Nurses are a vital component of any healthcare facility for a multitude of reasons.
Patients rely on nurses to be educated, skilled, and have a friendly demeanor. It makes all the difference in the world.
Of course, the success of any care and treatment is the ultimate goal. However, patients’ experience with their nurses and healthcare professionals leaves a lasting impression.
To bolster your facility’s staff, you may be considering working with a nurse staffing agency. And for good reason!
Nurse staffing agencies can be a valuable resource for healthcare facilities and organizations looking to fill open positions, solidify an existing staff, or solve nuanced medical situations.
However, choosing the right agency can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider, such as the agency’s reputation, recruitment process, nurse options, and support services.
All of the variables are important when making an educated decision on how to choose the right nurse staffing agency for your facility.
- Understanding the role of nurse staffing agencies is important when choosing the right resource for your facility.
- Determining your facility’s staffing needs is crucial in evaluating potential agencies.
- Evaluating the reputation, recruitment process, and support services of nurse staffing agencies can help you make an informed decision.
Understanding the Role of Nurse Staffing Agencies
IN THIS ARTICLE
Nurse staffing agencies play a crucial role in the healthcare industry by providing temporary and permanent staffing solutions to healthcare facilities.
These agencies recruit and hire qualified nurses and place them in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, and home health agencies.
Nurse staffing agencies offer a range of staffing services, including per diem, short-term, long-term, and permanent placement staffing. They also provide staffing solutions for different nursing specialties, such as critical care, emergency room, pediatrics, and oncology.
The primary goal of nurse staffing agencies is to help healthcare facilities maintain adequate staffing levels and ensure that patients receive high-quality care.
By partnering with nurse staffing agencies, healthcare facilities can save time and money on recruitment, training, and retention of nursing staff.
Nurse staffing agencies also provide benefits to nurses, such as flexible schedules, competitive pay rates, and opportunities for career advancement.
Overall, nurse staffing agencies play a vital role in the healthcare industry by helping healthcare facilities meet their staffing needs and providing nurses with employment opportunities that fit their needs and preferences.
Determining Your Facility’s Staffing Needs
Before choosing a nurse staffing agency, it’s crucial to determine your facility’s staffing needs.
This will help you find a trusted staffing agency that can provide the right number and type of nurses to meet your facility’s needs.
Here are three areas to consider when determining your staffing needs:
Identifying Skill Gaps
One of the first steps in determining your staffing needs is to identify any skill gaps in your current nursing staff.
This will help you determine the types of nurses you need to hire from a staffing agency. Some ways to identify skill gaps include:
- Conducting a skills assessment of your current nursing staff
- Analyzing patient care data to identify areas where additional skills are needed
- Reviewing incident reports to identify areas where additional training or skills are needed
By identifying skill gaps, you can work with a staffing agency specifically for the purpose of finding nurses with the necessary skills and experience to fill those gaps.
Forecasting Future Needs
Another important step in determining your staffing needs is to forecast your future needs.
Can you foresee an influx of new patients? Are there seasonal trends that your healthcare facility has detected in past years?
This will help you ensure that you have enough nurses to meet the demands of your facility. Some strategies to forecast future needs include:
- Analyzing patient volume and acuity trends
- Reviewing your facility’s budget and financial projections
- Considering any upcoming changes or expansions to your facility
By forecasting your future needs, you can work with a staffing agency to ensure that you have the right number of nurses with the right skills to meet those needs.
Unreliable Existing Staff
At no fault of your own, you may have an unreliable staff.
This would include a healthcare professional that falls in the following categories:
- Commonly skips shifts without notice or proper/approved reasoning
- Utilizes an exuberant amount of sick days and time off
- Unable to efficiently perform their nursing duties
- Receives constant negative feedback from patients or peers
Patient care, work environment satisfaction, and nurse-to-patient ratios can all dramatically suffer under this scenario.
If any of these points resonate with you, there is a good chance your facility could benefit from reliable nurse staffing.
Now that we’ve outlined what to look for inside your own healthcare facility let’s discuss what you should consider when evaluating a nurse staffing agency.
Evaluating the Reputation of Nurse Staffing Agencies
When choosing a nurse staffing agency, it is important to evaluate its reputation. Here are some criteria to consider while evaluating a medical staffing agency’s reputation.
One way to evaluate the reputation of medical staffing agencies is to check their credentials.
Make sure they are licensed and certified to operate in your state. You can also check if they are members of professional organizations such as the American Nurses Association or the National Association of Healthcare Recruiters.
These organizations ensure that their members adhere to ethical and professional standards.
Reviewing Client Testimonials and Reviews
Another way to evaluate the reputation of a nurse staffing agency is to read client testimonials and reviews.
Look for feedback from healthcare facilities that have used their services. You can find these reviews on their website, social media pages, or third-party review sites. Just like your favorite restaurants, peruse their Google reviews to see what other facilities are saying.
