As a member of hospital community, you know how important it is to maintain optimum staffing levels. It’s important to healthcare workers, staff, administration, and, of course, patients.
As time passes, the nursing shortage will continue to have a major impact on staffing levels at healthcare facilities. But what exactly is the trajectory of the shortage? And what are the factors that are influencing it?
Medical Solutions recently released an infographic titled, “Nursing Shortage: Then Why Can’t I Find a Job?” The infographic is primarily aimed at Travel Nurses, but we wanted to share it here on the Healthcare Staffing Blog as well, since it highlights some important trends and causes of the nursing shortage.
Understanding when and why the nursing shortage is expected to peak can help your facility know what to expect, staff appropriately, and continue delivering excellent patient care.
AMN Healthcare Inc. recently released its 2013 Clinical Workforce Survey — “A National Survey of Hospital Executives Examining Clinical Workforce Issue in the Era of Health Reform.” The results indicate a continued trend in the direction of a nursing shortage, an issue that Travel Nurses help address. The indication was that the vacancy rate for nurses at hospitals is at 17 percent, much higher than when this data was collected in 2009.
AMN president and chief executive officer Susan Salka spoke recently with Healthcare Traveler magazine about the survey.
“Change in healthcare is a continuous evolution, but the one constant is people,” she told Healthcare Traveler. “No matter what models of care are in place, it takes physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to provide quality patient care, and the fact is we simply do not have enough of them.”
According to the article, “More than 70 percent (of hospital executives and leaders surveyed) rated the staffing of nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, and physician assistants as a high priority in 2013, compared to only 24 percent of hospital executives who rated staffing these professionals as a high priority in AMN Healthcare’s 2009 workforce survey.”
The survey also said that the hospital vacancy rates of clinical professionals had risen since 2009. In 2009 nurse vacancies were reported at 5.5 percent, whereas in 2013 they were reported as having risen to 17 percent. The allied professional vacancy rate rose from 4.6 percent in 2009 to 13.3 percent in 2013.
Salka also told Healthcare Traveler magazine: “We are expanding access to healthcare and restructuring the delivery system to improve quality and reduce costs at the precise moment when a wave of physicians and nurses is set to retire. It will take new, collaborative, and innovative staffing models to ensure our workforce is aligned with the goals we all want to reach.”
Travel Nursing will certainly continue to be a huge part of easing the nursing shortage and helping facilities continue to provide excellent patient care. Click here to check out the Travel Nursing services Medical Solutions offers to many facilities across the nation.
Today is the last day to register with early bird pricing for the upcoming Staffing Industry Analysts Executive Forum, being held March 18-21, 2014, in San Diego.
This year’s keynote speakers include Barry Asin, President of Staffing Industry Analysts; Alan Beaulieu, President/Author/Provacateur of ITR Economics; Guy Kawasaki, Silicon Valley Business Advisor and Author; and Peter Sheahan, Founder/CEO/Best-selling author of ChangeLabs.
According to Staffing Industry Analysts, “The Executive Forum is the most prominent annual meeting for CEOs, owners, and senior level executives from all sectors and segments of the staffing industry. This event provides access to the top industry thinkers, leaders, and innovators, a focus on the staffing industry’s strategic issues, developing trends, future opportunities, current challenges, and an unparalleled opportunity for informal, peer networking as well as more formal deal-making.”
Click here to learn more about the 2014 Staffing Industry Analysts Executive Forum.
When staffing your facility it is very important to make sure you have a good nurse to patient ratio, as studies have shown much better patient outcomes with appropriate ratios. This is an issue that bringing in Travel Nurses can help address, keeping your facility fully staffed and avoiding nurse burnout. But beyond simple numbers of staff, it is also important to consider the length and quality of your nurse staff’s experience.
A recent Health Leaders Media article discussed a study done by Patricia A. Hickey, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, Vice President of Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services at Boston Children’s Hospital, which links clinical experience and pediatric patient outcomes. The study was published in the December 2013 Journal of Nursing Administration, and concluded that, “A cut point of 20% RNs or greater with 2 years’ clinical experience or less was determined to significantly affect inpatient mortality.” Data for the study was collected from 38 children’s hospitals.
In a nutshell, the study confirmed that while nurse staffing numbers matter greatly, the experience and education levels of the staff also factor in. So, while some hospital administrations may view older/more experienced nurses as simply more expensive, Hickey tells HLM that actually they are “priceless” when it comes to achieving proper patient care. Hickey went on to tell HLM:
“There is nothing more expensive than turnover… [the hiring process] is far more expensive than the salary that you’re going to pay to a senior nurse, and all nurse leaders know that. I think we now, for the first time, have illustrated why nurses deserve the salaries that they get — because they are saving lives and they are rescuing patients from bad outcomes.”
But Hickey certainly doesn’t mean for her study to cast out brand new nurses; of course nurses must gain experience somehow and all experienced nurses were once new. She advises an active period of support and mentoring for them, meanwhile allowing them to make up no more than 20 percent of a unit’s staff.
