Whether per diem or travel, temporary healthcare professionals comprise a significant portion of the hospital workforce. During the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for temporary professionals has more than tripled.
For travel nurses willing to cross state lines to help in high-crisis areas, that demand has led to a huge pay spike. Kaiser Health News reported of travel nurses earning between $5,000 and $8,000 per week.
Granted, these healthcare professionals deserve competitive pay for working in high-risk, high-stress environments. But this still leads to healthcare organizations being financially stretched to the max.
To maintain adequate staffing without overspending, some healthcare organizations are rethinking their staffing mix. Instead of using temporary professionals for about 10% of their staffing needs, they’re upping that to between 40 and 50%. This allows them to staff up quickly during surges and prevent overstaffing during slower periods. Healthcare organizations using this model can substantially lower overall labor costs.
But with travel nurses commanding such high salaries, how do you make this strategy work?
Consider alternatives to your travel nurse staffing strategy
Many organizations are now turning to technology solutions as a way to create a more flexible, cost-effective staffing model. In today’s growing gig economy, on-demand staffing - powered by software - has allowed organizations across all industries to reduce labor costs while empowering workers with a flexible way to earn more money.
Traditionally, the process of securing and onboarding flexible, locally based healthcare talent involved an overload of phone calls, emails and back-and-forth with a recruiter. Today, technology has eliminated most of the legwork.
As a cloud-based staffing solution, CareRev lets you bring in local, experienced healthcare professionals with less administrative burden and without the baggage of travel. Whether you need support for six days or six weeks, CareRev has you covered.
How does CareRev compare to traditional travel nurse staffing?
#1: More flexibility
When the nearby nursing home has a COVID-19 outbreak or when you have multiple nurses out on vacation, you can use the CareRev app to bring in local, fully-vetted talent on-demand. There is no minimum or maximum amount of shifts you have to post so you can post often or as little as you need without the long-term commitment.
In cases where you need healthcare professionals for more than just a couple shifts, CareRev also offers a Flexible Assignments option through the app. Flexible Assignments typically last four to six weeks—less than half the commitment of a standard travel contract. This win-win option allows you to develop strong relationships with the same fully-vetted healthcare professionals over a longer time period that still offers flexibility.
#2: Impactful cost savings
Travel nurses require stipends to cover lodging and meals on top of a weekly salary. And because travel nurses typically work through agencies, you also have to pay agency commissions, which range from 25 to 50% -- or more. A $2,000-per-week pay rate can easily double when you factor in all those extra costs.
CareRev cuts out the middleman—the staffing agency—so you avoid agency commissions. On top of that, our professionals are local, so you don’t have to pay meal or lodging stipends and you get to know the untapped talent of your own neighborhood. Eliminating those costs can save you thousands of dollars on just one travel assignment!
#3: Fit with your long-term staffing strategy
If you’re like most healthcare executives, you have to continually find ways to cut costs while providing higher quality care. Because labor is the largest expense on a hospital’s budget, staffing gets a long look.
CareRev enables an innovative staffing model that allows you to optimize your existing team while using temporary professionals to fill in gaps. While your temporary staff may still include some portion of travel nurses and agency, transitioning to a technology-enabled solution like CareRev helps you fill remaining gaps with local, fully-vetted healthcare professionals for a lower cost and in less time. That includes not only RNs, but CNAs, technicians and medical assistants.
For your long-term strategy, the ever-evolving nature of technology combined with this flexible staffing model makes it a more scalable solution than simply continuing to work with traditional travel agencies. As the workforce keeps shifting towards innovative organizations and technology-enabled experiences, healthcare providers will have to adapt to meet their staffing and business goals.
Wherever your workforce strategy takes you, it’s important to consider how technology can bring you farther faster - especially when the way you’ve been doing things isn’t quite working anymore.