It looks like 2014 is shaping up to be a perfect storm of healthcare staffing challenges. As the Affordable Care Act takes effect, hospitals are encountering their first wave of newly-insured patients. With more patients now covered, more are seeking care -- leading to an increased need for healthcare professionals, including RN's

Many industry-watchers, including those at Candidate Direct, agree that as hospitals move toward a value-based model of care, RN's and allied healthcare professionals will play an increasingly important role. Here's just a few of the trends that are expected to affect healthcare staffing decisions:

As in real-estate, one of the most important factors in healthcare staffing is "location, location, location." Registered Nurses remain the most in-demand, and most advertised-for, job title in the US. Many staffing analysts believe that a significant component of the increase in help-wanted advertising is due to the lack of qualified RN's in the locations where they're needed most -- while in other areas there are more than enough RN's to meet demand.

Healthcare employers in the Northeast are no doubt aware of the Massachusetts Nursing Association's recent efforts in support of a referendum that enforces minimum nurse-patient ratios. nurse patient ratiosThe Lowell Sun reports that the proposed legislation calls for 1 nurse for every 4 med/surg patients. In emergency departments, nurses would care for between 1 and 3 patients depending on patient conditions. Nurses in critical care units would look after between 1 and 2 patients. Healthcare employers in violation would face a $25,000 per day fine. Nursing Association advocates can look to many studies that show that reduced nurse-patient ratios improve patient outcomes. Still other studies, such as a 2004 Review in the Journal of Nursing Administration show that improved patient outcomes are based on a constellation of factors, including medical staff skills, hospital management, and patient mix, as well as nurse-to-patient ratios. A similar conclusion was drawn in this 2007 study determining that lower nurse-patient ratios correlated with improved patient outcomes -- although the relationship was not necessarily causal. While Massachusetts state lawmakers have been reluctant to order a solution to the bridge the gap between nurses and hospitals, the nurses association says voters have supported [+]

According to the Q2 Randstad Healthcare Employee Confidence Index, healthcare workers are in increasingly high demand, and hospital employers are currently experiencing labor shortages. Many healthcare providers are in the midst of compliance efforts to meet deadlines for the implementation of ICD-10 and the mandated transition to electronic medical records. In addition to adding IT specialists to the staff, technological updates can lead to time-consuming training phases for the healthcare professionals who will use the new systems on a daily basis. Savvy healthcare employers are planning for this future and forecasting the staffing levels they will need for such challenging times. For many, contingent staffing is the answer for a smooth transition into an ever-more digital age. rns in demandPartly in anticipation of increased head counts with the coming impact of the ACA, demand is also up for skilled RN's. A March report by Wanted Analytics indicated that more than one million jobs were posted for healthcare-related occupations, representing a 3 percent year-over-year increase in hiring. Registered Nurses led the nation in the most job ads, up 13 percent when compared to March of 2012. Critical Care nursing jobs demonstrated the highest year-over-year growth with 34 [+]

Citing burdensome reporting requirements, the Obama administration has delayed the employer mandate portion of healthcare reform until 2015 giving employers an additional year to comply with worker health insurance. Under the provision, companies with 50 or more workers face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee if they don’t offer affordable health insurance. Sue HigginsSue Higgins, Product Development Director at Stay Staffed supports the decision, “This change to 2015 will allow companies to better evaluate their options. Companies that are nearing 50 employees, where the employer mandate becomes effective, can supplement their workforce with contract or temporary workers and avoid the mandate. By setting up an effective vendor management or recruitment process outsourcing system, companies can continue to grow without going over the 50-employee threshold. The extra year will enable more companies to set up effective systems if this is a strategy they choose to take.” Many Companies Already Using Contingent Workforces One of the reasons for the boom in temporary employment is that many employers are utilizing contract workers to avoid the healthcare reform mandate. Temporary staffing jobs hit a record 2.68 million in May growing by 25,600 from the previous month. The temp industry [+]