The industry standard for Travel Nurses is 2 year clinical experience before they can travel — which, according to Hickey’s study — bodes very well for facilities that staff with Travel Nurses!
Medical Solutions had two Travelers and two Recruiters named to the list of 2013 winners. While all of our Travelers and Career Consultants are top-notch, we want to give extra recognition to our winners for 2013 — these Travelers and Recruiters are exactly the reason why facilities across the nation trust Medical Solutions with their healthcare staffing needs!
Healthcare Traveler said the Travelers who made their list displayed “flexibility, dependability, loyalty, professionalism, and an adventurous spirit … especially when an assignment isn’t ideal, or workplace circumstances call for a level head.”
We trust all of our Travelers to go out and provide great patient care in every hospital and facility, but this year Quinn Anthony and Marla Preader stood out as the best of the best.
Marla’s Career Consultant, Jake Zoucha said, “Marla is a Traveler that I have developed a strong respect and admiration for over the past year. She’s an excellent nurse that has proven to me that she can come through on the other end with the same positive attitude.” Marla is an RN who specializes in OR.
Quinn’s Career Consultant, Jackie Sleddens said, “[Quinn] consistently has a positive attitude and is a great representative of Medical Solutions.” He is an allied healthcare worker in Catherization Lab.
Here is the full list of Travelers of the Year for 2013.
As for our winning Career Consultants for 2013, they embody the spirit of a great recruiter, which Healthcare Traveler defines in part as “a willingness to listen, capacity to empathize, and the desire to help when things get sticky.” Such qualities are hugely important from a facility’s perspective, as a good recruiter can help keep a Traveler on track and keep them doing excellent work within your facility.
Major kudos to our 2013 winners, Medical Solutions Career Consultants Jenifer Lyman and Jackie Sleddens.
One Traveler called Jenifer, “by far the best Recruiter I have ever worked with,” adding, “She is professional and personal.” Another Traveler called Jackie “a step above the rest” and complimented her super organizational skills. This is Jackie’s third win in as many years!
Here is the full list of Recruiters of the Year for 2013.
When a facility is choosing a travel nurse staffing company there are a lot of factors to consider. You’ll want to look at cost, caliber of staff provided, and how quality complaints are handled, among other factors. One element of a great staffing company that really has a resounding effect is how they treat their nurses.
There are tons of benefits of working with a company that values it nurses. When Travelers are being treated well and appreciated as individuals and not just numbers, they are happier and more invested in their work in your facility.
Because we do care about our nurses and because we also care about providing your facility with the highest quality workers, there are several things we do at Medical Solutions to ensure that we are valuing our nurses and that they know it!
We provide excellent, affordable health insurance options for our Travel Nurses. In 2013, as a result of our Travelers’ feedback we did a huge overhaul of our insurance rates in order to better serve them. Being able to staff Travelers who are pleased with their benefits is a great asset to your facility.
Medical Solutions Career Consultants care about their Travelers throughout an assignment and make sure they are always there to provide support. It’s business, but it’s also friendship. On your end, this once again ensures happy Travelers who know what to expect from an assignment and benefit from all the support of a great recruiter.
At Medical Solutions we like to shower the nurses we love with love — sending them gifts large and small throughout their affiliation with us. We all know how good it feels to be recognized for doing important work, and a little warm fuzzy can go a long way. We also have a lot of fun via social media with our nurses, and we love to host contests and other fun events for them to participate in. We even launched a new holiday in their honor; celebrating the first annual Travel Nurses Day last October 11, 2013.
These are just a few of the ways that Medical Solutions values, respects, and provides for our Travel Nurses, but the ways happy nurses can benefit your facility are many!
The husband of a deceased Cincinnati, Ohio nurse says that she died due to major and irresponsible staffing cuts at her hospital. Beth Jaspers died in a one-car accident when she lost control of her SUV, flew off of Ohio’s Route 50, crashed into a tree, and died at the scene. The accident took place in the early morning hours as she attempted to return home after a 12-hour shift.
Jim Jasper’s lawsuit names Jewish Hospital and its parent company Mercy Health Partners as defendants in the suit which alleges that they willfully and knowingly worked Beth Jaspers to death by accounting for staffing cuts by making the remaining nurses work longer hours than expected in order to cover the hospital’s needs.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the hospital was “regularly understaffed” and had been since 2011. Due to the understaffing nurses would regularly be called in to work while off-duty, work through meal breaks and often without bathroom breaks, pick up additional shifts, and be asked to work longer hours than scheduled.
The hospital would not comment, referencing pending litigation, except to say, “Our hearts go out to the family.”
The lawsuit states that during her last shift Beth Jaspers told co-workers that she was “really stressed” and “hadn’t eaten,” and that this fatigue caused by chronic hospital understaffing contributed to her death. It also alleges that Beth Jaspers’ supervisor was well aware of how hard she’d been being worked, even reporting to her superiors that Beth was being “worked to death.” Despite this, no action was taken by the hospital to deal with the nurse burnout caused by understaffing.
