True or false: supplemental nurses provide cost efficiency? Hospitals have to balance cost efficiency and patient care, so it’s very important for them to know if this statement is true. Many hospitals employ supplemental nurses with great success. For these hospitals, supplemental nurses fill various gaps – vacations, staffing shortages, sick days and more. Personnel at these hospitals know the answer – supplemental nurses provide cost efficiency.
However, the importance of this true-or-false question goes well beyond dollar signs. It’s about delivering the best patient care. The fact that supplemental nurses provide cost efficiency is important information for the entire healthcare field. For administrators who are less familiar with supplemental nursing, this is a clear sign that it’s time to explore this area of nursing and the many ways it can benefit all healthcare facilities.
Cost Efficiency Is Proven
Several years ago, researchers at the University of Rochester studied this issue. The results were published recently, and they confirm that supplemental nurses provide cost efficiency. Two very important points stand out:
- The modest use of supplemental (temporary or contract) nurses is a cost-efficient strategy during temporary periods of patient census swings or short-term shortages of permanent nurses at large U.S. medical centers.
- The hourly personnel costs for supplemental nurses efficiently offset the overtime costs of permanent nurses.
The study focused on 19 adult patient care units in a large academic medical center. It began in July 2003, and ran through December 2006, and it was published in the April-June issue of the Journal of Nursing Care Quality.
Supplemental Nurses Are Available When Needed
It’s a fact of life that the number of patients in a hospital can fluctuate significantly. When there are more patients, the hospital needs more staff members to take care of them. What if the flu is going around and several nurses on a floor call in sick? Whether it’s more patients than usual or fewer nurses than usual, supplemental nurses can fill the gap. Supplemental nurses make it possible for a hospital to quickly, easily, and effectively ensure that qualified nurses are available when they are needed.
How does this work? Maintaining reserve capacity may be relatively inexpensive if hospitals have access to temporary staff, because hospitals can then avoid paying the high fixed costs of employee benefits and do not pay for unneeded hours of work. This finding was part of an earlier study, Demand for Temporary Agency Nurses and Nursing Shortages, published in 2013 in INQUIRY: The Journal of Healthcare Organization, Provision, and Financing.
Importance of Reducing Overtime
In many hospitals, staffing shortages lead to mandatory overtime, However, that solution can be problematic for nurses, patients, and hospitals. The American Nurses Association notes that overtime can result in many problems, including nurse fatigue and deficits in a nurse’s performance, both of which may result in reduced patient satisfaction. When larger problems arise from these situations, healthcare litigation may follow.
Given the seriousness of this situation, the American Nurses Association believes that the elimination of overtime for the nation’s nurses is crucial in order to improve the quality of patient care and the health of the nurse. Supplemental staffing is the obvious answer for this problem. It allows hospitals to have qualified nurses available to provide excellent patient care as a supplement to their own staff nurses.
YOU can be part of that solution
At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals for per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. At 365 Healthcare Staffing, we want to work with you, whether you’re looking for a short-term placement or a permanent position. Call 310.436.3650 so we can get started today!