Choosing the Right Staffing Partner
There’s little argument that a hospital’s ability to provide high quality patient care is a function of its nursing workforce. Engaged nurses — competent, caring, compassionate and satisfied with their jobs — are key to a hospital’s success, whether it’s a small rural institution or a large university-based facility. Nurses make an impact on patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, on how the hospital is perceived by the community at large, and its ability to attract and retain talent.
The Highly Engaged Nurse
Numerous studies have shown the link between nurse engagement and positive patient outcomes.(1) According to Gallup research, higher nurse engagement is linked to lower complication rates and mortality indexes, and 41% fewer patient safety incidents. Gallup research has also shown that hospitals with the least engaged nurses pay $1.1 million more annually in malpractice claims than hospitals with highly engaged nurses.(2)
The degree of engagement plays a pivotal role in the job satisfaction of nurses themselves. Nurses who are highly engaged are more likely to stay longer in their jobs. They are also more likely to stay for the duration of the contract, and transition from temporary to permanent roles.
Selecting the Ideal Staffing Partner
Hospitals today are in the midst of a perfect storm. They are grappling with the many challenges posed by a global pandemic. In addition, they are also dealing with the chronic shortage of qualified clinicians, a problem that’s been exacerbated by COVID-19.How do hospitals find highly engaged nurses in these unprecedented times? How do they ensure that they have access to qualified healthcare professionals when and where they are needed most?
Healthcare institutions are increasingly relying on staffing companies or MSP providers to find skilled, competent and dedicated healthcare professionals from a range of in-demand specialties. These staffing enterprises have shown how they can make healthcare work better by sourcing and placing nurses who are highly engaged in their profession, in the wellbeing of their patients, and the institutions they serve. The ideal staffing partner supports hospitals in providing high quality care, and in meeting their clinical, operational and financial goals.
Hospitals value travelers sourced by staffing companies for their dedication to patient care and the determination to go above and beyond in their nursing practice. Surveys of clinician performance and client satisfaction by Health Carousel, a preeminent staffing partner serving hospitals nationwide, offer proof of the many advantages of partnering with a staffing company.
Health Carousel survey results show that about 95% of the company’s nurses either meet or exceed expectations of hospital managers and leaders. Hospitals offer contract extensions to 4 out of 5 of Health Carousel’s domestic nurses. About 75% of the company’s international nurses continue in their jobs after completion of their initial assignment, which makes a huge difference for nursing units with chronic turnover and hard-to-fill positions.
How to Choose the Right Staffing Company
A hospital’s staffing partner should have the ability to provide the right nurse the very first time, so that patients can receive the best possible care on day one of the staffing engagement. Does your staffing partner source the most capable, competent and committed in the profession? What does the company do to ensure the continued engagement and success of nurses on the job and within their units? Here are some guidelines for hospitals in their search for the right staffing enterprise.
- Choose a partner with the highest standards of clinical quality and a stellar clinical team that is engaged in every stage of the hiring lifecycle and beyond.
- The clinical team should be led by a Chief Nursing Officer or Chief Clinical Officer who has the qualifications and commitment to connecting the right nurse to the right hospital.
- The ideal clinical team should include master’s-prepared and board certified leaders with a diverse set of qualifications, backgrounds and clinical experience. To fully understand and help solve the needs and complex challenges faced by hospitals, the clinical team should have direct experience leading clinical delivery teams in the hospital setting, establishing practice standards, directing complex clinical care systems and hospital operations.
- The company should have a robust and thorough candidate vetting process to ensure the sourcing and placement of highly qualified professionals.
- The clinical team should play a crucial role in every aspect of the company’s relationship with the client including sales, solution design, candidate screening, onboarding, coaching and performance management throughout the life of the contract.
What to Expect from the Right Staffing Partner
The staffing partner’s work begins with the clinical discovery process to gain a thorough understanding of the clinical needs and the culture of the hospital. The team conducts a workforce assessment and shares its learning with its recruiters so that they can identify candidates whose skills and experience align with each hospital’s unique needs.
The next step is the verification of education, licenses and credentials of candidates. Staffing companies that adhere to the highest clinical standards approve candidates only after a thorough background check. The clinical team should provide learning opportunities for recruitment, account management and support staff so that they stay informed and educated about nursing in order to provide the best service to clients.
Support for Clinician Success
The ideal staffing partner should support the success of its clinicians by ensuring that they adhere to the quality standards of hiring hospitals. The preparation for selected candidates begins before the start of an assignment with a robust onboarding process and coaching. Nurses gain a clear understanding of the hospital’s culture and what is expected of them. The company should prepare international nurses for their assignments with a transition to practice program prior to their assignment start date.
Once the assignment begins, the clinical team should check in with the nurses periodically and continually monitor their performance on the job to identify opportunities for ongoing improvement. If they see problem areas, the clinical team should provide remediation with enhanced coaching and access to individual learning resources, and access to an on-demand learning management system.
The clinical team should be available around the clock to resolve clinical issues that may arise with travelers on assignment, whether it’s bedside care or problems in the nurse’s working relationship with colleagues and managers. Data from hospital partners should be captured and analyzed to continuously improve the quality of the healthcare professional.
Recognition and positive feedback are strong motivators for high performers. Nurses who go above and beyond should be recognized by the Chief Nursing Officer for their exceptional service. Clinically-led staffing companies also support healthcare industry-wide programs honoring outstanding nurses such as the DAISY award for nursing excellence given to those who have made an impression on patients and their families.
Transparency and Ethical Standards
A staffing partner’s alignment with nationally recognized independent compliance and clinical organizations provides further proof of the company’s commitment to clinical quality.
One such organization is The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare that certifies clinically-led staffing companies.
The American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR), is another organization that represents the interests of the international healthcare recruiting industry. The group promotes legal, ethical and socially responsible professional practices for international healthcare recruitment. A clinically-led staffing company that offers international nurse staffing should follow the standards and guidelines set by AAIHR to ensure the fair treatment of international nurses.
A Most Important Decision
In conclusion, choosing the right staffing partner is perhaps one of the most important decisions that a hospital makes, one that has a profound impact on patient care, on the hospital’s reputation, and the satisfaction and engagement of its clinicians. The decision should be driven by two requirements — an unwavering commitment to the highest standards of clinical quality and delivering clinical staff who are engaged with their patients, hospitals and the nursing profession. Hospitals should make the choice with the utmost care to ensure that they partner with a staffing company that will support them in their important work to advance the health and wellness of patients and communities across the country.