“Something needs to change, these nurses cannot be treated this way. The patient care is an issue, but they can’t continue to work these nurses and expect them to pick up the slack because they don’t want to staff the hospitals,” Jim Jasper told a CNN affiliate.
Bonnie Castillo, government relations director with National Nurses United, told CNN that habitual hospital understaffing is a huge issue at many hospitals throughout the U.S.
“It is probably the single biggest issue facing nurses nowadays, and it’s not only affecting nurses, but patient health as well,” said Castillo.
Nurse burnout is certainly a major issue, and it’s truly tragic when a situation like Beth Jaspers’ death occurs. Travel Nurses are one way to fend off the ill effects of nurse burnout. What steps does your facility take in order to combat nurse burnout?
As Americans celebrate the holiday season there is no shortage of chances for charity and opportunities to help one’s fellow human. People are more likely than ever during the holidays to volunteer their time, donate money or food to organizations that work to help those in need, and in general be kinder to others and themselves.
An article by HealthLeaders Media today detailed several organizations that “have used holiday cheer to make a positive impact on their communities.” Here are some of the facilities’ actions and projects that are detailed in the HLM piece:
- New Lenox, Illinois’s Silver Cross Hospital partnered with a local mall for I Matter, a program that offers shoppers savings for “taking an active role in their preventative care.” Members get a welcome gift paired with info on how to schedule certain screenings. Mall retailers then offer discounts to those who get mammography or a heart screening.
- In Oregon, Columbia Memorial Hospital and Providence Seaside Hospital are engaging in a friendly food drive campaign and competition. The hospitals arranged several drop-off locations for food to be collected and will abide by a points-based system that assigns values to each donated food item to decide the winner. (Spoiler alert: The whole community really wins with this kind of generosity!) Monetary donations will also be accepted, with each dollar equivalent to 5 points in the contest.
- CarePoint Health is a three-hospital system in New Jersey that has been encouraging its staff to volunteer at local shelters and food banks. CarePoint also donated $1,000 checks to a handful of food banks.
“This is about CarePoint’s commitment to the community,” Karen Stewart, director of marketing and public relations for CarePoint, was quoted in the HLM article. “These are often the same people the hospital serves.”
Does your facility do anything to promote giving, generosity, and/or health throughout the holiday season? If so, let us know about it in the comments!
The commendable staff of nurses, administrators, and others, University of Minnesota’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital put out and awesome video cover of Sara Bareilles’ song ‘Brave.” Young patients also got in on the action in this heartwarming and inspiring video. I’d recommend grabbing a box of Kleenex before viewing.
Any hospital would be so blessed and honored to have staff like those who conceived of and created this video. The sentiment behind it really shows off a great bunch of staff, patients, and an overall amazing hospital culture.
Bareilles was so inspired by the video that she said in an HLN interview, “I was sent this video by a friend of a friend who lives in Minnesota, and I watched it late at night and immediately my eyes welled up. It’s moment like this that reminds me of the importance of music, and I can’t think of a more perfect incarnation of this song. It’s exactly the kind of thing that gives the life to this song that we were hoping for.”
Check out this clip of Bareilles surprising some of the video’s creators.
What does your facility do to inspire this kind of culture and dedication from your staff, whether perm or temporary?
Medical Solutions is proud to share the great news that our co-founder and CEO/CFO, Scott Anderson, was named to Staffing Industry Analysts’ Staffing Top 100 for 2013.
Staffing Industry Analysts says the list features, “The 100 most influential people in the staffing industry.” The annual list is a great measure of movers, shakers, innovators, and leaders within the staffing industry.
Anderson is not only influential as a leader of the third largest travel nurse staffing company in the nation, but he also displays an amazing dedication to making sure that Medical Solutions maintains a quality workforce of travel nurses and it’s really great to see him honored for it. He insists on upholding the most stringent standards when it comes to licensing, certifications, and testing, in order to ensure that Medical Solutions continues to be known for sending only the most qualified, competent, and work-ready nurses to staff facilities across the country.
Anderson’s entry in the Staffing Top 100 reads, “As co-founder and head of Medical Solutions L.L.C., Scott Anderson has taken the company to new heights. Under Anderson’s leadership, Medical Solutions was among the first staffing companies to achieve The Joint Commission healthcare staffing services certification. With its acquisition of On Assignment’s travel nurse division in February 2013, Medical Solutions became the third-largest travel nurse provider in the U.S. It was named a Best Staffing Firm to Work For by Staffing Industry Analysts in 2012 and 2013, among other accolades. Anderson also serves on the Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics board.”
Anderson commented on this important distinction, saying, “I’m so honored to be recognized by Staffing Industry Analysts. However, the real credit should be given to our great staff and nurses who have established a culture and commitment to service that allows Medical Solutions to thrive in the industry and set a solid example for others.”