5 More Reasons to Augment Your Staff with Travel Nurses
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations hire highly trained travel nurses not only to fill open positions, but also to help patient volume surges. It's common to temporarily boost nurse staffing levels to administer flu shots in the fall, cover for employees on vacation or on maternity leave, and handle more patients due to hospital expansions and added services.
But these aren't the only reasons to augment nursing staff with travel nurses from healthcare staffing companies. Here are a few more to ponder:
- Quality of care
Nurse-patient ratio has a direct impact on quality of patient care, according to several studies. For example, a study published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that just 30 to 40 more minutes a day with an RN improved the care of patients in a long-term care facility. These patients reported fewer urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers and acute care hospitalizations. Travel nurses can fill gaps in staffing so that patients receive the care that they need.
- Boost patient safety
Adequate nurse staffing levels can result in improved patient safety. Adding one more patient to a nurse’s patient load can increase the odds of an inpatient dying, according to a study in The Lancet. In an interview, the lead author of the study referred to travel nurses as "lifesavers” because they play a crucial role in staff augmentation. Several other studies have linked nurse staffing levels to patient mortality rates.
- Reduce readmissions
Adequate nurse staffing also can reduce the rate of admissions. According to one study, that’s because nurses have adequate time for discharge preparation, care coordination, and patient education. Other research showed that higher nurse-patient ratios result in higher odds of readmission for heart failure.
- Alleviate fatigue and burnout
Nurses are more prone to make errors in patient care if they work longer hours, which can be due to unplanned overtime. Burnout also can be caused by overwork and other scheduling and staffing problems caused by gaps in staffing. If lower nurse staffing levels are contributing to fatigue and burnout of full-time nurses, the addition of travel nurses could help.
- Improve patient satisfaction
Nursing work environment has been linked to patient satisfaction in several studies, including studies of Magnet designation hospitals, which showed that better work environment correlated to improved patient satisfaction. Full staffing that includes supplementation by travel nurses can result in an improved work environment.