Nurse Scheduling Problem: An Integer Programming Model with a Practical Application
We use a binary integer programming model to formulate and solve a nurse scheduling problem (NSP) which maximally satisfies nurse preferences. In a practical application of a VA hospital, besides considering the scheduling of two types of nurses (registered nurses and licensed practical nurses), two other types of employees (nursing assistants and health care techs), one nurse manager, and a clinical nurse leader are also included in our model. Most of these employees are working full-time. In addition, we distinguish the schedule of weekdays and weekends with different requirements and different preferences for employees. Besides the requirements for each shift, we consider requirements for specific employees in some shifts in practical situations. The seven shifts each day do not necessarily have the same length in our model. Vacation time of employees is also considered in our model. Thus, the requirements for nurse scheduling are complicated and the objective is to maximize the satisfaction of preferred schedules of all these employees, including both nurses and other staffs. The presented model is complex, but efficiently solvable, satisfying the set of requirements in a particular application in a VA hospital.
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