Staff Rotas

Staff Rotas

Q.Can anyone help with how they plan/organise their staff rotas?

We are currently experiencing a little unrest with our team particularly with some of the team not wanting to move or change who they work with.

Given that we have 9 surgeries and they vary between orthodontic and general, we plan 1 month in advance and also feel it’s good to change around to increase skills/experience.

Any help from others who plan and organise a team would be valuable.

A.I work with a smaller team but have recently been through this with changes to all rotas and who works with who.

Obviously it really helps to have the team on board with the plans – do they all understand why you want to make changes.

Also can you suggest a trial period with a meeting in say two to three months time to review how everyone thinks the changes are working out – this will probably make people more willing to give it a try in the first place and most likely they will find it is not as bad as they expected – no one likes change eh! Give them plenty of notice if you can with the new rota and aim to make it as fair as possible.

If all else fails – maybe an incentive or reward for those willing to try and change.

You can of course go down the contract route – are they contracted to one particular way of working, will the changes affect their contract? If No, then really they have to give it a go at yours or the principles say so. If their contracts would be affected then more negotiation may be needed.

I honestly think, just persuading people to try to changes with no permanent decisions to be made until a review is usually the best way to get folk on board with ideas and plans.

A.I had the same issue, there is no magic formula where we can please everyone.

At my last practice (in Portugal), I made each nurse responsible for a surgery and that was where they worked no matter who the clinician or specialist was. They were solely responsible for keeping their surgery clean and fully stocked. This seemed to work the best for me and for them.

Currently I am running three practices, and after some trial and error, I have decided to create practice teams, both for receptionists and nurses.

I met will all the team individually and asked if they had any rota suggestions, taken all of their input on board and agreeing on some compromises, the new rota came out. One week they might have to work with someone that is not their favourite, but then the following week I will ensure that they are with the specialty they enjoy the most. (We have all the specialists here, so the work is varied).

I have always done the rota on a weekly basis, but with this in place I think I can safely release a monthly one, with set teams in place and set shifts, it should prove easier to do and less time consuming. So far it seems to be running better than before, but only time will tell, I guess.

A.Yes you are right, but this is not easy to do. What I do in my practice,

One dentist—one room—one nurse

You have to find out which dentist/nurse combination can work, then plan.


A.It would be good to understand a little more about the unrest as I sense it's a little more complicated than just a rota issue.

But, I've recently come across and found it very useful in managing a rota across different sites. It allows the rota to be seen by who you would like and also allows all employees to submit requests. As its cloud based it's easy to access and for people like me that on occasions find the additional of more software a little burdensome has proven quite simple to use.

Please be assured that I have no other connection or interest in RotaCloud. I came across them as I was searching for a way of making rotas simpler to manage for one of my client's.

A.We arrange the rota on a weekly basis, each dentist has 2 or 3 nurses (we call them main nurses) they mainly work with and they all rotate between the dentists, hygienists and scrub duties, some do reception work as well, they get quite a variation but generally would have 2-3 days working with the same dentist. If I ever need a nurse to work elsewhere it wouldn't be questioned they would just get on with this, it is their job after all, perhaps remind them of that.

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