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Nursing Updated March 20, 2023

4 Proactive Strategies for Nurse Staffing

How is your organization dealing with the shortage of healthcare talent? Are your traditional nurse recruitment and retention strategies working?

The last couple of years have turned an already difficult employment market into full-blown shortages in many clinical areas that may require more creative solutions.

To successfully move beyond in the moment and reactionary decisions, there are proactive steps to help your organization maintain satisfactory nurse staffing and mitigate clinician shortages. The benefits of securing appropriate levels of staff have several payoffs, including both patient and staff satisfaction, leading to even better recruitment success.

The workforce experts at AMN Healthcare have identified four proven strategies that are introduced here but fully described in a new white paper, 4 Ways to Be Proactive in Today’s Competitive Healthcare Marketplace. The paper can be downloaded for free, and our team is available to work with you to design staffing solutions to achieve your patient care goals.

4 Keys to Proactive Nurse Staffing

  1. Use the right mix of staffing solutions

In addition to permanent staff, many healthcare organizations need to rely on supplemental or contingent labor to maintain adequate staffing. The options for supplemental labor have expanded and evolved over the years. Employers who need more nurses, for example, may be able to use travel nurses, local nurses (which can include block booking or single shifts), or crisis response nurses. Start dates and assignment lengths can vary, depending on your needs. Your organization may also use a combination of these options at different times and under different situations.

  1. Make your opportunity more competitive

Whether you are in a highly desirable location or a more challenging market, there are several things that you can do to attract healthcare professionals to consider your job openings. In addition to offering competitive pay rates, employers are finding that flexibility, speed and streamlined processes can help.

For instance, many healthcare systems moved to crisis credentialing and compliance guidelines during COVID-19 and have continued these streamlined guidelines with favorable results. Expediting the interview process, training, and orientation through digital means, and offering more flexible start dates and other benefits can also attract more candidates to your specific opportunity. (Ask our AMN team for more creative ideas that our clients are using successfully.)

  1. Extend and rebook supplemental staff

Instead of searching for replacement staff repeatedly, you can save time and expense by making the most of the supplemental nurses and other clinicians who are already working for you. Many travelers want to extend their assignment or rebook, but you’ll want to ask early in their assignment if you are interested in keeping them on.  

Being proactive to extend contracts ensures you will have a proven healthcare professional who is already credentialed, oriented and making a positive impact on patient care.

  1. Preplan to get ahead of demand

Following the many disruptions of COVID-19, seasonal trends and other increases in requested staffing will impact nurse staffing needs throughout the year. Planning ahead can help you be prepared with the necessary staff and contain costs through more moderate bill rates.

Some examples of seasonal spikes in demand can include the need for more mother/baby specialties in the spring, extra nurses during flu season, emergency RNs and other specialists in the winter, and more. Generally, organizations should start planning and submit staffing requests for travelers a few months before these peak periods. Local/per diem nurses may be able to staff up more quickly for flu clinics and other short-term needs.

Facility expansions, electronic medical record conversions and other special projects should also have several months of advance notice. Labor disruptions may require a quicker turnaround, but you should engage your staffing partner as early as possible for the best results.

For more details on these proactive strategies and how AMN Healthcare can work with you to prepare for healthcare staffing challenges, download our new white paper.Proactive Nursing tn.PNG

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