From 2020 to 2021, the Total Number of Registered Nurses Decreased by 100,000. This Is the Greatest Turnover in the Last Four Decades of Healthcare History. In the midst of an Unprecedented Healthcare Professional Shortage, Facilities Are Scrambling for Staffing Solutions. Two Main Options Are Available to Them: Direct Hires and Temporary Nurses from Staffing Agencies or Booking Platforms Such as Vitawerks. This Begs the Question: What Is the Best Possible Solution for Facilities, During This Ongoing HCP crisis? Do They Really Have to Pick Between the Two?
What Differentiates Direct Hires from Temporary Staffing?
Before Moving Forward, It Is Important to Establish the Distinction Between the Two Methods of Staffing. Direct Hires Refer to Hcps Who Work Full-Time at a Hospital, Long-Term Care Center or Any Other Healthcare Facility. They Work at Designated Shifts, Are Under a Long-Term Contract with Their Employer and Earn a Fixed Compensation Rate Over a Period of Time (Typically on a Monthly Basis.) Put simply, These Are the Traditional HCP hires That Everyone Has Grown Accustomed To.
Meanwhile, Temporary HCps are Brought in Through Staffing Agencies or Applications Like Vitawerks. They Sign Temporary Contracts That Expire After Weeks, Months, or Even After a Single Shift. Temporary HCps are Brought in to Fill in Short-Term Vacancies or Lack of Manpower. Instead of a Fixed Rate, Their Compensation Depends on Where They Sign With. They Can Sign as Many Contracts with Different Facilities as They Wish, Provided That They Are Capable of Finishing All the Jobs That They Take On.
What Works Best for Our Facility?
All Facilities Have to Operate with a Strong Base of High-Quality Full-Time Hcps. When Faced with a Workforce Shortage or Inadequate Staffing Ratios, However, They Need to Determine How to Make Up That Deficit. When You Choose Between Full-Time Staffing and Temporary HCPS, You Need to Weigh the Unique Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Approach:
Advantages of Direct Hires:
When You Take on Direct Hires, You Are Bringing Them in Long Term. By Default, They Will Have More Time to Build Continuity with Your Facility. Over the Course of Their Careers, They Will Gain an Intimate Understanding of the Institution’s Systems, Mission, and Vision. They Will Also Build Greater Chemistry with Their Fellow Nurses, Nurse Aides, Doctors, Physicians, and Staff. This May Not Seem Like Much, but Teamwork Is the Key to Success in Healthcare. You Will Not Find This Kind of Community with Temporary Staffing.
Fewer Issues with Chemistry
In many instances, a “Rift” Can Form Between the Temporary HCPS and the Direct Hires. Naturally, the Full Time Staff Will Not Perceive Temporarily Staffed Hcps as “Part of Their Organization.” This Can Cause a Sense of Isolation Among the Per Diem Staff. In the Worst Case Scenario, Flares or Confrontations May Occur. Preventing This Instance Requires Proper Communication Between Staff, and Good Management on the Part of Your Facility’s Nurse Leaders. It Is a Challenge That Can Be Overcome, but It Is Not One That Is Faced by Most Direct Hires.
For both Facilities and HCPS, the Fixed Compensation Makes Everything Easier on a Logistical Level. Facilities Have a General Idea of What Manpower Will Cost Each Month, with Fixed Monthly Compensation. HCps also Have an Easier Time Planning Their Finances with a Steady, Consistent Rate. Taxation Is Also Significantly Easier, on the Healthcare Professional’s Part, Since It Is Automatically Deducted from Your Compensation. Finally, Health Coverage and Sick Leave Make It Viable for HCPS to Take Days Off Due to Illness. For many, This Kind of Stability in Such a Chaotic Industry Is Appealing.
Advantages of Temporary Staffing
Hiring and Developing New HCPS is Incredibly Costly. Resources Need to Be Placed into Scouting New Hcps, and Onboarding Them. Training Them and Orienting Them on How a Facility Works Will Also Incur Heavy Expenditure. After All, You Need to Pay Nurse Educators to Develop Training Programs and Instruct New Hires. When You Need to Fill a Vacancy Immediately, a Full-Time Hire Might Not Be the Most Efficient. Temporary Staffing Gives You Access to Professional, and Readily Available Hcps Who Are Already Trained and Experienced. After a Brief Orientation, They Should Be Ready to Contribute Immediately.
Supports the Full Time Staff
Bringing in Temporary Staff Should Not Make Your Full-Time Staff Feel Alarmed. They Are There to Help and Supplement Full-Time Nurses, Nurse Aides, Doctors, and More. When Temporary Hcps Are Brought In, the Hcp to Patient Ratios Become More Balanced as a Result. As a result, They Ease the Burden on Direct Hires Who May Have Been Overstretched Beforehand. This Is Why Staffing Agencies and Booking Apps Like Vitawerks Gained Such Prominence, Following the Pandemic. One Assists and Supplements the Other, Instead of Replacing Them Outright.
During the Pandemic, Facilities Were Caught Off Guard by Short Term Spikes in Case Loads and Patients. the Hcp to Patient Ratios Were Inadequate, and Facilities Across the Country Were Not Prepared to Handle Them. Bringing in More Full-Time HCps was Not Always the Answer, However. Once Case Counts Returned to Normal, Facilities Could Find Themselves Overstaffed. This results in Paying Too Much on Compensation and Training for Minimum Gain. Temporary Staffing Provides Flexibility to a Facility’s Workforce. If a Short-Term, Dramatic Increase in Patients Happens (In Another Pandemic, a Natural Disaster That Causes Mass Injury, etc.), They Can Bring in More HCps on a Temporary Basis. This Lets Them Maintain Good Hcp to HCP-to-patient ratios Without Overstaffing.
Do You Have to Choose?
Contrary to Popular Belief, Direct Hires and Temporary Workers Do Not Have to Be in Conflict. As was Mentioned Earlier, Temporary Staff Are Brought in to Support the Full-Time Workers Who Form the Heart of a Facility. In truth, What Works Best for a Facility Will Ultimately Depend on the Context of Your Situation, and Your Needs at That Point in Time. Is There a Long-Term Vacancy That You Want to Fill? Are You Prepared for the Financial Investment That Bringing in a Full-Time HCP Will Entail? If That Is the Case, You Want to Look for a Direct Hire.
on the Other Hand, Perhaps Your Needs Are More Short-term. It Could Be One of Your Staff Members Has Suddenly Called in Sick, or is on Vacation Leave. Perhaps Your Area Is Experiencing a Resurgence of COVID-19 in Certain Areas, and Facilities Are Suddenly Bringing in More Patients Than Expected. When You Need Immediate, Short-Term Solutions, Then Temporary Staffing Is the Best Possible Solution for Your Facility.
Go Out There!
A number of Factors Will Determine Your Final Decision. Your Facility’s Current State and Financial Health, Market Trends, and More Will All Play Their Part. Ultimately, Direct Hiring and Temporary Staffing Are Both Useful Strategies for a Facility’s Disposal. They Inform and Supplement Each Other, as They Are Used in Tandem. with the Right Resource Management and Judgment, You Really Cannot Go Wrong with Either Choice. Just Assess the Situation, Look at What Your Facility Has at Your Disposal, and the Correct Choice Will Ultimately Come to You.