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It has been Patient Scheduling's goal to develop an integrated scheduling system that efficiently produces and manages patient-focused schedules while enhancing departmental operations.
The Patient Scheduling department is staffed with Registered Nurses. St. Jude is one of only a few hospitals in the country to staff their scheduling department in this way. Eighteen nurses take care of 25,000 patient appointments a month. We schedule in nine primary clinics, 11 sub-specialty clinics and 28 additional departments. Our schedulers also post patient appointments with outside clinicians into our system – this helps prevent scheduling “over-bookings” for our patients.
Why are nurses critical to the success of Patient Scheduling?
The Scheduling and Nursing combination is a success. Resource utilization and the number of procedures is going up each month! Patient satisfaction is going up at the same time.
“As a scheduler, I am able to give the families a voice in their care. By interacting with the patient and family, I am able to schedule appointments that are individualized in order to disrupt their life as little as possible. Quality time with family is important. The patients deserve as much as I can give.” Annette Green (RN of 20 years)
Parents are given a Scheduling Survey, so they can list the child’s preferences. Schedulers ask if the child has a nap time each day, and we schedule around this time.
“Parents feel so helpless. We give them some choices in their child’s care, and it means a lot to them.” Kari Arroyo (RN of 6 years)
“This role, by far, has been the most challenging and rewarding in my career. Being a part of the St. Jude ministry to children is very satisfying. I do love what I am doing now.” Cindy Beumont (RN of 23 years)
James Magness is crystal clear on his role at St. Jude. “I am first and foremost a patient advocate,” (RN of 9 years)
Patient Scheduling has an expanding patient population. New MRIs are being installed this year. New clinical specialties are added each year. A new combined patient and research building will be completed by 2007. St. Jude is growing and Patient Scheduling will meet its needs.