Most reputable staffing agencies will include a proper testimonials page on their website, too.
Positive reviews and testimonials can indicate that the agency provides quality staffing services.
Ask what healthcare facilities they partner with
You can’t overlook networking.
Make sure to ask the nurse staffing agency what healthcare facilities they partner with. A reputable agency will have partnerships with reputable healthcare facilities.
This will give you an idea of the quality of their services and the type of healthcare facilities they work with. If they partner with top-tier healthcare facilities, it can indicate that they provide quality staffing services.
Important to note: It can be dicey getting specifics occasionally when it comes to staffing partners. Between privacy and HIPAA laws, some of this information may be difficult for agencies to present.
What Types of Nurses Does the Staffing Agency Provide?
Nurse staffing agencies provide various types of nursing professionals to healthcare facilities based on their needs. These professionals can include:
- Registered nurses (RNs)
- Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) / Licensed practical nurses (LPNs)
- Certified nursing assistants (CNAs)
RNs are registered nurses who have completed a nursing program and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
They are qualified to provide a wide range of nursing care, including administering medication, performing diagnostic tests, IV therapy, and developing care plans.
LPNs / LVNs, on the other hand, are licensed practical (or vocational) nurses who have completed a vocational nursing program and have passed the NCLEX-PN.
They are qualified to provide basic nursing care and are a little more limited compared to an RN. Learn more about the differences between an RN and a LVN.
One type of nurse that staffing agencies provide is per diem nurses. These nurses work on an as-needed basis and are typically hired to fill short-term staffing gaps or to cover unexpected absences.
They are usually paid on an hourly basis and do not receive benefits.
Another type of nurse staffing is PRN nurses. PRN stands for “pro re nata,” which means “as needed.” PRN nurses are similar to per diem nurses in that they work on an as-needed basis, but they may be hired for longer periods of time, such as a few weeks or months.
PRN nurses are often used to cover long-term staffing shortages or to help with seasonal fluctuations in patient volume.
Travel nurses are another type of nurse that staffing agencies provide. These nurses are hired to work at healthcare facilities in different locations, often across state lines.
They are typically hired for 13-week assignments and are paid a higher rate than other types of nurses due to the travel and housing expenses that they incur.
Pay close attention to what nursing professionals the agency works with. If your patients require a unique care plan, you need to ensure the nurses you receive can sufficiently complete their tasks.
Assessing the Agency’s Recruitment Process
When choosing a nurse staffing agency for your facility, it is important to assess the agency’s recruitment process.
This will help ensure that the agency is able to provide your facility with qualified and competent nursing professionals.
Nurse Staffing Cost
One of the first things to consider when assessing an agency’s recruitment process is the cost of their services.
It is important to find an agency that can provide your facility with quality nursing professionals at a reasonable cost. Some agencies may charge a flat fee for their services, while others may charge a percentage of the nurse’s hourly rate.
Another important consideration when assessing an agency’s recruitment process is its scheduling flexibility.
Your facility may have unique staffing needs, such as night shifts or weekend coverage. It is important to find an agency that can provide nursing professionals who are able to work the hours that your facility requires.
Some agencies may have strict scheduling policies, while others may be more flexible.
Check to see if the staffing agency has hourly minimums.
Discuss the Benefits of Working with a Staffing Agency
Working with a nurse staffing agency can provide numerous benefits to healthcare facilities. Here are some of the benefits of working with a staffing agency:
Access to a Larger Pool of Nurses with Nuanced Skills
One of the significant benefits of a staffing agency is the diversity of work opportunities it offers.
As a healthcare facility, you are not limited to hiring nurses who are available in your area. Instead, you can access a larger pool of nurses who are willing to travel to work in your facility.
Staffing agencies provide flexibility to healthcare facilities by allowing them to hire nurses on a temporary or permanent basis.
This flexibility can be especially useful during times of increased demand, such as during flu season or when a facility is short-staffed.
Reduced Nurse Burnout
Working with a staffing agency can help to prevent nurse burnout. Nurses are under a lot of stress, and they often work long hours. This can lead to burnout.
By working with a staffing agency, healthcare facilities can provide their nurses with more flexible schedules, which can help to reduce burnout.
Happy nurses lead to happier patients, too!
Improved Quality of Care
Working with a staffing agency can also improve the quality of care for patients.
When people are in pain or suffering from a medical condition, they want care quickly. That means having ample nurses who can provide the care your patients need – quickly.
Staffing agencies provide healthcare facilities with access to a larger pool of nurses, which can help to ensure that patients receive the care they need when they need it.
Using a staffing agency can help healthcare facilities save money.
Staffing agencies handle the recruitment, screening, and placement of nurses, which can help to reduce the cost of hiring and training new nurses.
This alleviates all of the stress and costs associated with recruitment campaigns, interviewing and screening nurses, and potential turnover.
