There is no question that Registered Nurses (RNs) play an integral role in modern healthcare. As the population ages and healthcare reform requires all Americans to get insurance, possibly pushing more people into the healthcare system, the services of RNs will become even more vital. The question is, how will hospitals and other healthcare facilities deal with this demand?
A recent Staffing Stream article by Randstad Healthcare President Cynthia Kinnas provides a possible answer – contract nursing, or temporary nursing as it is referred to in the article. Utilizing contract nurses can help providers:
- Immediately increase nurse to patient ratios, resulting in lower patient mortality rates.
- Access RNs with a wider range of experiences and expertise when compared to RNs who have spent their entire careers at the same hospital.
- Attract RNs by providing flexibility. Working on contract allows RNs to work when they need to and take time off when desired to start a family, take an extended vacation, or for other purposes.
- Respond to peaks and valleys in demand. When demand for healthcare services is higher, such as during flu season, healthcare providers can quickly add nurses. They can also quickly reduce their nursing staff when the demand wanes.
If you are a healthcare recruiter, or any recruiter looking for a solid contract staffing niche, you may want to look into this trend. By providing contract nurses, you can help your healthcare clients ensure their RN staff meets the demand and that their patients get the best care possible.
Keep in mind, though, that healthcare staffing is fraught with liability. Failing to handle healthcare contract placements properly could result in severe consequences for your clients, their patients, and the employer (which is you if you run your own back-office). To reduce the risk, we recommend that you or your contract staffing back-office:
- Have a Certificate of Insurance, including sufficient medical professional liability insurance.
- Run background checks and drug screenings on every healthcare contractor.
- Have healthcare contractors sign a HIPPA Agreement stating that they understand and will comply with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- Verify immunizations, specifically Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis.
- Verify that they have required, up-to-date licenses.
- Conduct an OIG/HHS (Medicare Fraud) Search.
- Conduct a System for Award Management (SAM) search.
- Conduct Blood-borne Pathogens training and testing.
- Have contractors complete occupation-specific skills checklists.
- Verify CPR training and certification.
- Conduct FBI fingerprinting if they will have contact with children.