Although there’s a more significant number of patients in the United States overall, there’s also an abundance of nurse vacancies. Considering the unique needs of the healthcare facility, a good nurse staffing agency should provide malleable options to keep hospitals staffed with healthcare professionals during critical times- with high-quality patient care remaining as the number one priority.
Although there’s a greater number of patients in the United States overall, there is also a higher number of nurse vacancies. Considering the unique needs of the healthcare facility, a good nurse staffing agency should provide flexible options to keep hospitals staffed with nurses during critical times, while keeping high-quality patient care as the number one priority.
Meet the U.S. Nurse Shortage
As the need for patient care in the United States grows, so does the need for Registered Nurses (RNs.)-- currently at an all-time high. Several factors are influencing the nurse shortage, including retirements, an increase in burnout, and nurse-to-patient ratios which are difficult to sustain. Nurses have become so outnumbered by their patients that many nurses across the country have gone on strike in protest, quoting that these ratios threaten patient care quality.
There are several reasons for the rapid increase in patients. Most notably, the aging population of baby boomers that requires extensive healthcare services. In fact, an estimated 80% have at least one chronic health condition. Also, the opioid epidemic is responsible for hospitalizing over one million people yearly. This increase in patients has contributed to the nationwide nursing shortage.
By the year 2030, data projects that roughly one million baby boomer nurses will retire. This means that the next generations will have to step into their shoes. At the moment, approximately 70,000 nurses are retiring each year, heavily contributing to the shortage. Rural communities are projected to be more affected by the lack of nurses. Since these areas are typically less desirable to live in, healthcare executives struggle to fill positions for professionals in these more remote locations. The lack of healthcare staffing puts patients at risk.
The Need for a Sustainable Solution
More and more facilities across the United States are turning to staffing services to help them tackle these staffing challenges.
How Nurse Staffing Agencies Work
Nurse staffing agencies deliver nurses to hospitals that have difficulty filling both temporary and permanent placements. These agencies contract RNs to work in a wide array of healthcare facilities. From travel nursing to home care, nursing agencies ensure that their nurses will provide the highest-quality care to your patients.
Types of Placements
Per Diem or Pro Re Nata (PRN)
Per Diem (meaning “per day,”) nurses are hired to be on-call. Per diem nurse contracts range from days to weeks and aren’t guaranteed hours. Pro re nata (meaning “as needed”) nursing usually requires nurses to meet a certain number of stipulations to keep the job, like working on weekends or holidays.
Traveling nurses often work in short, four to six-week contracts. They can come from all over the country, and often work in several different specialties to fill employment gaps.
Temp-to-Perm or Permanent Placement Contracts
Temp-to-Perm contracts are ideal for RNs searching to pave the road to full-time employment. These contracts offer RNs the time to settle down and figure out if they like a location, then transition them into permanent positions, if it’s a good fit.
international nurses are recruited through agencies to work in the United States on contracts that last two to three years before transitioning to full-time staff.
Factors To Consider When Hiring a Nurse Staffing Agency
Don’t just go with the cheapest agency simply because it’s the most affordable. The quality of their nurses might not be up to par with your standards-- make sure to check out all of your options to find something both cost-effective and high quality.
How quickly you need help can also impact what type of nurse staffing you choose. If you need positions filled immediately, a per diem or PRN is likely your best bet. If you need help with long-term staffing, it might be best to look for temp-to-perm nurses.
Nurses that can perform well under stress and keep up with the fast-paced environment of the floor are key. High quality nurses will create a baseline of stability for their units and your facility as a whole.
Why Partner with a Nurse Staffing Agency
Employing a nurse staffing agency might be a good option for your facility, if you need assistance filling or augmenting positions. Partnering with a staffing agency can help create a diverse environment, lower the turnover rate, and decrease spending. Make sure to work with a Joint Commission Certified agency to ensure you’re receiving top-quality service.
The Bottom Line
Adequate nurse staffing is critical to prevent burnout and uphold excellent patient care. With the nursing shortage only getting worse, it’s time to reconsider your staffing practices and consider using an agency to help you meet your needs and your patient’s needs.