The healthcare industry is on the verge of a nurse staffing crisis. According to the American Nurses Association, an estimated 690,000 nurses will leave the workforce by 2024, while at the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the nursing profession will grow by 16%. At that rate, more than 1 million nurses will be needed to care for a rapidly aging population. These stunning statistics mean hospital leaders must be strategic in how they recruit and retain clinical talent.
Fortunately, hospitals facing a nursing shortage have many options. One such solution is to convert temporary clinicians into full-time employees. At Medical Solutions Plus, we are always willing to help our Hospital Clients find and convert Travel Nurses to perm staff whenever possible. As a leading expert in healthcare workforce solutions, we’ve provided three strategies you can use to convert your Travel Nurses to perm staff.
- Create a great hospital culture: A positive work environment can have lasting benefits for both nurses and patients alike. Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between nurse job satisfaction and better patient outcomes, including higher patient satisfaction scores. So, hospital leaders should strive to create a culture that promotes nurse empowerment, wellness, and engagement. A great culture starts with a facility’s employees, so ensure your frontline staff has the resources they need to succeed. Do they have enough staff, an adequate supply base, the right technology, and a manageable workload? Determine where improvements are needed and make tangible changes if necessary. For example, many hospitals nationwide are now offering their nurses the ability to schedule their own shifts and/or flexible shift options on holidays and weekends in an effort to provide a better work/life balance. Furthermore, hospital leaders should consider offering a recognition program for nurses who go above and beyond in the name of quality patient care. A meaningful recognition program is often the cornerstone of an inspiring workplace culture. After all, everyone wants to work where they are valued. The key is to find out what motivates your staff and plan your program accordingly. When your nursing staff is engaged, your facility’s patients will receive better care, your perm staff will be less likely to leave, and your facility will have a powerful tool for converting Travel Nurses to perm positions.
- Treat your Travelers like permanent staff: If a Travel Nurse likes your facility enough, he or she may consider joining your permanent staff. So, get your Travelers involved in your facility’s culture. Invite them to social events, nominate them for recognition awards when appropriate, and ask for their advice on where improvements could be made. Most Travel Nurses have diverse work experiences. They’ll be able to tell you what’s been successful at other hospitals and more importantly, what wasn’t. In addition, when you treat your Travelers like permanent staff, they’ll be that much more committed to your patients and your facility’s goals.
- Incorporate Travelers into your recruitment strategy: To that end, hospital leaders should view a Travel Nurse’s contract as a working interview. A typical 13-week assignment is a perfect opportunity to determine whether the Travel Nurse in question is a good fit for your facility without a long-term commitment. Keep in mind that many Travel Nurses are likewise determining if they want to work at your facility full-time. So, it might not be difficult to persuade them to take a permanent position with your team.
From a facility’s perm staff to the patients, everyone benefits when hospitals leaders have the ability to convert a temporary clinician into a permanent employee. With these three strategies in place, your facility can combat the nationwide nursing shortage and continue to provide quality patient care.