This is part three of a three-part series, which will be posted weekly. You can read part one by clicking here and part two by clicking here. For notifications on new content, make sure you’re following us on LinkedIn.

 

With health systems currently exploring many viable labor strategies including telehealth, upskilling/cross-training team members, utilizing part-time or per diem resources, and moving patients and/or staff around within a system, we felt compelled to go deeper into the topic of how to procure and maximize the use of agency labor to help meet COVID-19 demand by offering ten specific strategies. In this part, we cover how to help your health system stand out via exclusivity, how to overcome licensure challenges, and the value of caring for permanent clinicians to reduce the number of travel clinicians needed. 

 

        8. Use exclusivity to create more focus from top staffing agency partners

With the country currently has an all-time high in terms of the number of open travel nurse jobs, staffing agencies have an overwhelming number of options to present to available clinicians. The question then is, besides offering the highest hourly rate in the country, how does your health system stand out in this sea of opportunities?    

A strategy health systems can use to drive better engagement amongst their staffing agency partners is to pinpoint their existing top agencies and ask each to commit to filling an exclusive number of open jobs. An agency’s ability to focus and fill these exclusive positions could be tied to future exclusive opportunities.  

Most staffing agencies have existing mechanisms for highlighting and emphasizing certain jobs. These could include how open jobs are listed on their websites, what recruiters are trained to highlight when speaking with clinicians, or even how recruiters are compensated. With a manageable number of exclusive job requisitions to fill and existing knowledge of your health system, your top staffing agencies will increase focus and decrease your open positions. 

 

        9. Overcome or minimize licensure challenges 

There are over 30 states designated as Nurse Licensure Compact states, with several more pending acceptance. During the pandemic, the non-compact states have taken varying approaches to licensure, with some making little to no change. Compact states have access to a much greater pool of talent than non-compact states where clinicians must hold a license in that state in order to work on a travel assignment. 

SimpliFi tracks and keeps clients well-informed of the changing licensure requirements. Currently, we are assisting a client in a non-compact state to make a market-based case to their state about temporarily changing the licensure requirement.  

 

        10. Caring for permanent clinicians could limit or reduce the number of travelers needed 

Healthcare workers on the front lines, whether travel or full-time clinicians, are mentally and physically exhausted. The drive to meet rising patient demand is further exacerbated by existing staff members contracting COVID-19. According to a recent report from The Atlantic, almost a quarter of US hospitals are anticipating a staffing shortage.

Proactively taking measures to ensure the safety, retention, and satisfaction amongst permanent staff is at an all-time high right now. While the focus of this article has been strategies for securing and utilizing travel clinicians, combating burnout, fatigue and positively impacting the emotional health of full-time clinicians may limit the number of travelers needed.  

In SimpliFi’s recent RED2020 Labor Summit, Nursing and HR executives representing five leading health systems from across the country spoke about the strategies they are using to maximize core staff retention during this time. Some of the strategies discussed include Hero Fund bonuses, providing opportunities to cross-train and maintain hours, Code Lavenders, and promoting and encouraging the use of PTO. 

 

With so many opportunities out there for travelers, it is important to find ways for your health system to stand out. Making use of exclusive jobs through your staffing agency partners can be a useful way to do so without having to drastically raise your hourly rates. Additionally, using a MSP to understand licensure implications in your state can help you recognize what steps need to be taken compared to other states. Finally, taking steps to avoid burnout of permanent staff will both help reduce the number of travelers needed while also creating a positive work environment that will further help set your health system apart from others.