The National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO) is a non-profit association of travel healthcare organizations, founded in 2008 to promote ethical business practices, offer educational opportunities, create a space for advocation, and set the gold standard for conduct in the travel healthcare industry.
The NATHO members that help to set that gold standard are made up of bright and talented individuals that we are excited to highlight in the NATHO spotlight. This month’s spotlight focuses on Aya Healthcare. Aya Healthcare is the largest travel nurse provider in North America and is the only company to develop tech-enabled healthcare labor marketplaces at scale connecting thousands of clinicians and healthcare organizations on one digital platform.
Some of the individuals behind the massive success of Aya include Amber Zeeb, VP of Employee Experience, Chrystal Fugett, VP of Recruitment, and April Hansen, Group President of Workforce Solutions. We sat down with these hard-working women and asked them about some of the keys to their success.
When asked how they defined success, the overarching response was innovation and happy employees. These last 16+ months have transformed not just Aya, but the world. The Aya team had to pivot countless times to keep up with the changing demands of healthcare and the staffing industry while still ensuring superior service to clinicians and clients. While innovation keeps the company running, happy employees are the source of that innovation. Aya believes if you have a base of happy employees, success is likely to follow. Happiness leads to engagement, motivation, and loyalty.
Throughout a tumultuous year in the industry and the constant change that has become normal, the Aya team cited their colleagues as their biggest inspirations. “I’m inspired daily by my colleagues. Each one brings something different to the table and looks at any given situation through a unique lens. This diversity of ideas from across the organization means that Aya continues to come up with new and innovative ways to transform our business and, in turn, continue to improve the level of service we provide to our clinicians and clients”, shares one team member.
The pandemic has proved to be a defining moment for both Aya and its staff. When asked about their proudest moment working at Aya, one member stated, “Probably New York in round 1 of the Pandemic. Everything I thought I was proud of, faded away after those few months and this is all I remember now when asked this question. Feeling the sheer anxiety and devastation that was coming from our contacts in NYC was almost crippling. I remember I had this “ah ha” moment after getting off a call with this major hospital in New York that we have loved and cherished for years and thinking… “If Aya doesn’t step up and do this, who is going to?” After the initial shock of the insane number of orders, now we had to dig deep and figure out how to get thousands of clinicians to NYC during a time that PPE was limited, there were still so many unknowns about the novel virus, and dozens of other factors were against us. We buckled down, fortified our minds knowing the task at hand and found ways to innovate and execute quickly. Since that point, my proudest moment has been every day. Our teams have NOT STOPPED. After months and months of telling them, “We’re almost through this,” we are still in the midst of the highest staffing volume we’ve ever seen. My proudest moments at Aya will always be what this organization and individuals have done during the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s been truly remarkable to witness firsthand.”
As the industry and Aya continue to take what comes their way, one thing is clear, a team of dedicated staff members can come together and make what seems impossible, possible.
Meet our other members over on our members page and if you are already a member and want to see your company highlighted next, reach out to email@example.com.
We are better together
Travel nurses and other travel healthcare professionals are an integral part of the care delivery model in the USA. Moreover, travel nursing has been highlighted as critically important in addressing staffing shortages during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Due to the essential nature of their work, as well as their willingness to travel to the most severe hotspots during this pandemic, we need to ensure travel healthcare professionals are part of the COVID vaccine strategy for hospitals around the nation.
It is incumbent upon the healthcare staffing agencies to advocate for their traveling healthcare professionals and partner with their healthcare facility clients. We understand the critical role travel nurses play in care execution for the communities we serve. Sometimes it can be as easy as a gentle reminder to include temporary staff in their vaccine distribution and educate the client about the limited access to vaccines outside of their hospital environment.
Additionally, we know vaccine acceptance and participation increases the more convenient it is to obtain the vaccine. While generally well understood, the higher the percentage of your total healthcare workforce that is vaccinated against COVID-19, the greater it affords a substantial reduction in lost time due to exposures or COVID illness as well as a safer environment for patients. Overall, vaccinating Travelers is a win-win for hospitals and other healthcare clients.
Timing is Critical
Both the staffing agency and the healthcare provider are responsible for proper scheduling as it relates to vaccination. Neither should expect a client to provide the vaccine if there is inadequate time to allow for the full vaccination series to be administered. Plan ahead with travelers, including having discussions around their ability and willingness to extend contract terms in order to ensure the needed time to allow full vaccine access.