Additionally, healthcare facilities can avoid the cost of benefits and other expenses associated with hiring full-time nurses.
Discover the Locations the Agency Serves
Even the highest quality staffing agency will be worthless if they don’t provide nurses in your location.
Some agencies may only provide staffing services in certain regions, while others may have a wider coverage area.
Agencies should be upfront on their website about what locations they serve.
When researching nurse staffing agencies, look for information on their coverage area. This may be listed on their website or provided by a representative.
Analyzing the Agency’s Retention Rates
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a nurse staffing agency for your facility is the agency’s retention rates. High nurse retention rates are a good indicator of a quality staffing agency.
On the other hand, a high turnover rate can be a red flag that the agency may not be providing the support and resources necessary to keep nurses satisfied and engaged in their work.
When evaluating an agency’s retention rates, there are a few key questions to ask:
- What is the agency’s turnover rate?
- How does the agency compare to industry benchmarks?
- What strategies does the agency have in place to retain nurses?
It’s important to note that turnover rates can vary depending on the type of nursing specialty or location.
For example, turnover rates may be higher in certain areas with a high cost of living or in specialties with high demand. However, it’s still important to compare an agency’s turnover rate to industry benchmarks to get a sense of how it stacks up against other agencies.
In addition to asking about turnover rates, it’s important to ask the agency about its strategies for nurse retention. This may include things like:
- Offering competitive pay and benefits
- Providing opportunities for professional development and advancement
- Offering flexible scheduling options
- Providing a supportive work environment
- Offering recognition and rewards for good performance
By choosing an agency with a strong track record of retaining nurses, you can help ensure that your facility has access to a reliable and high-quality nursing staff.
Examining the Agency’s Compliance with Legal and Ethical Standards
When choosing a nurse staffing agency for your facility, it’s important to ensure that the agency is compliant with legal and ethical standards.
This will help protect your facility from potential legal and ethical issues that could arise from working with a non-compliant agency.
One way to examine an agency’s compliance is to look for certifications and accreditations.
Another important consideration is the agency’s adherence to state and federal laws and regulations.
For example, the agency should comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which outlines minimum wage and overtime requirements for employees.
The agency should also comply with state laws regarding nurse staffing ratios and licensure requirements and have a code of ethics for its employees to ensure they adhere to proper standards in their work.
Choose the best Nurse Staffing Agency for your Facility
If your healthcare facility is looking for a reliable nurse staffing agency in California or Florida, NurseRegistry can help.
NurseRegistry has over a decade of experience assisting countless facilities with their staffing needs, from hospice care centers and schools to skilled nursing facilities and residential eating disorder facilities.
When you choose NurseRegistry as your premier healthcare staffing partner, your facility will benefit from:
- Thoroughly-screened and professional nurses – only RNs and LVNs/LPNs to ensure the best care
- A large registry of nurses with a variety of nuanced skill sets
- Industry-leading scheduling flexibility and swift placements – often within 48 hours
- A streamlined and stress-free staffing process
- A dedicated client coordination team to help every step of the way
- No upfront costs, overtime charges, or hidden fees
Reinforce and strengthen your healthcare staff with NurseRegistry. To discover more ways that our nurse staffing agency can benefit your facility, click below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What factors should I consider when choosing a nurse staffing agency?
When choosing a nurse staffing agency, it’s important to consider factors such as the agency’s reputation, experience, and ability to meet your facility’s specific needs. You should also consider the agency’s pricing, contract terms, and the level of support they offer.
How can I determine if a nurse staffing agency is reputable?
To determine if a nurse staffing agency is reputable, you should research the agency’s history, read reviews and testimonials from other healthcare facilities, and ask for references. You can also check the agency’s credentials and certifications to ensure that they meet industry standards.
What are the benefits of using a nurse staffing agency?
Using a nurse staffing agency can provide a number of benefits for healthcare facilities, including access to a pool of qualified and experienced nurses, flexibility in staffing, and cost savings. Nurse staffing agencies can also help alleviate the burden of recruiting and training new staff.
What are some common challenges with nurse staffing agencies, and how can I address them?
Common challenges with nurse staffing agencies include issues with communication, scheduling, and quality of staff. To address these challenges, it’s important to establish clear communication channels with the agency, provide detailed job descriptions and expectations, and regularly evaluate the performance of agency staff.
How do I ensure that a nurse staffing agency can meet my facility’s specific needs?
To ensure that a nurse staffing agency can meet your facility’s specific needs, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your staffing needs and expectations. You should also provide detailed information about your facility, including the types of patients you serve and any unique requirements or protocols.
What are some best practices for working with a nurse staffing agency?
Some best practices for working with a nurse staffing agency include establishing clear communication channels, providing detailed job descriptions and expectations, and regularly evaluating the performance of agency staff. It’s also important to establish a strong working relationship with the agency and to communicate any concerns or issues in a timely and professional manner.