* This infographic is part of the Flexible Nursing and Allied Health Workforce series.
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Cross-Trained Nurses Boost Retention and Save Money
Hospitals across the nation are reassessing traditional workforce roles to ensure proper staff-to-patient ratios, retain their healthcare professionals, and get the largest returns within tight operating budgets. Cross training, or cross specialization as it is also known, is an ideal solution for hospitals struggling to fill specialty vacancies. This is a strategic redeployment of healthcare professionals with similar technical skills to multiple units or specializations.
- The cost of nurse vacancies – Average of 89 days to fill a bedside RN role and the average turnover cost can be $40K.*
- Ideal for both experienced and newer graduates – Targeted roles will have 50% or more of aligned technical skills (like ventilator care support).
How to Identify Cross-Specialization Opportunities
Define the Need
Ask veteran and newer graduates for their feedback. Not only will this increase engagement, but it will help you to temperature check their understanding of your system and culture.
Ask Other Experts
Seek out insight from your network about their successes, failures, and latest research. Work with partners like Health Carousel with firsthand experience to help you maximize staff retention and performance – their clinically led and board-certified team has approximately 200 combined years of acute hospital and nurse leadership experience.
RNs can be cross trained to alternate between different units or specializations like critical care, med-surg, PACU, and telemetry. Overlapping skill sets and patient needs make it easier to implement float pools or scheduled rotations. The change of pace may be a welcome relief for those nurses looking for variety or a break from the challenges of high-acuity patients.
Nurses and allied health professionals rotate between in and outpatient settings within the same service line for high-volume/high-value specialties like cardiology, orthopedic surgery, GI, and select areas like inpatient oncology and outpatient infusion centers. This promotes a better understanding of the full spectrum of patient care and lets staff follow patients across settings.
*Statistics from Advisory Board studies.