Educate about Vaccine Safety and Efficacy
Some traveling healthcare professionals continue to be hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine. Healthcare staffing agencies, utilizing the tools available from the CDC and other legitimate sources, should provide education to our traveling workforce in an effort to alleviate any concerns or fears and to assist the healthcare worker to make an informed decision about receiving the vaccine.
While organizations such as the CDC, OSHA, and ASA have all issued statements supporting a position that obligates hospitals and other healthcare organizations to include contingent labor in the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine in their facility, NATHO believes that productive partnering conversations with healthcare clients will resolve most vaccine access issues without having to cite the regulatory agency statements
The DAISY Foundation is known for spreading the love to nurses across the country. The foundation was started in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). Barnes’ parents were moved by the nurses that helped create a space of kindness and compassion.
With that time of their lives in mind, they wanted to thank nurses that create this type of environment for families day in and day out. They created the DAISY Foundation, DAISY standing for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.
NATHO was introduced to the DAISY Foundation in 2021. The DAISY Foundation saw a need for the award amongst traveling nurses as well, that may not be associated with just one hospital. COVID-19 has reminded us of the hearts and dedication of our nurses and we are excited to partner with this foundation to shine a light on the traveling nurses working hard to not only care for patients but bring sense of warmth to each room they walk in.
If you are interested in nominating a nurse, head here to do so!
Now more than ever, it is crucial to listen to your employees. With a pandemic that has swept your talent and employees into a world they could not have pictured in 2019, it is time to understand what your nurses and staff need from you moving forward. Keeping your employees happy will not only allow you peace of mind, but a more successful business as well. Once you recognize that feedback from your employees is important, it is time to find the best way for them to give it.
Not everyone communicates in the same way and this can be particularly true when it comes to uncomfortable conversations. If one of your nurses is experiencing mental health issues, they may fear coming to you for resources. Provide multiple paths for feedback including an anonymous online submission, an open door policy, or adding a section for this to your annual review. This should be a way for employees to tell you what they are happy with, unhappy with, what they need from the company, and anything else that is on their mind. Without providing multiple lines of communication on the issue, you might lose out on hearing from a group of people who would have otherwise spoken up.
Absorb the feedback. Each person that provides you thoughts on their feelings and needs about the company should be taken as seriously as the next. Take time to contemplate what that person is happy or unhappy with and think about how your company can improve from their opinion. Can you offer them what they need? If not, why not? Has something been tried in the past that your employee is suggesting? Consider all of this before reconnecting with the employee.
After consideration of the employee’s feedback, regroup! Meet back up with your employee or reach out to them in the same way they reached out to you. Provide a solution and if you do not have a solution, explain why things are done the way they are. Understanding the reasoning behind things, can often be enough to satisfy an employee.
If the feedback was anonymous, you have a couple of options. You can sit on the information and see if you notice a trend among feedback or reach out to your entire staff. Reaching out to the entire staff, will show employees the importance of their happiness.
Taking the time to make your employees feel heard and appreciated, will go a long way in your company’s success. Reducing employee turnover and maintaining talent will save you both money and time while also creating a culture that new talent will want to be a part of.
NATHO is a non-profit association of travel healthcare organizations, founded in 2008 to promote ethical business practices in the travel healthcare industry, setting the gold standard for professional conduct of member travel healthcare agencies on behalf of candidates and clients.
As our partner healthcare systems seek assistance with staffing the COVID-19 crisis and our nation’s clinicians rise to the challenge, NATHO would like to share our commitments as outlined in our Code of Ethics:
Relationships with healthcare system clients and potential clients:
Relationships with healthcare candidates and potential candidates:
As our industry unites to meet this moment, you may rely on your NATHO partners to conduct business in an ethical and honorable manner. Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns at (646) 350-4083 or by email at info@NATHO.org.
On behalf of our membership, we express our gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses, allied clinicians and healthcare system staff members that are working tirelessly to save patients and guard our health. Thank you.
National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations
Will Interstate Compacts turn into National Licensure?
Whether you’re in Maine or Hawaii, Florida or Alaska, all people deserve the same high-quality healthcare. So, shouldn’t the quality standards for the physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals — who provide patient care — be the same no matter where you live?
