Articles of Interest
Job Order Index (January 2016-January 2017)
The NATHO Board of Directors is comprised of leaders from healthcare staffing agencies throughout the United States. NATHO’s Board works behind the scenes to constantly improve the industry and ensure ethical practices.
For 2017, NATHO’s Board of Directors welcomes two new members: Kim Windsor, VP, Administration at Fastaff and Pamela Oliver, COO at Trustaff.
Pamela has been with Trustaff since 2002, according to her LinkedIn page, and Kim’s worked in healthcare staffing since 2005.
Kim says she wanted to join the NATHO board in order to “be part of an organization that improves the staffing industry for healthcare” and to “help to shape policy and practices that provide influence.”
Welcome, Kim and Pamela! NATHO appreciates your service and looks forward to your contributions.
Additionally, for 2017, Becky Kahn with AMN Healthcare has left the board. The NATHO team would like to send their warmest thanks to Becky for her great work with NATHO!
Click here to see the full list of NATHO’s 2017 Board of Directors.
In nursing, the term “floating” often raises groans from core staff. It can be a cause of frustration and low job satisfaction for many healthcare providers.
Like almost everyone else, core staff nurses enjoy a predictable schedule and familiar work environment. They like the comfort of their home base while working within their primary skill set. This is why they dislike being floated to other units on a frequent basis. That said, floating is inevitable on occasions; but limiting core staff floating can improve staff satisfaction, reduce core staff overtime – and reduce costs.
With the effects of the nursing shortage continuing to be felt throughout healthcare, and the gap of unfilled jobs projected to increase, you may be saying to yourself, “What else am I supposed to do?” Enter today’s flexible resource pool. This contingency resource is designed to flex up and down with patient volume to fill those needs after core staff has met their FTE.
Flexible resource pools of today are very different from float pools of the recent past, as they have changed dramatically in their design and functionality. The evolution of the float pool to a flexible resource pool is less about traditional floating than it is about having a strategic and flexible source of staff that fills needs across the enterprise in line with emerging demand. A highly customized solution, flexible resource pools are designed to fit the size of the healthcare system its volume and census patterns. For larger systems with multiple facilities within the same market or metro area, an enterprise pool is a wise strategy. Enterprise pool nurses are highly skilled and provide flexibility to move among facilities and work on a variety of units.
A site-based FTE pool is another option. This small group of nursing generalists carry an FTE and can function in a variety of areas. They provide a consistent resource for known demand and have the flexibility to adjust based upon the specific needs for a particular shift.
With a variety of ways to build resource pools, the first step is to determine what types and size of resource pools an organization could best utilize. Conducting a workforce analysis helps identify need and lays the foundation for the structure of various pools. Workforce analytics provide data-driven insights about the distribution of resources and sizing of pool staff, increasing flexibility to fill known gaps and to adjust for census-driven demand and staff behaviors.
The structure and design of the resource pool is then customized so that it fulfills the organization’s need. The difference between flexible resource pools of today and float pools of yesterday is that today’s pools can be developed with technology-enabled solutions combining advanced scheduling and management techniques that forecast patient demand and then apply precision staffing and scheduling. In contrast, yesterday’s float pools were based on guesswork and filling gaps at the last minute.
Now that you have your flexible resource pool designed, you may be asking yourself, “How do I fill it?” One approach that is growing in popularity is utilizing new graduates. A new generation of nurses has emerged, and their adventurous nature spurs them to enjoy a flexible work environment. They are able to see the value of building their skills by working on a variety of units and gaining indispensable clinical experience while maintaining the work-life balance they desire. With the right program and support system in place, utilizing new grads in this manner can be a successful approach.
A resource pool is an effective strategy that utilizes flexibility to fill critical staffing needs. Filling these pools with nurses who align with the needed flexibility helps sustain an organization’s workforce and staff satisfaction, while producing cost savings for the enterprise.
