Highlights: Provider Relief Funding Reporting Shortages

Workforce shortages, particularly in the healthcare sector, are becoming increasingly problematic. As a result, Colleen Bay hosted a webinar presented by Health Carousel, a healthcare staffing agency. This document serves to convey highlights of the Provider Relief Funding Reporting Shortages presentation.

The Chain Reaction

A similar cascade of events happening in hospitals and other facilities across the United States has contributed to the worsening workforce shortage of healthcare professionals. The steps and result of this cascade should not be overlooked when peering into your own hospital’s healthcare worker shortage, even when they are seemingly smaller pieces of the larger administrative picture.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”4955″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Identifying where your facility falls in this cascade or where improvement should be made could be the key to decreasing turnover rates and improving employment and patient satisfaction.

Potential Solutions

While there are not many methods that hospitals can use now about the workforce shortages resulting from COVID-19, there are strategies you can use and implement in the meantime to prevent them from decreasing patient quality of care as much. These methodologies have pros and cons that should be weighed according to your hospital’s needs.

  • True Vacancy vs. Operational Vacancy
    • True Vacancy is the vacant position in the employee’s unit for which the hospital is actively recruiting
      • True Vacancy = (Vacant Full – Time Employees) ÷ (Budgeted Full – Time Employees)
    • Operational Vacancy is the complete picture reflecting the number of nurses available for scheduling
      • Operational Vacancy = [(True Vacancy + FMLA +PTO +Orientee) – True Labor] ÷ Budgeted FTE
  • Three Ways to Deliver Optimal Nurse Staffing
    1. Add more Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAPs) to your staff
      • Pros: less competitive hiring market, lower staffing costs (55%-77% of RN salary), and allows nurses to focus on complex patient care tasks
      • Cons: UAPs cannot deliver independent patient interventions, they may lack knowledge and training to take on a more prominent role in patient care, and can require more supervision
    1. Attempt to increase the amount of overtime that some of your staff work
      • Pros: offers quick staffing access for hospitals, includes a salary boost for existing nurses, and allows for flexible scheduling
      • Cons: can impact nurse health and wellbeing, disrupts work-life balance, can increase job dissatisfaction/burnout/turnover, and has a negative impact on patient care
    1. Utilize flexible staffing solutions
      • Pros: allows hospitals to staff according to patient volumes, offers a streamlined hiring process with an expanded talent pool (international and domestic healthcare professionals), can be more cost-effective and increase employee satisfaction, and offers easy access to fill permanent roles in your hospital staff
        • International RNs are from the Philippines (largest exporter of RNs in the world), India, Canada, South Korea, Ireland, Australia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, and the United Kingdom
      • Cons: staff is not coming from your rural community, making it more difficult to establish close relationships with their patients

International Health Care Staffing

Onboarding and orientation are keys to assimilating new international healthcare professionals. The onboarding processes should include an introduction to working in the United States and an introduction to the country as a whole. Working as a nurse, physician, or another professional in a new country can be daunting. Therefore, providing your new staff members with best practices and teaching them like you would a new graduate in their profession can substantially improve their progress within your hospital.

As the shortage of RNs grows to 510,394 by 2030, and 80,000 baby boomer nurses retire annually throughout the next decade, sourcing new avenues for staffing is imperative for sustaining good patient outcomes in your hospital.

Options for Reducing the Staffing Burden

While some rural hospitals cannot seemingly afford to hire a staffing agency, it might be worth looking into when your patient outcomes and satisfaction drop, healthcare worker turnover is high, many of your professionals are experiencing burnout, and your operational vacancy is being negatively impacted. In addition, staffing agencies that focus on healthcare can allow your HR department to focus on internal employee engagement, growth, and development. As your hospital begins discussions with staffing agencies, you will have many considerations to assess as part of your agreement with the agency:

  • Many staffing partners have a lot to offer: Clinically-led programs, technology agonistic, a robust clinical team, consultative partnership approach, robust travel nurse program, versatile international nursing program, ongoing support for clinicians on the job, quick resolution of clinical issues, and transparency and high ethical standards.