Managed Service Provider for Travel Nurse Staffing

July 28, 2022

Travel nursing has become an essential component of many healthcare system staffing strategies. With widespread nursing shortages and staff turnover, temporary nurses help fill urgent gaps in care coverage. However, managing a travel nurse program in-house can be an administrative burden. This is where a managed service provider (MSP) can make all the difference.

An MSP takes care of sourcing, credentialing, onboarding, and managing a supplemental workforce. This allows healthcare facilities to focus on patient care instead of logistics. Read on to learn how an MSP enhances travel nurse staffing.

The Drive Towards Travel Nurse Staffing

Healthcare systems nationwide have come to rely heavily on travel nurse staffing over the last several years to plug glaring gaps in patient care coverage caused by nursing labor shortages.

Key factors fueling this include

  • Accelerating Permanent Nurse Retirements: Seasoned nurses on staff are rapidly aging out of the workforce, exiting their roles through retirement far quicker than facilities can onboard graduate nurse replacement hires. This contraction of the most experienced portion of the core bedside workforce has necessitated temporary contract nurses to fill gaps.
  • Pandemic Turnover Decimates Ranks: Pre-existing factors like burnout were intensified during the pandemic. The resulting wave of resignations led some facilities to lose over 20% of their permanent nursing workforce, forcing heavy travel nurse support.
  • Specialized Care Demand Outstrips Existing Expertise: Explosive volume growth in critical care settings like ICUs, ERs, and labor and delivery units has created a shortage of nurses possessing those specialty skill sets. As existing core staff lack certain high-acuity competencies, travel nurses' niche expertise has become mission-critical.
  • Ongoing Census Variability Strains Static Ratios: Patient volumes fluctuate dramatically day-to-day, week-to-week, and seasonally, with COVID resurgences and flu season substantially ratcheting up numbers. This volume variability made maintaining rigid nurse-to-patient staffing ratios wholly inefficient.

The budget impact of elevated pandemic-level travel nurse wages compounded existing financial pressures. This is where an MSP can assess internal options like float pools alongside external solutions to design an optimally balanced labor mix matching each organization's objectives and resources. The goal is to stabilize the nurse workforce with the right ratio of permanent to flexible talent.

While contract nurses are often vital, overreliance can be costly. An MSP ensures tailored labor decisions, preventing needless overspending. Their guidance permits focusing funds directly into the permanent workforce to re-anchor nurse retention and recruitment.

The Importance of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in Travel Nurse Staffing

Key Roles of a Managed Service Provider in Healthcare

A managed service provider (MSP) brings workforce analytics and consulting to help you achieve a healthy staffing mix that meets your needs. They don't default to plugging gaps with travelers; instead, they help leaders understand what roles make financial and operational sense.

The MSP process includes:

  • Analyzing historical hiring volume, turnover rates, and emerging trends to forecast staffing needs
  • Identifying current and projected coverage gaps and specialty shortfalls
  • Assessing the impact of expansion plans, new services, and consolidations
  • Modeling out financial implications and risks associated with various labor mix options

If travel nurses prove the best fit, the MSP handles all sourcing, screening, and contracting - staying as involved as you would like throughout the entirety of the process. This alleviates administrative burdens so leadership can focus on patients and permanent workforce retention. MSP guidance balances temporary solutions to immediate deficits while enriching the core staff's growth and stability.

The goal is objectively determining when travel nurses plug gaps cost-effectively versus when resources are better invested in other staffing options and existing team development. An MSP brings quantifiable data and contextual understanding to make the right workforce decisions for each facility’s specific needs.

In addition to travel nursing, an MSP may leverage the long-term benefits of international staffing (coupled with domestic staffing and/or travel nursing) to provide a total solution. By working with international talent to improve your staffing flexibility and capabilities, your facility can reap benefits like cost reduction, risk reduction, and improved visibility. As a leader in healthcare staffing, Health Carousel works with facilities on domestic nurse staffing for short-term and long-term solutions by integrating international nurses for long-term stabilization. This integrated nursing solution is exactly what you should look for in an MSP — and Health Carousel is here to provide it.

Manage it Yourself:

MSPs offer flexible involvement levels based on each health system's needs. For leaders who prefer managing staffing themselves, the right MSP will provide a powerful vendor management system (VMS) with robust self-service capabilities, including

  • Fully Automated Posting, Candidate Management, and Hiring
  • Vendor-Neutral Platforms to Source Top Talent
  • Intuitive and User-Friendly Interfaces
  • Tailored Integrations to Existing Systems

Health systems can independently handle travel nurse logistics while still benefiting from the MSP's pricing leverage, expansive talent pool, and reporting analytics.

Self-service options provide complete visibility and control:

  • 24/7 Access to Program Dashboards and Alerts
  • Competitive Rate Analysis and Market Benchmarking
  • Real-time hiring and spending analytics
  • Custom Reporting Aligned to Internal Metrics

Benefits of Employing an MSP for Travel Nurse Staffing

The top benefits of using an MSP for travel nurse staffing include:

