Advanced time clocks let authorized users view schedules, request changes, and fix their punch history in seconds. 

Enable Staff to Balance Work-Life Responsibilities

Every day, long-term care and senior living nurses walk a tightrope, balancing their efforts between two deserving parties: residents and family members.

In addition, many senior care workers juggle shifts at multiple facilities and routinely work rotating shifts, double shifts, and split shifts. These fluctuating demands can be tough to keep up with and consequently place lot of stress on worker.

4. Touchless Time Entries for Improved Sanitation

As the population ages, senior living and post-acute care facilities will play an increasingly important role in our society, taking care of some of the most vulnerable members of society.

Unfortunately, this commitment can put them in harm’s way as they risk contracting a serious illness. Recent years proved how susceptible both senior care staff and residents are to the ravages of a pandemic, like COVID-19 and its subsequent variations.

To counter the spread, operators consequently implemented strict new infection control procedures, social distancing, lock downs, and health screenings. However, many of these practices proved unsustainable for the long-term because they required extensive manual resources or compromised the quality of the residents’ lifestyle.

Fortunately, help arrived via new and improved technologies. For example, new time tracking with integrated staff scheduling systems can fight the spread of infectious bacteria without expensive manual efforts.

Limit the Spread of Germs

New touchless technology enable workers to quickly punch into work without touching the time clock. For example, Smartlinx Time and Attendance Tracker lets staff complete the punch in requirements on their SmartLinx Go mobile app and hold up a QR code to the time clock. 

The time clock does the rest, recording their staff information, tracking their time, and sending it to the integrated employee scheduling and workforce management system.

Help Prevent Access to Staff With Fevers

Not only that, today’s most innovative time clocks also include thermal-sensing features that automatically take nurses’ temperatures when they stand before the time clock, even if they’re wearing a face mask.

Temperatures are securely recorded and transmitted to the workforce management software system. When the time clock detects a fever, it denies access to the employee or contractor and instructs them to contact their manager.

Screen Nurses for Virus Symptoms

Today’s time tracking solutions protect staff confidentiality and ensure they answer CDC—approved health screening questions before they start working. Rather than requiring dedicated workers man the entrances and screen incoming staff, long-term care operators are turning to intelligent time clock and integrated mobile workforce management apps and cutting costs in the process. 

The integrated time tracking and workforce management system presents the questions and confidentially stores staff member information.

5. Mobile Compatibilities for Fast-Paced Facilities 

Integrating a mobile app in addition to an updated time clock system benefits your skilled nursing facility from the top down. Reducing the time it takes to complete tasks and lightening the workload with automation makes it easier for your administrative and nursing teams to perform better and more efficiently. As a result, your skilled nurses will have more free time to spend with patients and residents, allowing them to build meaningful connections and improving overall satisfaction. 

Here are some additional ways the Smartlinx Go mobile app can benefit your facility:

  • Empower your staff: Your nurses can access real-time scheduling, pay, and personal data any time or place. You can easily keep them informed with real-time notifications of available open shifts, new schedules, scheduling changes, and time-off request approvals delivered in their preferred communication method.
  • Reduce labor costs: By easily accessing scheduled shifts, tardy arrivals, and overall hours directly in the mobile app, you can quickly identify which nurses are likely to incur overtime and share open shifts with nurses with less hours, helping to reduce labor costs.
  • Improve facility compliance: Mobile workforce management apps, like Smartlinx Go, make it easy to send automatic notifications about scheduling changes and help you keep every shift properly staffed. Reducing short-staffing can help you maintain compliance and aim for higher facility ratings.

See How Smartlinx Can Transform and Streamline Routine Business Operations

See How Smartlinx Can Transform and Streamline Routine Business Operations

Running an efficient, properly staffed senior care facility can be challenging without the right tools. If your goal is to reduce costs, improve staff scheduling, and provide your nurses with better tools to improve engagement, consider how Smartlinx can help improve your operations. 

Integrated time tracking and staff scheduling systems can help alleviate some of their burdens by offering nurses a way to easily keep up with their complicated schedules. In addition to automatically notifying staff of new schedules, these workforce management solutions can give workers access to their schedules and key capabilities anytime, anywhere via a mobile app, like SmartLinx Go.

No matter where they are, your nurses can access up-to-date schedules, swap shifts with co-workers, and submit and view requests. To see how an integrated time clock can improve operations at your organization, contact us today to learn more or request a demo online

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