Project Description

The Challenge

The nurse scheduling is an operational problem to finding an optimal way to assign nurses to shifts, typically with a set of hard constraints which all valid solutions must follow, and a set of soft constraints which define the relative quality of valid solutions. Each nurse has their own wishes and restrictions, as does the hospital involving the assignment of shifts and holidays to them.
What they needed was a tool that could help them plan. My job was to design a tool that worked for them, not against them.

My Process

A problem well-understood is half solved. That’s why research is the most important part of my process. I did interviews with nursing matrons, supervisors, head nurses, nurses and doctors to understand the hierarchy, interaction points, how a typical quarter of the year passes with different work shifts and personal sacrifices. Smart planning requires seeing the big picture and specific details at the same time. I had to display a lot of information at once and help them make sense of it. I went through dozens of sketches before arriving at a solid direction.

The Solution

The solution both respects the constraints of the nurses to boost their morale and fulfills the objectives of the hospital. Nurses can see through their calendar well in advance and trade their working days and off days with other nurses who qualifies the shift requirements. On the other hand, this reduces the burden on operations department to update the changes to schedule multiple times. The interface apart from being flexible, also leads the user to the right conclusions by providing contextual tips and notifying about conflicts.

Conceptual Progress

Skills Needed

In order to see this project through completion, I had to formulate a plan and execute different roles; from understanding the users through empathy mapping to designing user interface. The approach in principle could see the right way forward to the solution they wished they knew how to ask for.

Design Research
User Journeys
Information Architecture
User Interface

Considerations & Results

My schedule keeps changing and there is nothing I could do. I miss out on smallest things like planning a movie with friends or attending a birthday party of my friend’s daughter. I wish there is something about this job I could control.


It’s not an easy task to keep the interests of the nurses and maintain the hopital’s operations at the same time. I know, sometimes we are hard on deciding their schedules to work overtime, but I can’t help.

Operations Manager

There are many ways to do this wrong and only a few ways to do it right. I’ve designed solutions to their big problems, plus enhancements they didn’t know they needed. The stakeholders can’t wait to see the product working for real.