It has been nearly three years since the start of the pandemic. Over the past few years, we have learned a lot about the virus itself and the intense pressure that it has placed on clinical staff. Staffing hospitals to ensure patient care, safety, and satisfaction is a relentless challenge for hospital administrators and nurse managers. With 2023 here, our health systems and administrators have old and new challenges to face. HWL’s forward-thinking workforce solutions are available to healthcare organizations looking to explore non-traditional staffing solutions that can take pressure off their hospitals and staff.
Challenge 1: Staffing our hospitals
Our health systems are being pushed to their limits with their personnel and monetary resources. Many facilities nationwide have been forced to rely heavily on travel nurses to fill vacancies within their health systems. Along with the traditional staffing method, have come significant costs to the hospitals seeking the clinical staff for daily coverage, not to mention the needs when seasonal viruses hit. Administrators and Nurse Managers must find staffing alternatives that will not double or triple the cost associated with hiring. There is a tremendous need for transparency surrounding the costs associated with hiring contingent staff to give hospitals a leg up on the competitive process of hiring nurses. Administrators are going in blindly, paying high fees for nurse coverage out of desperation.
Fortunately for health systems across the country, Healthcare Workforce Logistics (HWL) has brought forth an alternative staffing solution that can reduce the crippling costs associated with hiring contingent labor. HWL supports organizations in creating an internal agency that reduces contingent labor costs while retaining the quality healthcare workers that keep these organizations operating smoothly.
Challenge 2: Employee Retention
Staff-related challenges precipitated not only as a result of Covid-19 stressors but also by burnout, low job satisfaction, and high patient-to-staff ratios as created a routine of regular nursing staff leaving their long-term positions at community hospitals for travel positions that offer a significant pay increase. Workday breaks and work-life balance are hard to come by when nurses are given double the patient load and there is an increased need to take on additional shifts throughout the week. Administrators for hospitals nationwide must institute wellness initiatives and support their nurses in regular use of their Paid Time Off and shift breaks to get the mental and physical reprieve they need from the heavy workloads they incur. Relief from double shifts and opportunities for self-care tie back to enough coverage in the hospital units. When nurses can take time away to rest, the likelihood of burnout decreases significantly.
Healthcare organizations can efficiently and suitably staff their facilities using an internal agency and or optimize the use of locums providers when provider vacancies arise, by creating a streamlined locums process; both of which are services HWL is well versed in.
Challenge 3: Reduce Healthcare Costs
Reliance on travel nurses at hospitals across the country, delayed and complicated claims processing and reimbursement, and increased costs to keep the doors open are plaguing health systems. Healthcare spending that skyrocketed at the height of the pandemic start of 2020 to $4.1 trillion1 is projected to climb to $6.2 trillion by 2028.2 With the delayed payment of claims, reduced reimbursement rates, and patient’s inability to pay the increased out-of-pocket costs associated with their care, healthcare facilities do not have the funds to continue to use a staffing model that drains hospitals’ piggy banks. Hospital Administrators must find ways to combat these climbing costs and one of the easiest ways to do that is by finding savings in their contingent staffing.
Staffing, retaining employees, and reducing healthcare costs will be at the forefront of administrators’ minds. There are solutions out there but finding a sustainable one is vital. HWL has strategic workforce solutions that cannot only render cost savings but also create processes, collaborative oversite, and reporting to ensure healthcare organizations can do what they do best – care for patients and ensure care is accessible in every community.