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Competence building with the use of nurse re-rostering


The global nursing shortage makes efficient use of these resources vital. Good
nurse rosters assist but are often static and span over a long period while the daily personnel
situation is more dynamic: for example, nurses get sick or take short notice days off. Commonly,
these absences are handled by hiring extra nurses when needed. However, earlier analysis
has shown that nurse rotation in combination with hiring is a much more efficient solution
when there exist a tool that efficiently re-rosters already planned nurses. Moreover, re-rostering
gets easier if the hospital possesses the best mix of experience level and special skills. In
other words, a more suitable competence profile makes re-rostering more beneficial. Nurse
rotation (regularly working in another department) builds up competence, which allows for
a more robust competence profile—departments become better suited to handle future personnel
absences. We present a prototype that optimizes the competence profile using a stochastic
model: it finds the optimal competence profile under the assumption that nurse rotation is
allowed and the hospital can buy in competence. Each profile is evaluated by different absence
scenarios. Our preliminary experiments show how a more robust competence profile is able to
result in a 40 % cost reduction for the hospital while retaining at minimum the quality of care.


Academic article




  • Hilde Elise Sæther Lilleby
  • Patrick Schittekat
  • Tomas Nordlander
  • Lars Magnus Hvattum
  • Henrik Andersson


  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • SINTEF Digital / Mathematics and Cybernetics



Published in

Lecture Notes in Management Science






70 - 77

View this publication at Cristin