How to Balance the Challenges and Achieve an Attractive Balance Sheet

As a healthcare provider, you know that the quality of nurse staffing is imperative to keep patient care quality high. But you also need to keep costs at a justifiable and safe level. Getting the balance right is a challenge.

A report from the American Hospital Association shows that hospitals and health systems lost $323 billion in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Expenses ran eye-wateringly high for providers, with staffing bills one of, if not the largest cost on them.

You’re in a catch-22 situation. Here, we show you how you can optimize a quality workforce without spiraling expenses.

1.    Establish Labor Expectations

The healthcare industry can certainly be unpredictable. However, you must establish how many FTEs (full-time equivalent employees) you currently have per patient.

Only when you have a benchmark will you be able to define whether your staffing level is too high or too low.

Tracking labor costs with technology will also provide the data to help you better understand your ideal staffing position and hire agency nurses accordingly.

2.    Look for Staffing Trends

You should be familiar with seasonal peaks and troughs in your facility. You must also consider when your staff want to take time off. Whether for holidays, school vacations, FMLA, or when they may need to take time off to care for their children.

You must prepare for these, but how? Not by stopping your staff from taking leave when they need it most. Instead, developing a trusted partnership with a staffing agency will help fulfill your needs so that your quality of care remains intact, and your permanent staff remain motivated, rejuvenated, and most importantly, feeling supported by their employer.

3.    Eliminate or Reduce Overtime

Overtime can be extremely costly to your facility. If you’re paying for overtime frequently, this is a sign that you’re not preparing well enough for when you need more staff. This comes at a clear cost, paying staff perhaps double their regular pay. The side effect that also damages your facility is that your overworked staff become burned out, less productive, and more likely to leave.  With the current crisis revolving around the nursing shortage, it is imperative to help your staff maintain balance.

Of course, you’re right not to leave your facility at skeletal staffing levels. Instead, bring in agency nurses who can pump up productivity and team morale.

4.    Reduce Staff Turnover

This is the never ending challenge. Studies have shown that leaders who show recognition and appreciation reduce attrition levels significantly. The acts don’t have to be grandiose, even a heartfelt and sincere, “thank you” goes a long way. The expense of hiring, onboarding, training, and supervising new staff is huge. You must invest in your staff and ensure they’re happy working with you. Provide them with such things as:

  • Regular feedback (positive or corrective…especially positive)
  • Incentives
  • Recognition
  • Recovery time between shifts
  • A well staffed team

5.    Review Roles and the Applicable Credentials

Review each role’s duties and whether they match their credentials. For example, if you tried to cut costs by losing admin support, your skilled nurses are now being paid to carry out those tasks, taking them away from completing what their credentials allow them.

You must ensure each position is working to the best of its ability, and that their salary reflects their responsibility.

6.    Respond, don’t React to Staffing Needs

A hospital’s workforce needs will fluctuate. Be ready. Be prepared. As demand increases or an unexpected incident throws your facility into overdrive, you must be able to respond in an appropriate manner to ensure your team meets the challenge with minimal risk and burnout.

Equally, keeping too many staff on board unnecessarily (and above your staffing benchmark) will massively damage your bottom line, and leave your team feeling both underutilized and as if they are “just a number” waiting to be called.

7.    Have a Go-To Nursing Pool

The best, most cost-effective solution to getting your budget and staffing levels right is to have full access to skilled nurses when you need them. Having these challenges addressed greatly reduces many of the concerns we’ve outlined in this article.

When partnering with QS Nurses, you can:

  • Receive assistance in understanding your labor expectations
  • Reduce or even eliminate costly and damaging overtime
  • Reduce staff turnover and see morale and productivity boosted
  • Have all tasks and duties executed by the correctly credentialed staff member
  • Immediately respond to staffing and patient needs, on demand

At QS Nurses, we understand our many loyal clients and their staffing needs, and readily provide screened, vetted, and highly skilled nurses to fill the void when required, leaving your facility boosted in morale and productivity, along with a healthy bottom line.

Contact us today and see how we can help you. We will always be just a click or a phone call away.