The need for substitutes in nursing personnel increases with unexpected absences and during annual holidays. ​At the Children and Adolescents department, this need has been addressed by developing a ‘commando service’. These ‘commandos’ are trained and specialized nurses in permanent employment relationships whose job description includes rotations in two or three other units in addition to their home unit. They are required to be willing to shift between units as needed. At the moment, there are 30 ‘commando’ vacancies at the Children and Adolescents department.

Resource needs are reviewed every morning

The New Children’s Hospital has introduced daily morning leadership meetings to review the patient situation at all somatic care units of the New Children’s Hospital and Jorvi Hospital. The meeting is also for reviewing the day’s nursing roster at the various units.

This meeting is followed by the nursing resources distribution meeting, a.k.a. the commando meeting. It is for reviewing how many commandos are at work during the next 24 hours and how they need to be distributed according to the needs of the various units.

“Of course, sometimes we need more commandos than we have. But we always go by where the need is the most desperate,” explains Chief Nursing Officer Inger Mäenpää, who is in charge of the unit’s nursing duties.

Commandos are satisfied with their work

A commando may be needed to switch stations daily, even in the middle of a shift. Despite this, the active commandos are pleased with their work, and the workplace barometer shows it. They appreciate the possibility to influence their own work, and they learn something new every day.

When working at multiple units, they interact with many colleagues, so cooperation skills are important. High-quality nursing also requires uniform practices. Commandos carry common best practices with them to the various departments, thereby adding consistency to patient care and improving its quality.

“By expanding and improving our commando operations systematically, we will be better able to meet the resource and competence needs of the units,” says Mäenpää.