Nursing Staff Engagement Key to Retention and Performance Research consistently shows that sustainably engaged employees outperform their non-engaged coworkers. Even a small improvement in productivity can have a positive effect on your organization’s performance and competitiveness. ~ Towers Watson It’s difficult enough to keep employee engagement at high levels during the best of times, let alone in times of massive change. We’re now nearly five years into the Affordable Care Act and many healthcare employees are experiencing ‘change fatigue’ in addition to the normal wear and tear that tough economic times has on people. For many healthcare providers, it’s a good time to use re-engagement strategies to boost morale, retention, and performance. HR consulting firm, Towers Watson, has been studying workforce engagement in the healthcare industry for several years and has “consistently seen a strong relationship between higher levels of engagement and higher levels of retention.” Further, when employee engagement improves, so too does performance in the form of better patient outcomes, HCAHPS scores, and reduced safety incidents among other metrics.

Healthcare Reform

Highly Negative about Healthcare Reform In one Towers Watson study, nearly 90% of healthcare workers reported that they held highly negative emotions about the long-term [+]

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 [+]

More healthcare employers hiring temporary medical professionals in wake of recession A recent employment survey conducted by the staffing industry’s leading job board suggests that temporary workers are back in vogue. Twenty-nine percent of companies’ surveyed from February to March said they hired temporary workers in the first quarter of 2011 and 26 percent said they would in the second quarter, reports Staffing Industry Analysts, a firm specializing in workforce management trends. Though the uptick in employment is great news for healthcare staffing agencies, healthcare employers must find an effective means of managing temporary and contract labor, or the inefficient on boarding and off boarding of employees will result in wasted staffing dollars and diminished patient care delivery. healthcare employer The survey, which included 2,800 hiring managers and 5,600 workers across a broad spectrum of industries and company sizes, also showed 28 percent of respondents hiring permanent employees in the first quarter – the biggest increase in three years. "With healthcare reform knocking on everyone’s door, telling hospitals and healthcare employers to ramp up patient safety efforts and increase care quality, a workforce management solution such as the Candidate Direct Marketplace enables administrators to manage both temporary and [+]

Simulation testing gaining in healthcare employer nurse training circles With healthcare reform’s focus on patient safety, lower readmission rates and reduced medical errors, it makes sense for healthcare employers to conduct nursing simulations as a means of assembling surgical checklists, timing procedures and correcting flaws in protocols, equipment and training before something goes awry in the real world. nurse simulationWhat nursing simulation does for nurse training, say hospital administrators, is give nurses the opportunity to practice in virtual environments where they aren’t “under the gun,” so as to better familiarize nurses with how to prioritize in critical situations. Additionally, nursing simulation allows practitioners to train on new clinical processes and to enhance individual and team skills before encountering patients in the real world, where stressful situations can lead to medical errors. Though simulation testing is nothing new to the nurse training world, the process an ideal way for healthcare employers to evaluate where patient care delivery can be streamlined and made more convenient and safer for the patient and medical staff. One Abington Pennsylvania healthcare employer reported great success with nursing simulation when developing an ER program to improve upon the hospital’s left-without-treatment rates.  Another relied on nursing [+]

Talk of healthcare information technology, EMRs and EHRs is fast growing among hospital administrators nationwide.  Healthcare reform laws passed last March give hospitals until 2013 to put electronic medical and health records systems in place and to meet a slew of meaningful use guidelines set forth by reform’s Healthcare Information Technology Act (HITECH). How much can this potentially cost hospitals? By some estimates, as much as $120,000 per physician for a competent EHR in terms of equipment, software, services, training time and potential lost revenue. Coincidentally and to the detriment of hospitals, these expenditures come at a time when providers are reeling from one of the worst economic downturns in decades. And to make matters worse, investors are shifting their focus to outpatient centers, leaving hospital administrators no choice but to improve efficiencies and cut costs to meet HITECH mandates on time. Sue HigginsSusan Higgins, Product Development Director for Candidate Direct, a leading provider of healthcare staffing solutions, said one way hospitals can save money is to streamline their permanent and contingent workforce staffing needs. From recruitment to payroll, Higgins said their company provides hospitals with customizable, automated staffing solutions to hire and retain candidates who possess [+]

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