Beyond the Float Pool
The Value of a Strategic Labor Plan
By AMN Healthcare
The home healthcare industry is growing rapidly, but hospitals and home health agencies are caught in a familiar struggle — finding qualified clinicians to care for patients.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that annual growth for home healthcare services from 2014 to 2024 will be 5 percent, the highest growth among all industries, not just healthcare.
"The biggest driver in the home health industry is 10,000 people are turning 65 every day in this country," said Alex Beaty, Regional Vice President of Home Health for AMN Healthcare.
An aging population, however, isn't the only driver of home health. Other major factors are patient preference, Medicare funding, and lower costs associated with home health. In fact, home health is the most cost-effective method of treating these patients. It's about the third of the cost of a hospital stay, Beaty said.
Home health has another benefit, too: it reduces the number of admissions to hospitals and nursing homes, according to a 2015 Health Affairs study. And home health isn't just for patients receiving post-acute care. A Home Health Study Report prepared for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows the industry is increasingly serving the non-acute population.
Finding quality clinicians
While industry growth is great news, it puts a strain on hiring qualified candidates in an environment where shortages are already a problem, particularly for nurses and physical therapists.
If hospitals and home health agencies are finding it hard to fill shift schedules, or they're noticing signs of fatigue among permanent staff, those may be early signs of trouble from fast growth. This can lead to loss of revenue, lapses in quality of care, clinical staff burnout, and eventual decline in patient confidence.
Temporary staffing is one option for hiring managers to consider. And, perhaps surprisingly, home care experience shouldn't be their No. 1 requirement of a candidate, Beaty said.
A few years ago, home care experience was thought to be critical for working in home health, particularly for physical therapists. But as demand is rising, the pool of available candidates is shrinking. However, home health experience may not be necessary. Physical therapists are well educated and tech savvy, Beaty said. They also move around modalities, from skilled nursing facilities to hospitals to rehab centers to home health -- and back. This means they're highly adaptable to different settings.
Home health hiring managers should also be on the look-out for nurses who have medical-surgical, acute and or rehab experience.
"With more patients coming out of hospitals sooner, there are more medically complex patients being treated," Beaty explained. Nurses with this background can be immediately productive when working with these types of patients.
In addition, they should be trained in Medicare's Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS), which is used to assess adult home care patients and monitor patient outcomes. OASIS training ensures the temporary hire can hit the ground running.
Temporary staffing allows hiring managers to fill in the gaps and be flexible in a competitive marketplace. By using traveling nurses and physical therapists to help with the increased demand in home health services, home health agencies will have time to recruit and onboard permanent hires.
Home Health Staffing Services
Six Criteria for Choosing a Home Healthcare Staffing Partner
Why Home Healthcare Agencies Should Widen their Candidate Pool
Job Order Index (October 2015-October 2016)
The healthcare industry is facing an impending transformation in the nursing workforce as Baby Boomers retire and a younger generation fills the ranks.
The upcoming turnover of nurses is daunting. In the next 10-15 years, nearly 1 million RNs older than 50 — about one-third of the current workforce — will reach retirement age, according to a recent report by the Health Resources and Services Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The exit of older nurses from the workforce not only may result in a staffing crunch but also the loss of intellectual capital. Having worked in the profession for many years, older nurses have gained insight and experience. Lack of knowledge transfer from one nursing generation to another could negatively impact an organization's productivity and performance.
Of course, retirement isn't the only factor affecting staffing. The healthcare industry is undergoing significant consolidation while at the same time treating more patients as the population ages. An improving economy also means more resources for people to seek healthcare and thus more demand for healthcare services.
As more positions open up and new roles emerge for Millennial nurses, there is much that retiring nurses and healthcare organizations can do to help the younger generation succeed. These efforts can mitigate staffing shortages while ensuring good patient care.
Pay It Forward
Baby Boomer nurses can help the new generation of nurses by passing on skills on how to effectively interact with patients and other clinical staff.
Experienced nurses know how to handle the difficult patient and work effectively side-by-side with healthcare professionals with a wide range of personalities and dispositions. Early career nurses may find themselves ill-equipped to handle scenarios that are not taught in nursing school or which they have not encountered yet in their work. Also, each healthcare organization has its own unique culture, policies and procedures; the guidance of experienced nurses helping the novice learn these intricacies is invaluable.
