How to Cut Overreliance on Contract Nurses

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media , July 1, 2014

"We were in a reactive mode," she says. "We were robbing Peter to pay Paul."

Analytics showed that the units were actually overstaffed, but the hospital's own, in-house float pool was down to just six people; in other words, nearly nonexistent. Managers were staffing their own units, and there was no central person responsible for overseeing hospital-wide staffing (a "quarterback," as McNitt calls it).

"It got worse and worse as the summer months went by," McNitt says. "We knew we had to do something."

So she pulled together her team of directors; ran staffing analytics with Avantas; and conducted surveys at the unit and house levels to find out what staff believed to be the No. 1 issues for the hospital.

The surveys showed that the lack of an in-house float pool was a huge problem, as was the very high incidence floating that staff nurses did outside of their own units. This was all exacerbated by the lack of a "quarterback." In addition, there wasn't 24/7 team lead coverage.

"We were setting [ourselves] up for competition among our own units," McNitt says. "We put together a plan to work on each of those gaps."

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1 comments on "How to Cut Overreliance on Contract Nurses"

Mark Graban (7/2/2014 at 12:39 PM)
The description of "lean" staffing levels (being understaffed) should not be confused with the "Lean" management system that's based on Toyota and has been used in health systems around the world. A "Lean Healthcare" model would ensure the RIGHT level of staffing that best meets patient needs while being fiscally responsible of the organization [INVALID] not too little staffing and not too much staffing.




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