Salaries paid to nursing personnel constitute the largest chunk of a hospital's budget. Therefore, this human resource must be utilized efficiently. Hospitals provide continuous service without the exception of holidays and personal preferences. This causes the nurses' discontent in shift scheduling. And the consequence of this discontent is the nurse shortage. This and the pressures on hospitals to limit costs increase the importance of the nurse scheduling problem. Scheduling nursing personnel in hospitals is very complex due to the variety of conflicting interests or objectives between hospitals and nurses. Also, the demand, which varies widely 24-h a day 7-day a week is skill specific and hard to forecast. In the face of this complexity, the present nurse scheduling models have met with little success. In this paper, we propose a more flexible decision support system that will satisfy the interests of both hospitals and nurses through alternative models that attempt to accommodate flexible work patterns as it integrates time of the day (TOD) and day of the week (DOW) scheduling problems.
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