There is nothing more important to the smooth functioning of hospitals than their staff. Hospitals can boast over one thousand beds and all the latest technology, but if they don’t have enough clinicians to tend to the patients, the point is moot: Hospitals can only operate at their staff’s capacity.
Personnel Shortages: Hospitals’ Number One Concern
According to a 2021 survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), these are hospital CEOs’ primary concerns:
- No. 1: Personnel shortages
- No. 2: Financial challenges
- No. 3: Patient safety and quality
About this most pressing concern, Deborah J. Bowen, president and CEO of ACHE, stated the following:
“This is the first time since 2004 that financial challenges has moved from the most significant challenge to the second position. Both long- and short-term solutions are needed to address the shortages in critical front-line staff shown in our study to ensure hospitals have workforces that can meet the demands for safe, high-quality care both today and in the future. Longer term solutions include increasing the pipeline of staff to these positions, as well as organization-level efforts to increase staff retention. More immediate solutions include supporting and developing all staff, building staff resilience and exploring alternative models of care.”
Certainly, healthcare facilities should try to cover most of their staffing needs with long-term physicians, nurses, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and allied health workers since these healthcare workers will know their way around the hospitals where they work like the palms of their hands, which contributes to greater efficiency. Furthermore, staff clinicians know each other well and can therefore work better as a team. For example, head nurses know which staff nurses or CNAs are best suited for carrying out specific tasks or caring for particular patients. Moreover, staff are more likely to be loyal to the facilities where they work than temporary workers are.
Retention of this staff, as Deborah J. Bowen stated, is an important long-term solution to staffing shortages. Interestingly, one way to contribute to staff retention is also a short-term staffing solution in itself: hiring temporary staff.
Hiring short-term staff might seem counterintuitive, especially after we have listed the benefits of hiring long-term staff. However, one of the primary complaints of healthcare workers – in particular of nurses and CNAs – is that understaffing leads to them being overworked, which leads to nursing burnout and eventually to nurses quitting their jobs or even opting for early retirement. Hiring temporary healthcare workers can nip this butterfly effect of disaster in the bud.
Per Diem Jobs in Healthcare
Temporary jobs in healthcare are often referred to as per diem or PRN jobs. The Latin term ‘per diem’ means ‘per day’, and the term PRN stands for the Latin ‘pro re nata’, which means as needed. Hospitals can hire PRN clinicians to cover the extraordinary staffing needs that cannot be covered by permanent staff. These clinicians can be hired for single shifts or can be asked to stay on for as long as is needed. Furthermore, hiring PRN clinicians is the perfect way for hospitals to assess potential new staff; if a PRN nurse or CNA is a good fit for the hospital, he or she could be invited to become a permanent member of the team.
An Efficient Way for Hospitals to Find PRN Healthcare Workers
Nursa™’s healthcare staffing app has revolutionized staffing in hospitals throughout the country. Through the app, healthcare facilities can post all the PRN positions they require and within minutes can start to receive requests from interested clinicians. Hospitals can then view each clinician’s profile and accept the one that seems to be the best fit for the position. The clinician will then show up to work on the appointed day and time, thereby allowing the hospital to continue to function smoothly despite increases in hospital admissions or inevitable leaves of absence by staff clinicians.
The Success of Hospitals Depends on Its Staff
The first order of the day should always be guaranteeing fully staffed hospitals. This will improve outcomes as well as patient and staff satisfaction. In order to maintain hospitals fully staffed, hospital administrators should post PRN jobs the moment a staff member requests a leave of absence and plan ahead to guarantee smoothly functioning hospitals during anticipated busy seasons. These PRN staffing investments are guaranteed to bring hospitals high returns.