  • Cost Savings: Managed Service Providers (MSPs) leverage their substantial buying power and engage in effective vendor consolidation. Through advanced analytics, they meticulously identify the optimal labor mix, enhancing overall operational efficiency. This strategic approach not only streamlines expenditures but also ensures that resources are utilized in the most cost-effective manner possible.
  • Risk Reduction: MSPs prioritize risk mitigation through comprehensive credentialing, licensing, and background checks. This proactive approach significantly reduces compliance exposure, safeguarding the organization from potential legal and regulatory challenges. The implementation of centralized tracking and auditing mechanisms further contributes to risk reduction by minimizing spending waste, and ensuring that resources are allocated in compliance with established standards.
  • Improved Flexibility: An MSP's value extends to providing enhanced flexibility in workforce management. With access to an extensive talent pool, organizations can swiftly adapt to changing needs and demands. The integration of automated shift bid technology adds an extra layer of agility, enabling rapid response to dynamic market conditions. This flexibility ensures that the organization can efficiently scale its workforce up or down as required, maintaining optimal operational agility.
  • Enhanced Reporting: MSPs offer a sophisticated analytics framework that delivers real-time budget and staffing data. This wealth of information empowers decision-makers with the insights needed for strategic planning. By having access to up-to-the-minute data, organizations can make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, staffing levels, and budgetary considerations. The result is a more proactive and adaptive approach to workforce management, leading to better overall planning and resource utilization.

With an MSP managing the supplemental workforce, hospitals can be responsive and have seamless staffing coverage.

Steps to Enhancing Travel Nurse Staffing with a Managed Service Provider

Identifying the Right Managed Service Provider

Not all MSPs serve healthcare equally. When researching partners, look for an MSP that:

  • Specializes in healthcare staffing
  • Has clinically experienced leadership
  • Provides vendor-neutral solutions
  • Offers customizable order management portals
  • Has strong travel nurse recruiting and credentialing
  • Uses advanced analytics for efficiency

The right MSP becomes an extension of the provider's team. They incorporate the culture, values, and objectives of the organizations they serve.

Assessing Current Needs

Once you’ve identified the right MSP, it’s time to assess your facility's current staffing needs, including specific specialties or units requiring additional support. Understanding your requirements will help align the services provided by the MSP.

Establishing Clear Objectives

Clearly define your objectives and expectations for travel nurse staffing. This includes setting targets for nurse-to-patient ratios, quality of care, and budget considerations.

Collaborative Planning

Work closely with your selected MSP to develop a comprehensive staffing plan tailored to your facility's unique needs. This involves outlining recruitment strategies, onboarding processes, and performance metrics.

Streamlining Processes

Leverage the MSP's expertise to streamline the recruitment, credentialing, and onboarding processes for travel nurses. Implementing efficient workflows and leveraging technology can help reduce administrative burden and expedite time-to-fill rates.

Continuous Communication

Maintain open lines of communication with the MSP throughout the staffing process. Regular check-ins and performance reviews can help address any issues proactively and ensure alignment with your facility's goals.

Training and Support

Provide ongoing training and support to travel nurses to ensure they are well-equipped to deliver high-quality care. This may include orientation programs, continuing education opportunities, and access to clinical resources.

Monitoring Performance

Implement robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the performance of travel nurses and the effectiveness of the staffing solution. This may involve tracking key performance indicators such as patient outcomes, nurse satisfaction, and compliance with regulatory standards.

Adapting to Changing Needs

Remain flexible and adaptable to changing staffing needs and market dynamics. The MSP should be able to adjust staffing levels and strategies as necessary to ensure continuity of care and optimal resource utilization.

By following these steps and leveraging the expertise of a trusted MSP, healthcare facilities can enhance their travel nurse staffing capabilities and effectively address long-term staffing needs. A strategic partnership with an MSP can provide the support and resources needed to navigate staffing challenges and deliver high-quality patient care.

Health Carousel: Your Premier MSP for Travel Nurse Staffing

At Health Carousel, we stand as a leading Managed Service Provider (MSP) dedicated to revolutionizing healthcare staffing through workforce solutions. Our commitment to excellence and innovation makes us the optimal choice for healthcare systems seeking a robust and tailored approach to health system staffing. We work with you to develop a total solution, whether you seek domestic talent or are looking to partner with international or travel nurses for a flexible staffing system — or a combination of both.

Comprehensive Workforce Solutions:

Health Carousel is not just a staffing provider; we are your strategic partner in total talent management for healthcare. Our integrated managed services, cutting-edge Vendor Management System (VMS), and sophisticated business intelligence combine to deliver a comprehensive, full-service solution. We streamline and optimize healthcare workforces, ensuring seamless operations from recruitment to compliance, analytics, and beyond.

Clinically Led Support:

What sets us apart is our dedicated, clinically led support. Our team, comprised of healthcare experts, understands the unique challenges in the industry. We provide strategic advisory services to assess and enhance nurse staffing models, aligning with your specific needs for efficiency and excellence.

Innovative Technology and Analytics:

Health Carousel's workforce platform leverages intuitive and automated solutions that empower data-driven decision-making. Our robust analytics and reporting capabilities offer real-time insights, guiding dynamic nurse staffing strategies. As the talent competition intensifies, our technology and analytics become your key to sustaining a high-functioning healthcare workforce.

Focus on Quality of Care:

While our solutions optimize operational efficiency and reduce costs, our ultimate focus is on improving the quality of care. We prioritize nurse engagement, communication, satisfaction, and retention – key components of cultural best practices necessary for success in healthcare organizations.

Your Journey with Health Carousel:

Choosing Health Carousel means choosing a partner committed to your success. We provide access to expanded pools of qualified nurse talent, strategic advisory services, cutting-edge analytics, and innovative solutions. If you're ready to elevate your nurse staffing strategy, request our services today and experience the Health Carousel advantage.

If you're ready to connect with the leaders in healthcare staffing, request our services today.

About Health Carousel

Health Carousel is committed to partnering with world-class healthcare facilities across the country, providing rewarding assignments for Registered Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, and attracting the best internal talent at all career levels.