As 2020 transitions into 2021, it’s become all too clear that the urgent challenges facing the healthcare industry are only getting more intense. With most leaders having their hands full dealing with the pandemic, it’s even more critical to make sure that your long-term staffing plan is up to the task ahead. It’s time to face the difficult question: Is your health workforce plan really ready for 2021?
It’s a tough question for a number of reasons, including the fact that each network or facility has its own unique needs and metrics for success. All the same, there are still a few precautionary measures that every leader can take to make sure your healthcare workforce plan is resilient, reliable and ready for the year ahead.
4 Ways to Prepare Your Health Workforce Plan for 2021
1. Leave room in your plan for staff vaccinations. With early distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and antibody treatments underway, there’s good reason to hope that 2021 will be safer for healthcare workers than 2020 has been. State health departments have been first in line for distribution, with priority availability likely to be offered to healthcare workers.
It’s safe to assume that you have your eyes on this story. But it’s also worth emphasizing the importance of this breakthrough. The sooner that widespread vaccination is available to health workers, the better the general safety conditions will be for everyone. This will directly support the wellbeing of the nurses and clinicians who are working so hard to fight the pandemic, and will likely serve as a shot in the arm for morale, too.
This also points to the need to have the administrative capacity to coordinate with government officials about distributing the vaccination among your staff, when that day arrives. It’s also important to keep your workers in the loop, giving them clear communications on the expected timeline for vaccine distribution as well as the option to voice any concerns or comments they hay have.
2. Stay on top of burnout and compassion fatigue. Speaking of keeping healthcare workers in the loop, now is a more important time than ever to make sure you’re checking in on their emotional wellbeing. As Covid-19 has intensified day-to-day life for not just acute workers but most everyone working within a facility’s walls, compassion fatigue and burnout have reached all-time highs.
These are issues that are never easy to deal with, and the pandemic is only making things more difficult. But at a time when every worker’s health is critical, it’s also more important than ever to address burnout and worker fatigue. And there are a few ways to work toward that goal, including offering counseling services and self-care outreach programs and encouraging a buddy program among your staff.
> Don’t miss: Our experts offer 7 ways to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue
3. Get access to a supply of contingent workers. Though it’s bound to affect some facilities more than others, the shared nature of the nation’s healthcare professionals represents a concern for everyone. And after so many Covid-19 surges across the span of months now, the strains on that network are now being felt everywhere.
The result has been an extraordinary uptick in the use of contingency workers like travel and per diem nurses, locum tenens doctors and travel therapists. These models have long been in use as a means to shift workforce resources more easily around the nation. The Covid-19 crisis has only intensified this demand — and it’s greatly increased the scarcity of these valuable workers, too.
As such, many facilities are learning the immediate benefits of having access to a nationwide network of ready-to-travel nurses, therapists and other essential workers. At a time when your health workforce plan requires, above all else, enough professionals to provide care, this resource can make all the difference in meeting your patient care goals.
> Does your facility need travel or per diem nurses? Fill out our quick nurse staffing request here.
4. Partner with a healthcare managed services provider (MSP). If maintaining basic staff throughout the year is a concern, it may be time to partner with an MSP. Companies like CareerStaff provide access to a nationwide network of clinicians available on a contingency or permanent basis, as well as a mechanism for sourcing, hiring, recruiting, onboarding, paying and providing quality benefits for those clinicians.
In short, MSPs offer a suite of tools and services that significantly ease the burden of health workforce planning. They also provide access to any additional vendors as needed, as well as the latest workforce management technologies, sourcing techniques, and recruitment strategies. And the service is fully customizable to match whatever specific needs and existing systems a facility may already have in place.
At CareerStaff, we understand that there are no solutions in a box — the challenges are far too complex. But working together, we can craft the perfect solution based on your organizational needs, while leveraging up-to-date industry best practices. The result is an end-to-end solution that provides a full health workforce plan as a single (and cost-efficient) line-item on your budget.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a healthcare MSP can help you meet the goals of your health workforce staffing plan in 2021 and beyond, we’re standing by to fill in the details! Contact us here to consult a CareerStaff specialist today.