Facing an acute shortage of surgical nurses, operating room suites in China are more and more aware of the need to use surgical nurses efficiently. This goal is hard to achieve due to the strong interactions between the nurse and the surgery scheduling process. This paper addresses the benefit of integrating elective surgery and surgical nurse scheduling in terms of nurse utilization. First, an integer programming (IP) model is proposed to schedule elective surgeries and surgical nurses simultaneously. Then an efficient genetic algorithm (GA) is proposed based on the IP formulation due to the computational complexity of the integrated scheduling problem. A case study using real-life data is presented to validate the performance of the integrated approaches (the IP model and the GA) by comparing them with a two-stage approach that schedules elective surgeries and surgical nurses sequentially. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
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