Optimizing Duty Rosters for Nursing Professions

In the research project launched in 2017, we are developing models and algorithms that support nursing staff in planning their duty rosters. In particular, the focus is on the identification of incompatible planning requirements and their resolution with the help of approaches in game theory.

Software Platform Playfully Designs Duty Rosters for Nursing Professions

Project GameOfRoster

2.9 million people were in need of care in 2015; by 2050 this figure is expected to rise to more than 4 million (source: Federal Statistical Office of Germany). However, the increasing demand for nursing staff is facing difficult working conditions. High physical and psychological stress as well as impairments of social life due to shift work characterise everyday working life.

At the same time, studies have shown that the involvement of employees in the design of their duty rosters and greater planning certainty with regard to their leisure activities result in a significantly better assessment of the work situation.

Improvement of the Work Situation through Team-Oriented Self-Organisation

The main goal of the project GamOR (GameOfRoster) is to improve the disadvantageous conditions of shift work. In the nursing professions, employees often suffer from restrictions in their social life. The duty planning process is therefore designed collaboratively through digital participation and enables team-oriented self-organization.

To achieve this goal, we pursue these goals:

  • development of the collaborative rostering process
  • the integration into the professional everyday life
  • the development and testing of a digital assistance platform
  • Ensuring sustainable motivation through experience-oriented design
Software gestaltet spielerisch Dienstpläne für Pflegeberufe
© Fraunhofer ITWM

Dr. Sebastian Velten und Rasmus Schroeder gehören im Fraunhofer ITWM zum Projektteam.

GamOR-Konsortialtreffen März 2018
© Fraunhofer ITWM

GamOR-Konsortialtreffen März 2018

Digitalization of Planning Assistance

The digital assistants of the software platform use the predefined key data such as staffing specifications and qualifications, legal regulations as well as ergonomic and collective bargaining regulations and then perform the following tasks:

  • the recording, planning and tracking of desired dates
  • coordination of working hours with colleagues and superiors
  • the consolidation of subplans and the control of overall plans

The mathematical basis for this are combinatorial models and algorithms for generating and merging roster alternatives. In addition, we implement game theory approaches to support and organize coordination processes. In addition, information such as staffing requirements, qualifications, legal regulations, ergonomic or collective bargaining regulations are automatically taken into account.

Work Scientific Monitoring and Evaluation of the Results

We want to ensure a holistic view of people, technology and organisation and guarantee a participatory process design in the development and exemplary introduction of the service platform. The transfer of the project results into practice is achieved both by Protestantische Altenhilfe Westpfalz as the central application partner and by integrating several companies from the social economy. To evaluate our results, we measure the satisfaction of the nursing staff at the start of the project and during and after the introduction of the collaborative service platform. With our results and experience we continue to examine the transfer possibilities of collaborative duty planning to other companies in the social economy.

© PAW/Dmitriy Shironosov

Hohe körperliche und psychische Belastungen sowie Beeinträchtigungen des sozialen Lebens durch Schichtarbeit prägen den Berufsalltag der Pflegeberufe.

GameOfRoster - GamOR
© GamOR

GamOR - Spielifizierte kollaborative Dienste-Plattform für Pflegeberufe

The central goals of collaborative duty planning, motivation and context sensitivity are guaranteed by a wellbeing oriented design process. This includes:

  • the development of positive and meaningful duty planning practices
  • the development of a design concept, in which the subjective experience of the employees plays a central role
  • iterative product development in several cycles of evaluation and concept adaptation

In the area of tension between high required temporal flexibility on the one hand and the need for plannable private life on the other hand, we develop a solution based on concrete practices that combines both requirements.

Project Partners

Six partners from research and industry work closely together in the GamOR project. The main areas of work are divided into the areas of organisation, technology and people.

  • Institut für Technologie und Arbeit
  • University in Siegen
  • SIEDA GmbH
  • Protestantische Altenhilfe Westpfalz
  • ergosign Ergonomie und Design GmbH

This research and development project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Europan Social Fund (ESF) in the progam »Innovationen für die Produktion, Dienstleistung und Arbeit von morgen« and supervised by Projektträger Karlsruhe (PTKA).