SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Local hospitals say staffing is finally improving after the pandemic created shortages.

In fact, Mercy says its neurotrauma ICU is fully staffed. Mercy says having all hands on deck allows nurses to really focus on their patients.

But when there are still team members gone, employees can now use an app to pick up extra shifts whenever they want.

“We’ve been dealing with a nursing shortage and trying to come up with innovative ways to cope with that,” said neurotrauma ICU manager Karla Van Horn. Van Horn has worked at Mercy for five years. “Nurses in general just want to take care of their patients the best they can. That’s what a nurse wants to do. If they feel like their schedule doesn’t allow that, they may just cut back working.”

Van horn says employees were wanting more control over their schedules and an easy way to pick up shifts. Now, nurses can use an app called Mercy Works on Demand.

“I pick up an extra shift each week,” said Registered Nurse TaShaye Davis. Davis likes to pick up shifts to get some extra money. “I can get on it literally any time. I know the schedule comes out on Mondays. So Mondays I typically get on it, compare my schedule of what I’m already working to, what I can pick up, and then take a couple of days to work extra.”

The hospital says part-time, full-time, and gig nurses can pick up shifts using the app. Van Horn said more than 70 experienced nurses outside of Mercy hospital are using the app to pick up potential shifts.

“A lot of them, this is just extra income for them,” Van Horn said. “We’re utilizing those coworkers to help us fill our needs.”

Van Horn said with the Neuro Trauma ICU fully staffed, shift openings can vary.

“We’re starting to use that app to push those schedules out,” Senior Vice President and System Chief Nursing Officer Betty Jo Rocchio said. “There’s no more manual process. They’re getting people to pick up shifts, no phone calls, no begging people to work.”

Mercy said the Neuro Trauma ICU has been using the Mercy On Demand app since October. The hospital is working on expanding it to other departments in Springfield, and other mercy campuses.

“Nursing touches almost every single aspect of patient care in every single environment that we’re in,” Rocchio said. “We want to make sure that we’re keeping people by the bedside and allowing them to design their life around their work.”

Mercy said gig nurses can quickly apply using the app so they can pick up extra incentivized shifts. Those interested to find openings here.