How to Overcome Nursing Shortages & Hire Travel RNs for Your Facility

How to Overcome Nursing Shortages & Hire Travel RNs for Your Facility

19Feb, 2020

How to Overcome Nursing Shortages & Hire Travel RNs for Your Facility

With a registered nurse shortage across the country, an increasing number of hospitals and medical facilities are turning to a cost-saving solution to fill nursing vacancies: traveling RNs. Hiring traveling nurses is a win-win for short-staffed hospitals with several notable benefits that go beyond cost.

At Ascendo Resources, we leverage our extensive market knowledge, wide network, industry experience, and massive candidate database to help facilities across the country reduce their staffing costs, find quality talent, and fill nursing vacancies.

Why Do Medical Facilities Love Traveling RNs?

Traveling nurses have become essential to the medical staffing industry; leading medical staffing agencies like Ascendo Resources to help facilities acquire qualified employees and RNs in specialized fields with significant cost savings.

Overcome Staffing Shortages

Hospitals traditionally use traveling RNs to fill short-term shortages, whether it’s getting through busy seasons like flu season, covering for nurses on an extended leave, or to fill a vacant role between full-time hires. Most travel nurses work on a 13-week contract that may be extended or shortened.

Addressing Hard-to-Fill Positions

High nurse-to-patient ratios often lead to burnout and high turnover, especially in certain specialties like ER nurses. This can present a serious staffing challenge, particularly in rural areas. Traveling RNs can ease the burden of hard-to-fill positions, including specialties in which full-time hires are hard to find. By drawing from a much larger pool of applicants who have already been vetted, facilities have a much higher chance of filling a position quickly.

Lower Staffing Costs

As employment costs continue to rise, many hospitals have discovered that hiring traveling nurses actually reduces staffing costs. Traveling RNs eliminate the need for costly benefits like retirement and health insurance. They also reduce costs associated with payroll, training, recruiting, and turnover.

How to Hire Travel RNs

Traveling RNs are employed by staffing agencies who can then help connect them to your medical facility, arranging assignments that usually last up to three years. If you need to supplement your healthcare staff to maintain patient coverage during a busy season, transitional period, or while full-time nurses are on an extended leave of absence, hiring a traveling nurse can make a lot of sense and help you fill open positions quickly.

The first step? Working with a recruiting and consulting firm specializing in the niche of healthcare. A recruiter will work with you to understand your unique staffing needs and find highly qualified travel RNs from a large pool of candidates who will be a good match for your facility. The recruiter will also handle the otherwise costly and time-consuming aspects of filling a position such as screening and onboarding.

To further assist you in supplementing your healthcare staff, we recommend the following tips to hire travel RNs.

1.   Consider Future Staffing Needs

We understand that it’s not always possible, but the longer the lead time, the greater the network of qualified RNs your recruiter will be able to provide. Ideally, forecast staffing needs at least 6 weeks into the future and reserve quick turnaround requests for unpredictable staffing shortages. Some facilities even work with recruiters as far as 3-6 months in advance to find nurses with specialties.

In most cases, you should have a good understanding of when you will need a travel RN to fill staffing shortages, such as full-time nurses who have put in for an extended leave, nurses who are retiring, or predictable busy times such as flu season and the summer. If you already use traveling nurses, you may also plan to extend their assignments as needed.

2.   Provide as Much Information as Possible

When placing an order for a traveling RN with a recruiting firm, be as specific as possible and create a detailed job description. This will help your recruiter find the most well-suited nurses for your needs. Be sure to describe clearly the role, case load, facility type, and qualifications. Think about any special duties the nurse will need to fill. Should they have experience with specific types of medical equipment? Do you need someone with several specialties to serve as a floater between units? Make sure your recruiter knows.

3.   Embrace Phone Interviews

One of the most effective ways to assess whether a traveling RN will be a good fit is through a phone interview. Just remember that candidates usually have several options for their next assignment — especially if your lead time is short. Take the time to answer their questions about your facility and the role.

As you discuss your facility and the position, remember that most traveling nurses want to know about the following:

  • Your nurse-to-patient ratio
  • The types of patients you treat
  • How hours are scheduled
  • Your orientation policy
  • Your float policy

Be sure to discuss the strengths of your facility to create a favorable impression. You may want to mention recent renovations, a comprehensive approach to welcoming travelers, the facility’s rating, and even area attractions.

4.   Don’t Take Too Long!

Traveling RNs often have the luxury of picking and choosing their next assignments. The closer your lead time, the faster you need to act. Don’t delay with your screening and interviewing process or they may be picked up by a different employer. A skilled recruiting agency like Ascendo Resources can go a long way toward helping with screening and even onboarding, but it will be on you to act quickly with the interviewing and hiring process.

With Ascendo Healthcare, you gain access to decades of industry experience and an extensive database of pre-screened traveling RNs across all specialties. We can help with difficult-to-fill positions and extreme shortages thanks to our team of professionals and multilingual staff. Because we take the time to get to know you intimately, we’re able to pair you with perfectly suited candidates at competitive prices.

For more information about how we can help your facility’s need for qualified nurses, contact Ascendo Resources today.