Flu season during a pandemic will test hospitals’ resources as they manage an increase in patients who have one or both viruses. During these unpredictably busy times, your per diem talent pool becomes more important than ever to ensure proper nurse-to-patient ratios.
While a reliable internal pool is a lifesaver during a surge, you also have to keep labor costs under control. Making the most of your full- and part-time clinical staff as well as your per diem professionals requires a close eye on internal float management as well as communication and engagement.
Here are 5 tips to improve those areas:
Tip #1: Provide a proper and efficient orientation.
Per diem professionals, both internal and external, are there for you when you need them. Give them the best chance of success by ensuring their orientation process is as thorough and efficient as possible so they can get to work shortly after walking in the door.
Leverage cloud-based solutions that allow them to prepare for their first shift in advance and streamline in-person training where possible.
Your per diem professionals may have a different orientation workflow from your full-time employees, but both should be properly equipped with the knowledge they need to provide the best care for your patients.
Tip #2: Ask their opinion.
Per diem professionals have acquired skills and best practices from care teams throughout your region, if not the country. Tap into that knowledge. Ask them how they’ve observed other departments solve particular challenges. Their perspective could help your team make a positive impact on patient care.
Tip #3: Evaluate your facility's technology.
Is your workforce management platform holding you back? Outdated systems can create nightmares for managers due to complex or clunky interfaces. A more intuitive, lightweight solution can improve scheduling efficiency for both nursing and staffing managers frustrated by cumbersome systems.
App-based staffing solutions save even more time by replacing cold-calling and emails with a broadcast notification to multiple teams, as well as your internal per diem pool. Busy professionals can also respond more easily to a notification via an app than a phone call.
Tip #4: Rethink your travel contracts.
Evaluate your travel agencies’ fill rates, cancelation rates, and other metrics. Are they meeting your needs considering the additional costs of stipends, lodging, and other relocation expenses? Are you having to cancel internal employees to ensure your travel professional works? You may need to consider a more flexible, cost-effective alternative.
A Los Angeles partner facility reported a 19% fill rate from their agencies. It’s hard to hire quickly with those odds.
However, using CareRev’s platform, the hospital staffed 85% of its extra staffing needs during flu season. Not only could they reach a large pool of qualified candidates with a few clicks, they could “favorite” great candidates for recurring work.
Tip #5: Improve internal float management.
When you face a surge in volume, asking your employees to fill 20 extra shifts a day will send your labor costs through the roof. You can, however, evaluate your schedules across departments and facilities and float professionals from low-demand, overstaffed sites to high-demand, short-staffed facilities. With CareRev, you can post open shifts that professionals can quickly book via our mobile app.
If you still have shifts to fill after re-routing internal resources, expand to a flexible, external talent pool. CareRev provides a network of local, fully vetted per diem ER RNs, ICU RNs, Med Surg RNs, CNAs, Surgical Technicians, Radiologic Technicians, and CRNAs. Reach them through the mobile app in minutes—no cold-calling required.
In crisis situations such as a pandemic-epidemic combo, your internal per diem pool is an invaluable resource to ensure all patients receive quality care. Streamline how you engage with these professionals to make the most of their experience and flexibility.