A healthcare provider is nothing without its personnel. The doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, technicians, receptionists, care coordinators, and everyone else who works with patients or in the labs is vital. While some large hospitals or offices may be able to absorb the loss of an employee for a few days, many providers get overwhelmed quickly when several people are out for extended leave or when many people in the office get sick at once. 

Patients typically don’t stop coming in just because your staffing levels are down. Instead, you’ve got to try to fit them in while also working around any vacancies in your staff. Unfortunately, hiring a new full-time or even temporary staff member does take time. Fortunately, there’s a better solution: work with Reliant Home Care Services. In addition to providing home care for the elderly, veterans, and others who need it, we have also established a network of healthcare professionals who are ready and available to take on short-term positions. Some may even be interested in long-term contracts. 

If you’re dealing with healthcare staffing, you don’t want to continue to put off finding help. Here are some of the ways being short-staffed will negatively impact you and how you can respond to such emergencies by reaching out to Reliant Home Care Services for staffing solutions.

 

A doctor holding a person's wrist checking for a radial pulse. There is a book and stethoscope on the table next to the hands

When Can Urgent Healthcare Staffing Emergencies Occur?

Unfortunately, healthcare staffing emergencies can happen at any time and to offices and hospitals of all sizes. While they may be more likely to occur during outbreaks of the flu or other issues—the COVID-19 pandemic certainly led to a large number of understaffed facilities at times—any series of unrelated events can lead to a shortage. Maybe one employee was scheduled to go on maternity leave and you had accounted for that, but then another suddenly got an amazing job opportunity, and a third decided to quit and go back to school. Now instead of having a full team cover one position, you’ve got to somehow cover three with a smaller number of people. It puts everyone under a lot more stress.

How do you define a staffing emergency? It’s going to be different for each business. Anytime you’re down an employee, even if it’s just for a few weeks, you need to ask yourself if your office can still provide a high level of care to your patients. They are your ultimate responsibility, and they’ve put their trust in you and your team. You owe it to them to provide outstanding healthcare. If you can’t, you’re in the middle of a staffing emergency and need to determine why and work to correct that issue. Some offices can handle losing one or even two people for a few weeks to a month, but beyond that, quality may start slipping.

In the case of inadequate staffing, you need to find a way to fill the void. Of course, you don’t want to hire someone unqualified or who isn’t a good fit. Unfortunately, this can often delay the entire process, leaving you without a full team for weeks or even months.

 

The Results of Inadequate Staffing

What happens when you don’t have enough staff? When it’s a single person, the rest of your team can likely take on the load, especially if they can split it amongst them and the person is out for a short amount of time. When it’s more than one person, though, or it’s going to be months instead of weeks, the shortage is going to take its toll.

First, your staff is going to start feeling the stress. They’re now doing the work of more than one person. This is especially true if the vacancy is a specialist who does work very few other people can take over. Someone could end up doing the work of two people for several months, and that’s going to get overwhelming. They will feel burnt out, which could lead to them getting sick or, worse, quitting and leaving you with even more urgent staffing issues.

Second, your patients may be affected. If you only have one phlebotomist, for example, and they’re out for a few months due to injuries, you may have to send patients somewhere else to get blood drawn. This is an inconvenience for them, and it can lead to fewer patients actually getting their tests done. They could miss being diagnosed with something because they were unable to get their blood drawn in a convenient and timely manner. Even if all of your patients do go elsewhere for a blood draw, they are likely to be unhappy about it, and that can impact your reputation.

Along these same lines, if you have such a shortage issue that you have to start rescheduling patients, that’s going to eventually result in those patients looking for new providers. Once is understandable—everyone gets sick, even doctors, and sometimes there’s no other doctor to take patients. However, if you have a staffing shortage in several areas, it will affect your office’s performance. Patients will notice, and if they are inconvenienced too often or have a pressing health concern that they can’t discuss with a doctor, they’re going to change practices.

 

Filling a Temporary Vacancy

The good news is that filling a temporary vacancy is actually not too difficult. Traveling nurses and other healthcare professionals are often available. Reliant works with a number of these experts, helping them connect with offices, hospitals, and others who need workers. Because we’ve already vetted them, you don’t have to worry about bringing in someone who isn’t experienced or doesn’t have the knowledge you need. You don’t have to worry about checking references or doing background checks—all that has been done for you. Often, you can have a temporary worker available within a few days of requesting someone.

Working with a staffing agency is usually the easiest and fastest way to fill temporary vacancies. You can find a professional who is looking for work on a short-term basis. They know they’re not going to be hired for a permanent position, nor are they expecting anything beyond the initial contract. Some may be willing to extend that contract if needed, but some may already have other jobs lined up. That’s the nature of traveling healthcare professionals. However, knowing that you can find these experts and bring them in to fill a vacancy for a few weeks, months, or even most of a year, can greatly help you avoid emergencies.

 

a group of nurses with their hands in a stack between them

Filling Permanent Vacancies

When it comes to hiring healthcare staff for permanent positions, whether full-time or part-time, you’re likely going to want to go through your standard hiring process. This means posting the positions online and advertising them through other channels, reading through submitted resumes, doing interviews, and finally making a hiring decision. This process does take a while, and it does have costs associated with it. However, you do want to make certain that whoever you’re hiring has the skills you need, will fit well with your team, and doesn’t have anything questionable in their background.

As mentioned, though, you may be in a position to offer a permanent position to a temporary professional. While some traveling nurses aren’t looking for full-time employment because they love the travel aspect of their jobs, some might be. Others may be interested in working week-to-week until you have hired someone. Filling a position with a temporary worker is typically better than leaving it vacant while you work to hire someone.

Even if you can’t directly convert a temporary worker into a permanent employee, you will be able to let them know about the job. They can then choose to apply or not. If you’ve worked with a number of temporary healthcare experts over the years, you may want to send them the job opening in case any want to apply. You already know these people, their skills, and how they work with your team, so in those regards, there are fewer questions or concerns.

 

Reliant Can Help You Find the Right Healthcare Staffing Solutions

When you reach out to a staffing company, you want to know that you’re getting fully vetted, professional temporary workers who are going to be able to provide a high level of care for your patients. You want to know that they aren’t misrepresenting themselves or hiding anything. During the normal hiring process, you would check references and employment history, but instead, you’re putting your trust in the staffing company. 

That’s why Reliant takes our position as a staffing provider very seriously. We carefully vet every person we work with, so you know you can trust them. Whether you need someone for a few weeks or to take over for half a year, we’ll be able to place an experienced professional with you. 

If you’re facing an urgent healthcare staffing emergency that is impacting your patients, it’s time to find a solution. Contact Reliant today to learn more about our temporary worker placement process and how we can supplement your staff with experienced professionals.