While Texting ON the Job is Unacceptable, Texting FOR the Job is Preferable

By November 20, 2015Healthcare

About the Author:
Derek Frer is the Customer Development Director for Swift Shift a workforce management software company based in London. If you would like to receive blog posts to your email sign up here or follow him on twitter.

The use of technology for personal communication has always been discouraged while employees are on the clock. However, that doesn’t mean cell phones don’t have their place in the work field. As the manager or supervisor of a medical facility, you probably wish your employees used their phones to communicate more effectively outside of work. Just recall the last time you had to get a CNA’s shift covered on short notice…

A major problem with changing or covering shifts after schedules have gone out is that communicating with your staff is a slow process. The fact that each of your CNAs owns a cell and has it within reach 24 hours a day DOES NOT guarantee instantaneous communication! A sick CNA probably has to call 3-4 coworkers and leave messages with each one asking them to cover. Then the CNA talks to you, and you make the same calls and leave the same messages. After that, you waste time waiting for a return call and wondering if you’ll be understaffed that day.

If you face this scenario regularly, it’s time for a change. Two simple fixes to slow communication problems are: texts and apps. If you change the way you and your employees utilize cell phones, you’ll experience the revolution in communication you’ve needed.

Working medical staff need to focus on patient care. So of course you discourage texting on the job. However, always encourage texting for the job. Just think about it – you probably don’t like answering your personal cell when an unfamiliar number calls. (It could be a solicitor who underhandedly got your information!) But you’ll read every text that comes your way, whether you recognize the number or not.

Your staff’s the same way – they’re more likely to immediately read and respond to text messages than they are to listen to a voicemail and return a call. Consider making text groups for each department and sending automatic schedule updates.

The other way to improve communication is to download a phone app and make sure each of your CNAs, nurses, etc. have the app, as well. Apps are used to communicate with individuals quickly by sending mass alerts. This is another important asset for the healthcare professional who needs to communicate with a large staff without detracting from the time spent in personal patient care. Employees can also use the app to swap shifts and request time off.

When technology is used appropriately, it improves the work field. When it comes to healthcare, being understaffed can jeopardize your patients. Try texts and apps to improve communication and stay fully staffed.


Finding the right employee at the right time is a daily struggle for healthcare managers.  Countless hours are spent calling staff to cover shifts both short notice and into the future.  Having peace of mind to deliver a high quality and reliable service is critical.  SWIFT SHIFT solves this by providing a simple to use mobile app that allows managers to communicate available shifts by text, email, and push notifications.

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