Multi-Objective Optimization of Nurse Scheduling Problem by Modeling Teamwork and Decision Making Style

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Industrial Engineering and Center of Excellence for Intelligent-Based Experimental Mechanic, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


This study presents a multi-objective nurse scheduling model by considering and integrating teamwork and decision making styles in order to maximize job satisfaction. To achieve high job satisfaction, teamwork which minimizes incompatibility among team members is considered. Teamwork has sustainable impact on job satisfaction in healthcare. In this study, a new mathematical model is proposed for scheduling nurses based on teamwork. First, nursing teams are generated by considering decision making styles. Then, each team is assigned to work shifts in the planning horizon. The unique multi-objective mathematical model considers the inconsistency of nurses’ decision making styles, reliability of teams, allocation costs and penalty of violating soft constraints as the objective functions. A real case study is considered to show the applicability of the proposed model. Finally, the proposed multi objective model is solved using goal programming method. Sensitivity analysis shows the robustness of the proposed mathematical programming model and solution methodology.


Kalisch, B. J., and Lee, K. H. (2013). Variations of nursing teamwork by hospital, patient unit, and staff characteristics. Applied Nursing Research, 26(1), 2-9.
[2] Hall, P., and Weaver, L. (2001). Interdisciplinary education and teamwork: a long and winding road. Medical education, 35(9), 867-875.
[3] Driver, M. J., Brousseau, K. R., and Hunsaker, P. L. (1998). The dynamic decision maker: Five decision styles for executive and business success: iUniverse.
[4] Azadeh, A., Rezaei-Malek, M., Evazabadian, F., and Sheikhalishahi, M. (2015). Improved design of CMS by considering operators decision-making styles. International Journal of Production Research, 53(11), 3276-3287. doi:10.1080/00207543.2014.975860
[5] Simmons, D., and Sherwood, G. (2010). Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department Nurses' Descriptions of Working Together: Building Team Relationships to Improve Safety. Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America, 22(2), 253-260. doi:
[6] Apker, J., Propp, K. M., Ford, W. S. Z., and Hofmeister, N. (2006). Collaboration, credibility, compassion, and coordination: professional nurse communication skill sets in health care team interactions. Journal of Professional Nursing, 22(3), 180-189.
[7] Utriainen, K., and KyngÄS, H. (2009). Hospital nurses' job satisfaction: a literature review. Journal of Nursing Management, 17(8), 1002-1010. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2009.01028.x
[8] Kalisch, B. J., Lee, H., and Rochman, M. (2010). Nursing staff teamwork and job satisfaction. Journal of nursing management, 18(8), 938-947.
[9] Mahon, M. M., and Nicotera, A. M. (2011). Nursing and conflict communication: avoidance as preferred strategy. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 35(2), 152-163.
[10] Brunetto, Y., Farr-Wharton, R., and Shacklock, K. (2011). Supervisor-nurse relationships, teamwork, role ambiguity and well-being: Public versus private sector nurses. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 49(2), 143-164.
[11] Burtscher, M. J., and Manser, T. (2012). Team mental models and their potential to improve teamwork and safety: A review and implications for future research in healthcare. Safety science, 50(5), 1344-1354.
[12] Poghosyan, L., Boyd, D., and Knutson, A. R. (2014). Nurse Practitioner Role, Independent Practice, and Teamwork in Primary Care. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 10(7), 472-479.
[13] Dietz, A. S., Pronovost, P. J., Mendez-Tellez, P. A., Wyskiel, R., Marsteller, J. A., Thompson, D. A., and Rosen, M. A. (2014). A systematic review of teamwork in the intensive care unit: What do we know about teamwork, team tasks, and improvement strategies? Journal of critical care, 29(6), 908-914.
[14] Ferland, J., Berrada, I., Nabli, I., Ahiod, B., Michelon, P., Gascon, V., and Gagné, É. (2001). Generalized Assignment Type Goal Programming Problem: Application to Nurse Scheduling. Journal of Heuristics, 7(4), 391-413. doi:10.1023/A:1011392328632
[15] Azaiez, M. N., and Sharif, S. S. A. (2005). A 0-1 goal programming model for nurse scheduling. Comput. Oper. Res., 32(3), 491-507. doi:10.1016/s0305-0548(03)00249-1
[16] Topaloglu, S. (2006). A multi-objective programming model for scheduling emergency medicine residents. Computers and Industrial Engineering, 51(3), 375-388.
[17] Maenhout, B., and Vanhoucke, M. (2010). Branching strategies in a branch-and-price approach for a multiple objective nurse scheduling problem. Journal of Scheduling, 13(1), 77-93.
[18] Topaloglu, S., and Selim, H. (2010). Nurse scheduling using fuzzy modeling approach. Fuzzy Sets and Systems, 161(11), 1543-1563.
[19] Yilmaz, E. (2012). A mathematical programming model for scheduling of nurses’ labor shifts. Journal of Medical Systems, 36(2), 491-496.
[20] Nelsey, L., and Brownie, S. (2012). Effective leadership, teamwork and mentoring–Essential elements in promoting generational cohesion in the nursing workforce and retaining nurses. Collegian, 19(4), 197-202.
[21] M’Hallah, R., and Alkhabbaz, A. (2013). Scheduling of nurses: a case study of a Kuwaiti health care unit. Operations Research for Health Care, 2(1), 1-19.
[22] Wright, P. D., and Mahar, S. (2013). Centralized nurse scheduling to simultaneously improve schedule cost and nurse satisfaction. Omega, 41(6), 1042-1052. doi:
[23] Güler, M. G., İdi, K., and Güler, E. Y. (2013). A goal programming model for scheduling residents in an anesthesia and reanimation department. Expert Systems with Applications, 40(6), 2117-2126.
[24] Güler, M. G. (2013). A hierarchical goal programming model for scheduling the outpatient clinics. Expert Systems with Applications, 40(12), 4906-4914.
[25] Meskens, N., Duvivier, D., and Hanset, A. (2013). Multi-objective operating room scheduling considering desiderata of the surgical team. Decision Support Systems, 55(2), 650-659.
[26] Wong, T., Xu, M., and Chin, K. (2014). A two-stage heuristic approach for nurse scheduling problem: A case study in an emergency department. Computers and Operations Research, 51, 99-110.
[27] Legrain, A., Bouarab, H., and Lahrichi, N. (2015). The nurse scheduling problem in real-life. Journal of Medical Systems, 39(1), 1-11.
[28] Jafari, H., and Salmasi, N. (2015). Maximizing the nurses’ preferences in nurse scheduling problem: mathematical modeling and a meta-heuristic algorithm. Journal of Industrial Engineering International, 11(3), 439-458.
[29] Hamid, M., Nasiri, M.M. Frank Werner., Sheikhahmadi, F. and Zhalechian, M. (2019). Operating room scheduling by considering the decision-making styles of surgical team members: a comprehensive approach, Computers and Operations Research, 108: 166-181.
[30] Cetin, E., and Sarucan, A. (2015, 27-29 May 2015). Nurse scheduling using binary fuzzy goal programming. Paper presented at the Modeling, Simulation, and Applied Optimization (ICMSAO), 2015 6th International Conference on.