Under staffing of nurses is a major concern because of the effects it can have on patient safety and quality of care. According to a US Department of Health EPC report, five studies were conducted to examine the relationship between adverse patient outcomes and hospital nurse staffing.
All five studies found at least some association between lower nurse staffing levels and one or more types of adverse patient outcomes. Some of the adverse effects on patients under nursing care included: urinary tract infections, pneumonia, shock, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, longer hospital stays, failure to rescue, and 30-day mortality. However, the studies found a significant correlation between lower nurse staffing levels and higher rates of pneumonia.
This study also found that a 10-percent increase in RN proportion was associated with a 9.5-percent decrease in the odds of pneumonia. While increasing your current nurses’ workload seems as easy way to remedy this situation, most hospitals are already maxing out nurse hours which lead to fatigue and more patient errors. Adding at least one travel nurse to your facility staff could remedy the situation, without accruing additional costs and often times saving money. In fact, travelers cost about the same and even less than a permanent staff member due to no vacation or sick time-off.
This past Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as healthcare reform. Many healthcare facilities were concerned on what impact the reform would have on their current consolidation and strategic investment in clinics and information technology.
According to the Wall Street Journal, hospitals need not fret. The WSJ claims the reform will support hospital strategies preparing for change under the law.
What do you think?
It can be often difficult finding a quality healthcare staffing agency to hire. You need to trust the company is sending you qualified healthcare staff that integrates well with your hospital. Here are some things to look for when working with a healthcare staffing agency:
Experience-One important factor to consider is how long the agency has been around and how long their recruiters have been recruiting. Knowing how to place qualified candidates and fill positions is something learned with experience. Having this experience gives them the know how to handle difficult situations and the foresight to know which type of candidates will be best for an assignment.
Candidates that Fit- They provide you with good matches for your available positions, not just candidates they need to assign. Where do they recruit their candidates? What is their screening process? Great agencies will screen their candidates thoroughly to make sure their resume matches their experience.
Organization- If paper work comes to you unorganized and incomplete, it could be a reflection of the recruiters work habits and also a possible indication they will not be providing you with the best candidate for your position.
Specialization-What does the staffing agency specialize in? Do they place travel nurses, allied professionals, therapists, techs? Your best chance for finding the ideal candidate is to go to an agency who concentrates on exactly the type of positions you are trying to fill. An agency will have an abundance of skilled candidates in their database and will know how to filter out and send you the superstar traveler you are looking for.
Benefits- They provide their travelers with great benefits. This ensures the happiness of the traveler, which means a better employee for you.
What do you look for in a travel staffing agency?
Having trouble recruiting hospital staff? This might be your solution…
One Orlando hospital sold part of their land to a local developer to build convenient, nearby housing for hospital staff. The building developer agreed to offer hospital employees a three-month preferred lease option before the apartments are made available to the public. Even when the apartments are all rented, hospital employees will be bumped to the top of the waiting list.
The convenience, safety and affordability of the housing are very appealing reasons for healthcare travelers to work for this facility. The Florida hospital views this as a prized asset, especially when recruiting from out of state.
Currently, traveling staff are forced to live in the suburbs due to unaffordable rent costs. Employees living in these areas spend an average of 45 minutes in Orlando’s traffic to and from work. However, living in the new residences will only require a 5 minute walk commute. Upon proposal of the project, the hospital requested that 80% of the apartments would be affordable for families earning between 40,000 and $70,000.
The apartment complex is just the beginning to the campus’s Health Village concept, which will include shops, restaurants, a swimming pool, fitness facility, garage parking and even electric cars that can be rented by the hour. A rail commuter station will also be built near the hospital for easy access to downtown Orlando. Source: Health Leaders Media.
A Minneapolis-based hospital group will soon implement color-coded uniform requirements so that patients and family members can easily identify nurses from other hospital workers. This requirement has been causing some controversy among nurses nationally. Many argue that their brightly colored scrubs cheer up patients; the solid colored scrubs lack individuality and are depressing. What do you think?
Most hospitals currently implement well-being programs for their staff. Recently, more and more have been expanded beyond the traditional health and wellness offerings and are now addressing mental and emotional health, financial health, work-life effectiveness and workplace environment and stress. With this new integration, many already see measureable and positive results which have impacted employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. You can read more on the subject here.
For all those aspiring travel nurses out there! We’ve designed a new easy-to-follow Student Guide to Travel Nursing for those students wanting to chose travel nursing as career. The student guide details information on the required education, experience and necessary skills to become a successful travel nurse. Please pass this on to any students interested in choosing travel nursing as a career path.
It is currently posted on the Medical Solutions website and is also available in a printable version.
It’s proven that hospitals with an effective culture provide better patient care and outperform competitors. To achieve a desired hospital culture, you must identify what kind of culture you currently have, decide what you want your culture to be, and shift everyone toward the preferred culture.
The easiest way to assess current culture is to simply observe. How does your staffing act? Are they respectful toward higher authority? Do they have the patient’s best interest in mind? How is the temporary staff being treated? Look for common conduct and visible signs. Listen to what your nurses, doctors and patients are telling you. Read reviews of your hospitals. Surveys. And more surveys. Performing initial in-depth surveys for patients is the easiest way to evaluate your culture. Then, continue to conduct follow-up surveys to evaluate progress. These will all give you an idea of what your current hospital culture is like.
What did you learn from your observations? Did you find that your hospital values safely, effective care, respecting the dignity of all who come through your doors? If you said yes to all these, then your hospital is on the right track. If not, then you certainly have some work to do. From here, you can decide what you like about your current culture and, of course, what you need to change.
Things to strive for in a hospital culture:
- Ensuring patient safety
- Attitude of teamwork and open communication
- Equality of staff
- Comfortability in reporting potential hazards without fear of reprimanding
After you’ve decided on a solid hospital culture, it’s now time to move your staffing in that direction. This is definitely a difficult task in the healthcare staffing world with a plethora of temporary staffing and travel nurses coming and going. These are some steps to start with:
- Have a staff meeting. Clearly communicate the culture to your employees and the results you’d like to achieve, and then over communicate and remind them daily.
- Have fun with it by providing incentives for complying with the hospital culture.
- Make the staff feel like they are personally responsible for the successfulness of the hospital.
- Be the leader! The culture will not survive if the authority is not setting the example
Keep it up. Your culture isn’t something you start and then ignore. A strong culture is a result of care and enforcement. How do you know that you are progressing in the right direction? Go back to step 1. Observe, listen and survey. Hopefully you will see the progression from where you started.
Remember you can create the idea of the culture you want, but only your staff can make it a reality.