Travel nurse staffing has become an essential tool for ensuring optimum patient care for most hospital systems, health centers and other facilities in recent years. But like any tool, travel nurse staffing works best when used correctly. With that in mind, here’s what leaders should know about how to successfully onboard new travel and contract nurses.
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Why Effective Onboarding Is Essential to Travel Nurse Staffing Success
Travel nurse staffing offers many benefits to healthcare operators. It gives facilities access to more workers in more locations, helping them to avoid the risks of understaffing. It provides access to a wider variety of nurse specialties, especially for facilities operating in rural or remote areas. And as the Covid-19 pandemic so clearly illustrated, travel nurses can help ensure continuity of care during unexpected crises and other adverse events.
Yet facilities sometimes struggle with integrating travel nurses into their larger, permanent staff. Since travelers are, by definition, temporary workers, they bring a different dynamic than full-time nurses. So, it’s important to properly orient them to the facility they’ll be working in, and have a plan for when they first arrive.
The good news is that it isn’t difficult to do so! Here are six steps that leaders can adopt to ensure that their travel nurse staffing efforts are as effective as possible, from day one through the end of the contract.
Travel Nurse Staffing: 6 Tips for Successful Nurse Onboarding
#1: Be Ready on Day One
Even for the most seasoned travel nurse, the first day of the job can be stressful! So, it’s important that the facilities (or home health organizations) they arrive at are ready for them. Just with any new employee, it’s critical to offer them basic guidance when they show up to work. Don’t make them have to ask where to go, or wait for a manager to arrive to help them out.
#2: Create a Plan for New Workers
Being ready for travel or contract nurses means having an established roadmap for each new arrival. We know that this isn’t as easy as it sounds! After all, if you need travel nurses in the first place, you probably don’t have much free time to arrange things in advance.
That’s why it’s important to establish a game plan for new travel nurse arrivals well in advance of their arrival. Having a set plan for full-time staff to follow means you don’t have to make new plans every time you onboard new travelers or contractors. The equipment, workspace and employee handbook should be ready for each new worker before they arrive.
#3: Focus on Flexibility
Even with a pre-established plan, though, you’ll likely have to prepare some elements separately for each new arrival. For instance, the equipment that a nurse uses will depend on their specialty and specific duties. That’s not always going to be the same, so be sure to build some flexibility into your onboarding plan, and be ready to customize it for each department.
#4: Adopt a Welcoming Attitude
You can get more value from the travel nurses you recruit by making their first day as smooth as possible. And that means emphasizing to full-time staff that they should be welcoming to any new arrivals.
If that seems like a common-sense step, it isn’t always something that should be taken for granted. Some full-time staff may not like the idea of travel nurses in their space. It’s important to let them know that each new travel nurse should be treated as part of the team. Doing so doesn’t just ensure that things run as smoothly as possible, but will actually help make the lives of the permanent nurses easier, too.
#5: Designate a Staff Member to Welcome New Workers
One way to ensure a warm welcome is to designate a full-time team member as a guide to new arrivals. They should be prepared to provide info and answer questions. Additionally, they should be ready to take the new arrival around and make the necessary introductions, letting them know where to go and what they’re supposed to do on their first day. If done right, this can be a rewarding and exciting process not just for the new traveler and the designated welcoming party, but the whole team.
#6: Partner with a Reliable Travel Nurse Staffing Partner
Of course, your travel nurse staffing partner should help by offering workers who are already vetted and ready to work. Partnering with a company like CareerStaff, for instance, helps ensure that the travel and contract nurses you utilize arrive with a clear understanding of what their role will be, and ready to get to work for your team. They should also be available to contact in case any urgent needs arise.
Get the Best Travel Nurse Staffing Services with CareerStaff
Here at CareerStaff, we specialize in providing top-tier travel nurses who are fully qualified, certified, and ready to work. When you onboard a CareerStaff travel nurse, you can rest assured that you’re getting a professional who’s ready to jump in with both feet and help deliver exceptional patient care from day one.
Looking for a new (or better) travel nurse staffing provider? Get a full rundown of the benefits of utilizing CareerStaff travel nurses here. If you’re in need of travel nurses now or the immediate future, you can get the ball rolling by submitting a travel nurse staffing request now.