Patient care delivered by nurses is a unique mixture of clinical and interpersonal skills that can only be mastered through experience. Early career nurses have not yet had the time to develop adequate hands-on experience, while many nursing programs don’t provide sufficient time at the bedside, which means that newer nurses don’t get the chance to develop the skills they need. This is another area where Baby Boomer nurses can mentor their younger colleagues.
Of course, the healthcare industry cannot expect older nurses – who already have their own jobs to do -- to fill all the needed demand for mentoring early career nurses. This is where healthcare organizations can make a difference by developing and offering nursing residencies, mentoring and other training programs for Millennial nurses who need a clear path to success.
On-site Training Programs Also Help
For example, nursing residency programs can help create the nursing workforce pipeline needed to provide experienced, quality care now and in the future. Once completed, these longer-term programs enable participants to hit the ground running, quickly becoming an integral part of their unit – both within the practice of nursing and within their specialty, building a solid foundation for future leadership.
On-the-job mentoring, in which older nurses help acclimate new nurses to the workplace, is another great way to provide the structure Millennial nurses need to succeed. Onboarding programs, also under the guidance of experienced nurses, can be effective, too.
The nursing shortage, new and emerging roles and a new generation in the workforce create challenges for the healthcare industry. But these challenges can be addressed by tapping into the experience of Baby Boomer nurses and supporting healthcare organizations to prepare novice and early career nurses for success through residency, mentorship, and other training programs.
Nursing Jobs for New Grads Boosted by Training Programs
Novice and Early Career Nurses Can Help Solve Nursing Shortages
2015 Survey of Registered Nurses
Greetings, NATHO Family!
I’m Craig Meier, and I am honored and humbled to be the NATHO President in 2017.
I am also the CEO at Medical Solutions, where my focus is leading a quality-driven and culture-rich organization.
I’d like to extend an enormous thanks to Gene Scott and the entire NATHO Board for their leadership and commitment to making a positive impact in the travel healthcare staffing industry.
I am completely dedicated to the vision of NATHO, which aims to educate our clients in the healthcare industry, advocate for quality patient care nationwide, and share resources among members that serve to strengthen both the reputation and positive output of our industry. As the travel healthcare staffing industry innovates and grows, the Board and I will uphold this vision in order to provide valuable, high-quality service to the healthcare industry and our NATHO members.
I look forwarding to continuing to serve this organization in the year to come. If you ever have questions, concerns, or thoughts to share with me, my door is always open and I welcome your input.
Craig Meier, CEO, Medical Solutions
2017 NATHO President
This Spring, contributing NATHO members will have access to the 2017 NATHO Travel Nurse Benchmarking Analysis.
As in 2016, this year’s analysis will be provided via Staffing Industry Analysts, which designs this benchmarking survey in conjunction with NATHO companies. For example, last year, 21 companies — representing 69% of the U.S. travel nurse market as of 2015 — responded to the survey from which the analysis was drawn.
The benchmarking analysis has previously provided data on topics including:
Stay tuned to NATHO.org in the coming months for the 2017 NATHO Travel Nurse Benchmarking Analysis, which will provide valuable data which your organization can use to continue to grow and improve!
Dear NATHO Members,
I am grateful to the wonderful folks that are producing this newsletter for giving me a few parting lines as I exit as your President.
It is a good time to be in our industry. The world is fast changing and the complexities of our businesses are increasing. I am constantly amazed at the level of innovation that continues to present itself to meet the needs we face. I look forward to the future. As an industry, we must strive to raise the bar on technology standards, ethical business and tax practices, regulatory compliance, and commitment to service to our clients and healthcare providers.
Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of leading this association. I am excited to see what Craig Meier, as your new President, and the rest of the officers and board will bring to our collective stage. Best of luck and Happy New Year!
President/CEO, Travel Nurse Across America
2016 NATHO BOARD PRESIDENT
Job Order Index (July 2015-July 2016)
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TRAVEL HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS
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