If your health organization faces challenges when it comes to staffing, you’re not alone. Inadequate staffing is one of the most common challenges for facilities of all sizes, from standalone organizations to multi-hospital systems.
While the problem has been compounded in the last year, but it’s not a new one. Even when we were not in a pandemic, nursing vacancies, difficulty with the recruitment process, unscheduled absences, and increased volume all posed challenges that made maintaining appropriate staffing levels difficult.
Your organization likely has strategies in place to “bandage” your staffing issues, but could you benefit from a longer-lasting solution? Odds are the answer is yes.
In our recent webinar, “Reduce the High Cost of Travelers! Adopt a Long-term Strategy to Stabilize Staffing,” Rosemarie Aznavorian, DNP, RN, CENP, CCWP, CCRN-K, MedPro Healthcare Staffing Vice President of Client Services and Chief Clinical Officer, offered some insight into a long-term method for overcoming staffing shortages.
Why Staffing Needs Have Worsened in the Last Year
All of the issues outlined above can occur during “normal times,” but the problem is magnified during a time of crisis, like a pandemic.
In many cases, crises affect only a specific health organization, or perhaps organizations within a certain community or region. But during a global pandemic, most hospitals, standalone facilities, and health systems are all experiencing the same thing, which creates a competition for resources.
When a staffing crunch occurs, most organizations have some type of strategy in place to fill the gaps, so to speak.
These solutions often include unit- or hospital-based staffing float pools or overtime for available staff, along with the use of travelers. The most common use of travelers includes 13- and 26-week assignments—in other words, a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
While these temporary staffers, who are primarily pulled from the United States supply of registered nurses, offer a way to meet staffing goals, it’s only temporary.
A Longer-Term Solution
The problem with a short-term solution to a long-term problem is that the staffing shortage isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it may worsen before it gets better.
There’s a trifecta of causes—there’s an existing shortfall of as many as one million nurses, the workforce is aging, and the pace of nurses entering the workforce is slower than what’s leaving.
Even worse? The pandemic itself further contributed to a sharp increase of nurses considering leaving the workforce. A national study found that 36 percent of RNs now plan to leave the bedside, 25 percent report that they can’t adequately care for patients, and 20 percent know a nurse who died from COVID-19.
That’s why a longer-term fix is needed. Foreign-educated nurses can offer that, providing several key benefits:
- The recruitment of foreign-educated nurses is highly regulated, often requiring compliance with regulatory boards and vetting against U.S. standards. That ensures a high level of competence and quality.
- A large number of foreign nurses have a BSN and at least seven years of experience. They’re also highly motivated to learn and grow.
- Most of these nurses work on a long-term contract with the ability to transition to your staff. This provides enhanced outcomes and higher levels of patient satisfaction.
- Foreign-educated nurses offer a flexible workforce and are often willing to work “difficult” shifts that can be hard to fill.
- Staffing with foreign-educated nurses for longer periods of time helps stabilize bill rates and may have no upfront costs. Your organization is better able to plan what your costs are going to be, depending on your needs.
- A high percentage of foreign-educated nurses eventually move from temporary assignments into full-time roles.
While there are certain factors your organization will need to consider as you look to hire foreign-educated nurses, such as ensuring they know how to navigate U.S. specifics like setting up a checking account and obtaining childcare, this strategy offers many long-term benefits.
Learn More From Our Speakers
Visit Tiptonhealth.com/webinars/ to view our on-demand webinar video about a long-term solution to staffing needs.
Tipton’s next webinar, Part IV – A Discussion on Race, Inclusive Practices and Nursing, will be held on April 27, 2021, from 12:30–1:30 p.m. EST.