The disruptions over the past two years have prompted many hospitals and health systems to put more cost-effective healthcare staffing models into action. At the same time, they must make sure those support nurses and other healthcare professionals. Is it possible to have both?
We say yes.
Healthcare facilities have implemented diverse approaches with solid results. From simple strategies such as adopting employee engagement apps to shifting to a more flexible workforce model, facilities have found solutions to support teams while also containing costs. That includes success with multiple combinations of the staffing models below.
5 innovative nurse staffing models
The in-house model
Build up and lean on your internal team. This helps reduce excessive costs associated with travel contracts. A recent survey reported that healthcare facilities spent 130% more on agency and temporary labor as of September 2021 compared to pre-pandemic. It also noted these labor sources cost 50% more than employees.
By building up your employee roster, you’ll have an opportunity to build and improve your facility's culture and climate. You may, however, face additional labor costs associated with onboarding, benefits, and overtime.
To mitigate some of these costs, build up your internal float pool. An internal pool of per-diem professionals can fill in during vacations, maternity leaves, and during emergency situations. CareRev allows your facility to manage costs by scheduling per diem shifts according to patient demand. Fully-vetted and experienced nursing and other healthcare professionals can pick up those shifts right away via our app. If you need additional support, CareRev automatically broadcasts shifts to our local pool of fully vetted professionals
The top-of-license model
You may be able to solve some of your facility’s staffing challenges by simply optimizing your current staff. Staffing top-of-license means making the best use of the clinicians on your team. This model ensures team members perform to the highest extent of their education, training, and experience.
Staffing top-of-license helps lower labor costs because you’re not assigning entry level duties to providers with 20 years of experience. Other benefits include improved employee engagement and retention and overall job satisfaction.
As patient demand fluctuates, it’s critical for busy facilities to consider this approach. CareRev can provide your facility with access to a range of professionals who can fill in top-of-license gaps. For instance, if you have an RN or CRNA who takes vacation time, we can connect you with one of our professionals who has matching skills and experience to fill their shifts.
The cross-train model
To fill staffing gaps quickly and easily, cross-train clinicians so they can serve multiple roles. For example, cross-train nursing staff so they can serve in med-surg units or as OR RNs. Clinicians in non-patient-facing specialties can learn how to handle basic patient-facing roles. Recent nursing school grads can take on administrative and/or less mission-critical tasks.
Cross-training also applies to sharing knowledge. Using videoconferencing tools, one specialist can advise multiple staff members on equipment operation and similar tasks.
The retention model
Replacing an employee costs between one half to two times that employee’s salary according to Gallup research. Why not focus on keeping your healthcare professionals happy?
Mark Mahnfeldt, MSN, RN, Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts, told Becker’s Hospital Review his push for 2022 is to invest in his people. That push includes growth opportunities, fostering a supportive culture, and increasing compensation.
In the same report, Greg Till, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at Providence in Renton, Washington, said his organization included a gratitude bonus as part of its retention strategy. The healthcare system also improved access to mental health care and enabled new technology and other processes to mitigate burnout.
The flexible workforce model
Workers across industries are demanding more flexibility in how, where, and when they work. While COVID-19 accelerated the work-from-home trend, the gig economy led to a new on-demand workforce. On-demand clinicians form the basis of a flexible workforce model.
Flexible options allow healthcare facilities to match the right provider with the right patient at the right time without escalating labor costs. How does it work? Instead of staffing to 90% capacity – hard to do during a staffing shortage and on a tight budget – hospitals staff to 60% capacity and fill in the gaps with per-diem talent.
A flexible model is an agile model. Rather than relying primarily on agencies for talent, which takes time and resources, healthcare facilities lean on technology-enabled platforms like CareRev.
When you post a shift, your internal per-diem pool sees that notice instantly though the app on their phone. A professional with the experience you need picks up that shift in seconds. When you need more backup, you’ve got CareRev’s broad network of qualified health professionals at your fingertips. They can pick up the shift in seconds and get to your facility in minutes.
Flexible nursing staffing models that use on-demand talent and technology are one of the most impactful ways to staff your healthcare facility while supporting healthcare professionals. Combine this with other cost-effective healthcare and medical clinic staffing models to cross-train staff, staff top of license, and improve retention, and your facility has a winning model for your business and your people.