With children now making up more than a quarter of weekly cases, the latest Covid-19 surge is causing a state of crisis in many children’s hospitals and pediatric facilities and departments across the country. Amid widespread worker shortages and overfilled facilities, leaders and managers are scrambling to maintain staffing ratios and continuity of care.
Though hit hard in general, as all healthcare facilities have been during the pandemic, many pediatric departments were somewhat insulated from the worst effects in 2020. That has changed with the arrival of the Delta variant and the ongoing uncertainty of vaccine approval for children. Infections among children are on the rise in many states, which isn’t just affecting critical care units but also general care delivery.
Some experts and media sources are also pointing to a rise in case numbers for multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C. Thought to be a complication of Covid-19, MIS-C has appeared among children who had otherwise asymptomatic infections. Whether or not this trend continues, the underlying need for more pediatric care workers is clear enough.
Yet for many of the facilities that deal exclusively with children, no nurses are available at all. The nation’s general lack of school nurses has been an ongoing challenge for decades. But during the pandemic, that shortage has intensified. It’s also made life a lot tougher on the school nurses on the front lines.
“When you get into a rural setting, you’ve got school districts, pre-pandemic, that saw a nurse once a week or once a month depending on where they were, and they share nurses with multiple districts that could be an hour away from each other,” Washington State school nurse Liz Pray told CNN, “and then you get in the middle of a pandemic, and the nurses are needed, and we’ve never been leaned on in that way.”
Nurses and clinicians specialized and credentialed to work with pediatric and adolescent patients — pediatric RNs and registered therapists, for instance—have never been in greater demand. Especially for facilities located away front major population centers, keeping these valuable workers on staff has been a serious challenge.
Solution A: Pediatric Staffing And Recruitment Services
What can leaders and managers of pediatric care units do to help meet the double challenge of more patients and fewer workers amid an ongoing pandemic? Partnering with a nationwide healthcare recruitment company is one way to help ensure that a facility has access to the workers in needs, across all job types and settings, while also giving its regular staff the support it needs to avoid burnout.
Long a part of the lineup of workforce solutions for hospitals and other care facilities, contingency staffing services are also available to help pediatric providers maintain their targeted staffing ratios during this time of crisis. By leveraging travel nurses and clinicians and per diem workers, facilities can help fill gaps in their workforce as seamlessly as possible, helping to ensure ongoing care delivery.
Many of the nation’s health licensing authorities have made licensing allowances to help facilitate the need for travel nurses and other contingency staff. For instance, facilities that operate within the dozens of Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) states can hire from a much larger pool of nurses than their open immediate area. Similar licensing compacts exist for therapists and other clinical workers.
In addition, trusting a proven clinical staffing partner with your pediatric department staffing and hiring means making sure that all of your nurses and clinicians are fully screened, credentialed and licensed. And that partnership can continue to help you even after the immediate crisis subsides, providing access to the contingency workers you need to maintain high-quality of care in the months and years to come.
Solution B: Healthcare Managed Services (MSP)
Taking the important step of recruiting and hiring qualified pediatric nurses and clinicians one step further, healthcare managed services providers (MSPs) are designed to help you handle every aspect of workforce management.
Partnering with a healthcare MSP doesn’t just give you access to the workers you need, when you need them, but also the entire administrative framework for sourcing, hiring, scheduling and even paying those workers. And that can save your staff the time of doing the administrative legwork of screening, verifying and conducting pre-employment background checks — essential but time-consuming tasks.
Healthcare MSPs can also boost the quality of workers you employ. At CareerStaff, we provide our nurses and clinicians with exceptional benefits, helpful recruiters and a culture they love, to ensure that they’re motivated to provide the best possible care. Instead of being frustrated by delays or burnt-out workers, your patients receive care from nurses and clinicians who are fully engaged with their work.
CareerStaff Is Here To Help!
In need of contingency solutions for your children’s hospital or pediatric departments staffing plan? Want to learn more about how healthcare MSP can help you ensure continuity and quality of care? Either way, you can trust CareerStaff to help, offering Joint Commission-Certified workforce solutions designed to meet your specific needs. For more info, contact us today, or request contingency staff now.