As the healthcare industry continues to experience a shortage of qualified workers, hospitals are finding it difficult to fill open shifts. In order to maintain patient safety and quality of care, it is essential that hospitals have enough staff on hand at all times.
The current nursing shortage in the United States is well-documented. The American Nurses Association (ANA) estimates that by 2025, the country will experience a shortfall of one million registered nurses. This comes as the population continues to age and live longer, and as more people have access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
In today’s healthcare environment, it is more important than ever for hospitals to be prepared for staffing shortages. Here are some of the most popular tactics that are being used in the market:
Travel nursing has become a popular solution for hospitals looking to fill staffing gaps, but it is not without its drawbacks. Travel nurses are typically only signed on for 13-week assignments, after which they move on to another location. This can create a revolving door of staff, which can be disruptive to patient care. In addition, travel nurses often require a higher salary than staff nurses.
Many hospitals have found that utilizing existing staff to fill open shifts is a much more efficient and cost-effective solution. When staff members are able to pick up extra shifts, it eliminates the need to bring in outside help. This not only saves the hospital money but also helps to build morale among staff members.
Allowing staff to pick up extra shifts can also help with succession planning. As baby boomers begin to retire, there will be a need to fill their positions. By giving staff the opportunity to work additional hours now, hospitals can identify potential candidates for future openings.
One way to do this is by securing a contingent provider, which is an individual who can fill in on short notice when needed. Contingent providers can be used to cover vacation days, sick days, or any other time when a regular staff member is unavailable.
Having a contingent provider in place ensures that there is always someone available to fill in when needed. This can help to avoid disruptions in patient care and maintain quality of care. But there is a huge drawback to contingent providers: They are very expensive!
Flexible staffing is a key component of any successful hospital or healthcare program. By utilizing existing staff to fill open shifts, hospitals can save money, improve morale, and identify potential candidates for future openings. This strategy should be part of every hospital’s succession planning.
Staffing Management Software
A staffing management system is a software application that helps hospitals to more effectively schedule their staff members. By inputting data such as staff availability and skills, the system can create a schedule that optimizes coverage while taking into account employee preferences.
The use of a staffing management system can help to reduce the overall cost of labor. By ensuring that staff is scheduled for their most efficient hours, the system can help to reduce overtime and agency costs. In addition, the system can help to improve communication between employees and managers.
Staffing management systems are not without their challenges. The initial investment can be costly, and the systems can be complex to implement. However, the benefits of using a staffing management system far outweigh the challenges.
If you are looking for a cost-effective option that can be implemented quickly, please get in touch so that we can discuss our Demand Workforce solution.
Healthcare systems that can fill shifts and optimize with existing staff will profit and grow much more than systems that do not. Scalable programs that fill nurse staffing needs with existing staff are mission-critical for health care systems looking to provide amazing patient experiences. Take this initiative and make it a priority to implement something in 2023. Your bottom line will thank you.