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Temporary Nurses Are a Stopgap Solution

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, July 8, 2013

Hire to keep, retain to save

Time-to-hire is the most costly challenge for hospital human resources. In the United States, nurses average a 20% turnover rate, and the nursing workforce is aging along with the patient population. Those valuable nurses with decades of experience are growing closer to retirement, and the challenge remains to attract a workforce that has so many opportunities.

"They really do have a lot of choices, and a nurse can literally get a job in a day. It's critical to have them highly engaged and involved in their workplace," says Minnis. "Nurses first and foremost care greatly about the patients and the quality of care. If they feel like that's not being delivered, they can vote with their feet and move to another hospital or facility really easily."By shifting away from temporary employees, Scott & White was able to reduce costs for staffing solutions by 29% for its 12 hospitals and still increase retention, he says.

The key driver of shifting S&W's recruiting strategy was the opportunity to improve hiring from a quality and regulatory perspective, says Minnis.

"We didn't have the quantity or a good depth in the pool here in central Texas, so we needed someone to help us navigate and funnel those experienced nurses to us, but we were working with so many different vendors," he says.

Managed service programs (MSPs) manage staffing companies and contracts as well as talent pools, recruitment, and onboarding. This single-source style of staffing solution began outside of healthcare around 20 years ago but has become increasingly more popular in healthcare in the past 10 years. S&W found this service in AMN Healthcare, which was previously helping the health system with contracted nursing staff solutions.

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