5 Tips for Managing Your Health Care Staffing Needs Around The Clock

Health care facilities and staff managers everywhere are familiar with the pressures and demands of meeting patient care standards during peak hours (typically defined as Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.). However, recent studies have shown that the quality of the off-peak care environment plays a significant role in patient health, satisfaction and wellbeing.

Therefore, as a health care facility manager or administrator, it is imperative that you have a powerful plan in place to effectively manage your critical staffing needs throughout peak and off-peak hours alike. Here at QCO, we’re committed to providing health care facilities across the region with the staffing resources necessary to provide high-quality, uninterrupted patient care.

With this goal in mind, we’ve compiled the following five tips to help you manage your health care staffing needs around the clock.

  1. Budget -- When one of your nurses or technicians calls out sick or can’t make a shift for any reason, it is unrealistic to assume that the rest of your existing staff can pick up the slack without compromising patient care and satisfaction. Facility administrators must constantly balance the financial management of nurse staffing against patient needs. As budgets tighten, partnering with a healthcare staffing firm like QCO allows nurse leaders and facility administrators to follow cost-controlled staffing plans, instilling trust and confidence that patient care ratios will be protected. Therefore, it is important to set aside a portion of your operating budget to help you plan for and manage your supplemental health care staffing needs.
  2. Communication -- Clear and effective communication is a primary factor in maintaining patient care standards throughout the continuum of care. It is critical to create and promote an environment of ongoing communication by identifying and monitoring key handoff points within that continuum. These key points include when a patient transfers between units, between shifts and to outside providers. Effective communication procedures at these critical transfer points ensure the accurate reporting of vital patient information, staffing requirements, bed capacity updates, supply levels and more.

    Every organization should have a philosophy and mission statement that reflects the importance of communication among staff members. A formal program to communicate performance improvement measures that includes a focus on nursing practice, patient and staff safety, continuity of care and positive patient outcomes is also beneficial. In addition, an annual nurse satisfaction survey is an effective tool to help measure and assess whether the implemented staffing plan is safe and adequate according to the frontline nursing staff.
  3. Workload Management -- By analyzing your staffing needs and evaluating current and projected workloads, you are better prepared to ensure the accurate distribution of staff and resources. This critical workload analysis allows you to effectively prevent procedural errors that result when staff members are overloaded. Consider partnering with a Joint Commission Certified health care staffing provider like QCO to help you alleviate your facility’s changing workload. 
  4. Scheduling And Managing Rapid Needs -- The development and implementation of a comprehensive staffing and scheduling process is an essential element of any patient care and staffing plan. In order to provide and maintain the high-quality around-the-clock care and personalized attention that your patients deserve, it is necessary to partner with a health care staffing agency capable of fulfilling all of your supplemental staffing needs at a moment’s notice with fully certified, highly qualified professionals. 
  5. Advance Planning -- The best approach to unplanned staffing deficits is to proactively define the action steps to take prior to the crisis. In addition to helping you manage your short-notice or emergency staffing needs, it is also critical to partner with a Joint Commission certified health care staffing firm who helps you plan ahead for busy periods such as holidays and vacation seasons in which your regular staff may request simultaneous time off. By planning your staffing needs in advance, you ensure that your facility or organization won’t be caught short-handed during these critical times.

Your health care facility and its patients require dedicated, certified and qualified care providers at all times. For more strategies to help you manage your staffing needs around the clock throughout every shift, visit QCO online or call 215-491-5900 to speak with one of our health care staffing experts.

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