A movement is slowly progressing for healthcare professionals to be licensed in multiple states through a single, simplified process. Nursing is way ahead of other professions in interstate licensure. If you qualify for the Nurse Licensure Compact, you can practice in all 31 compact states. It’s the only true multistate license.
The physician compact includes 24 states so far. However, under the medical licensure compact, applicants must apply separately for multistate privileges and pay for individual licenses in each state.
For physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, if you meet all the requirements in a compact state, you can purchase compact privileges in other compact states. So far, only six states accept compact privileges, but more than a dozen other states have enacted.
A model for an interstate Advanced Practice Nurse Compact recently began and will be implemented when ten states have enacted legislation. For all other healthcare professions, licensure is strictly state by state.
While progressing slowly, the interstate compacts could eventually lead to nationwide licensure instead of state-by-state. While the path to that goal will still take years, there is growing recognition that national licensure would be a big improvement for patients, patient care facilities and healthcare professionals themselves.
There’s no evidence that healthcare professionals in one state are better or worse than in other states. Yet, in most parts of the country, healthcare professionals who can commute to several states in an hour or two must have separate licenses to work in each state. For example, if you live anywhere in the New York metropolitan area, you must have separate licenses to practice in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania, even though you could commute to those states to pick up shifts or take patients in an hour or two — or much less time.
The national licensure movement should gain steam as more states join interstate compacts. Greater flexibility for clinicians and providers, improved patient access to care, and reduction in costs and redundancy could be strong arguments in state legislatures considering licensure compact legislation. State lines would no longer block telemedicine. Underserved areas in rural and urban areas would be able to draw upon more healthcare professionals. As more and more states join in, national licensure could become inevitable.
National licensure is a popular concept. A 2017 survey of registered nurses by AMN Healthcare found that 68% supported national licensing instead of state-by-state, and among Millennial nurses, 77% supported it. Instead, resistance to this change is probably just the inertia of bureaucracy. Plus, passing state-by-state legislation on anything is a cumbersome process.
In the conversation about the evolution of healthcare in the United States, and particularly the movement to value-based care, interstate compacts -- and eventually national licensure for all healthcare professionals — should be an important factor. It’s win-win for all involved — especially the patient.
By Ryan Anholt, Vice President of Travel Recruiting
Provided by NATHO Member, The Delta Companies
It has been said that the best defense is a good offense—why wouldn’t this theory extend to patient care? For facilities utilizing healthcare traveler services, the best defense against the risk of liability is to employ providers with up-to-date licensure, background records, and training. When choosing to partner with a staffing agency in the search for such providers, accreditation from The Joint Commission is the quarterback of the healthcare-staffing field, providing a comprehensive evaluation of a staffing firm’s ability to present qualified and competent staffing services.
In order to maintain The Joint Commission’s Healthcare Staffing Services Certification, staffing firms undergo rigorous and systematic onsite surveys, which ensure the firm is achieving all requirements set in place to qualify for certification. Certified firms are responsible for verifying licensure; conducting education and training programs related to infection control, cultural diversity, and The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals; assessing competency; performing background checks; and ensuring all personnel records are up to date.
As a certified firm, Delta Healthcare Providers requires the following documents from all travelers on contract assignment:
These are the minimum requirements set to maintain The Joint Commission certification. Delta Healthcare Providers offers copies of these documents to clients prior to a traveler’s assignment. If a client requires additional documentation for an assignment, Delta Healthcare Providers has a prepared list of vendors ready to fill these needs.
In addition to maintaining certification, tracking the above materials also holds a staffing organization and the talent they represent accountable to unwavering standards. This parallel creates a mutually beneficial relationship between a hiring facility and healthcare traveler. Facilities engaging in staffing services can be assured that the healthcare providers represented by an accredited agency are screened and fully oriented prior an assignment.
Additionally, since all documentation and personnel records are in order, incoming healthcare providers can begin an assignment fully focused on their work, instead of the fine print.
A database of certified healthcare-staffing agencies associated with The Joint Commission can be found at qualitycheck.org. By partnering with an agency prepared to hold themselves accountable to nationally recognized standards, hiring facilities relinquish the threat of liability in travel opportunities to a team prepared to evaluate and administer all necessary requirements specific to each assignment. This structure allows facilities and providers the peace of mind necessary to continue being all-stars in their field, and to focus on exceptional patient care.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TRAVEL HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS
5329 Fayette Avenue, Madison, WI 53713
(646) 350-4083, firstname.lastname@example.org
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