It’s important for business to remain flexible in today’s economy in order to effectively manage risk and there are no four steps to staffing solutionssigns this will change in the foreseeable future. In addition, employing a contingent workforce is a strategy that an increasing number of employers are taking in this regard. Staffing Industry Analysts *, a global advisor on contingent workforces, reports that, "The contract labor force is growing twice as rapidly as the traditional workforce." In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that 35 percent of the national workforce will consist of contingent workers by the end of 2013. 4 Steps to Managing Your Workforce in the 21st Century As business moves towards a mix of permanent, temporary, and contract workers, the traditional approach to human resource management must shift as well. HR must partner with procurement Human resources have always worked closely with finance but the use of contingent workforces will see HR working closely with procurement as well. HR interactions with finance are normally a value-based approach to contingent workforce management whereas interaction with procurement provides a performance-based approach to vendor management. Managed properly, the resulting shift will create an opportunity [+]

With healthcare recruitment constantly in flux due to an aging population, an aging healthcare workforce, and the seemingly never-ending stream of government legislation, it’s more important than ever for healthcare providers to automate and streamline their staffing processes. Workforce management systems for the healthcare industry include options such as Managed Services Provider (MSP), Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), and Vendor Management System (VMS) providers. And if you haven’t taken advantage of the many benefits of these workforce management solutions, we’ve provided you with some Q & A to help you choose a reliable staffing solution. What you need to ask when choosing Workforce Management Solutions How can I be sure that your workforce management system will deliver suitable candidates for my healthcare recruiting needs? A VMS or managed services provider should have qualified contacts throughout the national healthcare industry. A nationwide job-to-candidate-matching process that delivers only the most qualified healthcare professionals based on your detailed job qualifications is important. Where will I see cost savings and efficiency enhancement from my Vendor Management System (VMS) provider?selecting the right VMS solution As your healthcare recruitment efforts become more streamlined through a vendor management system (VMS) provider, you should experience lower recruitment and HR [+]

A recent Harris Interactive survey revealed that 80 percent of healthcare employers experienced a bad hire in 2012 with adverse effects to the organization and, ultimately, wasted money for the hiring organization. The financial ramifications of a bad hire do not lie solely with lost wages, but with the onboarding costs to recruit and train the employee -- which can range from $25,000 to $50, calculator Of course, the employer then has to start the entire hiring process all over again. The catalyst of a bad hire is often an intense need to fill a position and as a result the employer does not exercise due diligence in the employee screening process. Common Mistakes in Employee Screening The sense of urgency to fill an open position can have negative effects if any of the following are present: The inability to quickly and accurately verify the credentials and skills required to qualify for the position. The failure to accurately check personal and past employment references thoroughly. An attitude to settle on a candidate just to fill the position rather than wait for the most qualified person. An inability of the hiring manager to accurately assess the character and values of the candidate [+]

healthcare new jobsIf the shortage of skilled labor wasn’t enough of a recruitment problem for healthcare providers, a recent CareerBuilder survey reveals that 34% of healthcare workers will be looking for new jobs in 2013 up from 24% in 2012. The reasons that healthcare workers gave for seeking a new position included heavy workloads, few promotion opportunities, inflexible schedules, and general frustration with work/life balance. 48% of Healthcare Professionals are Passive Job Seekers With both retention and recruitment being vital issues to resolve, it’s more important than ever for healthcare providers to streamline their recruitment process and make more informed staffing decisions. The survey also reported that 82% of healthcare professionals would be open to discussing a new job opportunity if it arose. The 48% considered passive candidates – those who are generally satisfied with their jobs but open to new possibilities – are the solution to both the recruitment and retention problems facing healthcare providers. Potential passive candidates reported that their reason for remaining with their current employer included the enjoyment of working with co-workers, location, salary/benefits, flexible shifts, and a general feeling of having satisfying and rewarding work. If that sounds like the ideal employee, it’s [+]

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