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Choosing The Best Medical Staffing Agency

Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012

choose a medical staffing agencyTo Keep Your Facility Running, 24/7

Welcome to the Quality Care Options Blog! This is your all-in-one portal for advice and information on topics related to maintaining your healthcare facility -- from streamlining your procedures and enhancing efficiency, to working with healthcare recruiters and making medical staffing seamless and hassle-free.

We’re going to kick off this blog with an issue that healthcare facility managers and administrators should be quite familiar with: working with temporary staffing agencies. You work in an industry that is expected to provide around-the-clock care. But, as you know, even the best nurses, technicians and direct care workers get sick from time to time. And they of all people deserve some vacation time once in a while, too.

So to provide the continuous level of care that your patients expect and deserve, you must partner with a medical staffing agency. And you likely already knew that. But do know how to choose the firm that's best for your unique facility and its patients?

Not all staffing agencies are the same, and without careful consideration you may choose one that doesn’t work well with your facility.  Here are the things to consider to ensure you have the right medical staffing agency on hand the next time an emergency “temp to hire” situation comes around:

Take the website seriously.
While the on-the-job trial period that most temp employment agencies offer is the best indicator of quality, your first impression should come from the company’s website. This is a good way to weed out the agencies that aren’t up to par before trying them out.

Look at the agency’s mission statements, staff qualification processes and areas of expertise. This will help you determine whether or not the agency has the fully credentialed personnel and support resources necessary to provide your facility’s patients with the most qualified nurses, technicians and caregivers.

Take screening seriously.
After the agency’s website passes your first impression test, set up a phone or in-person meeting to learn more about their screening and credentialing processes. How the agency qualifies the healthcare professionals it provides directly impacts your patients’ care. So this should be, without a doubt, a guiding principle in your selection process.

And while you’re asking in-depth questions or reading materials about the agency’s screening processes, keep eyes and ears open for additional quality care verifications. This includes Joint Commission certification, a thorough and continuous process that includes yearly evaluations and performance reviews. This ensures that the agency is in compliance with the Joint Commission’s premium standards, which are updated regularly to reflect the rapid advances in healthcare and medicine.

Take reviews seriously.
Third party opinions are essential if you want the unbiased truth. Follow up with the people quoted on the agency’s testimonial page to get a more thorough -- and possibly more truthful -- analysis. But don’t just rely on the testimonial section of the agency’s website. Ask your trusted colleagues about their own experiences with the healthcare staffing firms that you’re considering.

And don’t forget about the power of the Internet! Search for what’s being said about each medical staffing agency online -- honest opinions and comments from managers and administrators of healthcare facilities like yours. There are plenty of healthcare-related blogs and opinion forums out there that can tell you what goes on beyond the mission statement and “About Us” sections of an agency’s website.

Take “quality over quantity” seriously.
Many healthcare facility administrators and staffing managers make the mistake of spreading their staffing needs across multiple recruiting agencies. On the surface, this seems like a good strategy -- providing more options in emergency situations. But, in reality, the quality and consistency of patient care is going to suffer.

By partnering with a single staffing agency, you establish a strong, dependable working relationship and clear, ongoing communications. And this is what ensures the quality and consistency of patient care -- when the staffing agency is familiar with your facility, it’s able to provide the healthcare professionals that best fit your patients’ needs. Of course, it’s always good to have a backup agency in place, so don’t burn any bridges with the other agencies.

Choosing a medical staffing agency may seem easy, but choosing the most appropriate one for your unique facility takes some time and effort. In the long run, the patients of your facility get the quality and consistency of care that they need and deserve. And that makes the search process more than worth it.

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Topics: medical staffing agency