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