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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2014, Article ID 937842, 10 pages
Research Article

Modelling a Nurse Shift Schedule with Multiple Preference Ranks for Shifts and Days-Off

1Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
2Department of Tourism Information, Aletheia University, New Taipei City 251, Taiwan
3Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Changhua University of Education, Changhua 500, Taiwan

Received 4 October 2013; Revised 22 February 2014; Accepted 22 February 2014; Published 27 March 2014

Academic Editor: Ching-Ter Chang

Copyright © 2014 Chun-Cheng Lin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


When it comes to nurse shift schedules, it is found that the nursing staff have diverse preferences about shift rotations and days-off. The previous studies only focused on the most preferred work shift and the number of satisfactory days-off of the schedule at the current schedule period but had few discussions on the previous schedule periods and other preference levels for shifts and days-off, which may affect fairness of shift schedules. As a result, this paper proposes a nurse scheduling model based upon integer programming that takes into account constraints of the schedule, different preference ranks towards each shift, and the historical data of previous schedule periods to maximize the satisfaction of all the nursing staff's preferences about the shift schedule. The main contribution of the proposed model is that we consider that the nursing staff’s satisfaction level is affected by multiple preference ranks and their priority ordering to be scheduled, so that the quality of the generated shift schedule is more reasonable. Numerical results show that the planned shifts and days-off are fair and successfully meet the preferences of all the nursing staff.