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Mitigating healthcare staffing shortages by maximizing your staffing partnership

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While contract workers have always served a role in the healthcare field, they have become more prevalent to fill staffing gaps.

The severity of the healthcare workforce problem has been top-of-mind for industry leaders the past several years, as the gap between open jobs and available candidates continues to widen. A study by McKinsey projects a shortage of between 200,000 to 450,000 nurses for direct patient care by 2025.

While contract workers have always served a role in the healthcare field, they have become more prevalent to fill these gaps. In fact, the number of temp jobs added in January was almost 26,000, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. Many of those jobs were in the healthcare sector, which also added over 58,000 total jobs in January.

The trouble is finding qualified professionals to fill all these new positions, which can be lifelines for hospitals and health systems to mitigate staffing shortages and protect their bottom lines. That is if they have the right healthcare staffing partner and know how to maximize that partnership. Here are a few ways:

1. Work with a staffing partner to build a customized approach

One of the keys to a successful collaboration is making sure your staffing partner has a clear understanding of the unique needs of your organization. Healthcare professionals pride themselves in delivering first-class, personalized care, and they should expect the same level of commitment from their staffing partners.

A great staffing partner will do more than just fill positions. They carefully screen and identify healthcare professionals who possess the skills, work ethic and personality traits that fit your business. That way you can be confident that you have the right person for the job who also represents the values of the organization.

They can even coordinate unique and flexible arrangements, such as contracts to cover planned vacancies, like parental leaves, or bringing in a specialist for a specific case. Whatever your organization needs, a staffing partner can work with you to find the best solution.

2. Utilize your partner’s extensive network and knowledge

Frontline healthcare professionals and support staff have been quitting in droves in recent years. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for those employees to provide little or no notice they are leaving – and when that happens it has the potential to negatively impact patient care.

Healthcare organizations must move swiftly to fill that vacancy. Staffing partners have a deep knowledge of the industry that they work in and maintain extensive lists of viable and qualified candidates. Having a large pool of candidates allows staffing partners to quickly fill a position because they likely have someone at the ready to meet the needs of an organization.

Staffing partners also have a pulse on the industry and the needs of the labor market. They know what skills the candidate needs to be successful at an organization, and they can vet the candidate to confirm they are the right person to fill a role at your hospital – all in a relatively short amount of time.

4. Choose a partner with a proven track record

Our industry has long known that working in the healthcare profession can be stressful. In its recently published 2023 Healthcare Experience Trends Report, Qualtrics found that the healthcare sector ranked last for employee satisfaction, racking up low scores for metrics such as engagement, intent-to-stay and employee experience versus expectations.

When choosing a staffing partner, look into how long their contract professionals usually stay in a placement. If that metric is relatively high, it is a clear sign that the staffing partner excels at placing workers who are professionally and mentally equipped for the job. Those are exactly the kind of dedicated, motivated pros you want on your team and who can contribute to your organization’s strong company culture.

4. Find a partner that covers salary, benefits and labor compliance

One of the more important roles that a staffing partner plays is paying all salaries/wages and managing benefits for the temporary or contract professionals who are placed with your organization. Your partner will be responsible for all payments, including salaries, wages, retirement plan contributions and payroll taxes. They will also handle any paperwork and employee communications, as well as manage state and federal labor law compliance.

5. Let your partner save you valuable time and resources

Staffing partners can take away some of the burden of recruiting, engaging and hiring candidates, which can be a time-consuming process. Health organizations can benefit from the staffing partner’s outreach technologies and their expert recruitment and engagement tactics – ultimately saving you time and resources.

Overall, staffing partners work to help your organization adapt to any staffing challenges that arise, especially as the healthcare industry continues to face workforce strains for the foreseeable future. These are a few steps that you can take to quickly fill the gaps and maximize the benefits of teaming with a staffing partner – so you can focus on serving patients.

Patrick Dotts is the senior vice president of Soliant and has worked in the staffing industry for over ten years. www.soliant.com/staffing-services/nurse-staffing-agency/

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