My previous blog post established that having an array of reliable nurse staffing sources to expand your workforce during times of high need is one way to reduce costs, increase quality care, AND win the favor of your Finance team. Your CFO will become your Raving Fan when you are no longer paying for a larger than necessary workforce to cover your “what-if” plan.
Core staff members will also thank you with improved satisfaction scores and retention rates due to less floating and cancellation.
BUT – and this is a BIG BUT – the reputation internal nurse staffing pools have for being tough to manage has been well earned.
Why? In the past these pools have often been populated by those who are:
- Leaving your organization – sometimes with good, mutual reasons – but wish to keep their foot in the door.
- Attracted purely by generous wage differentials.
- Wish a low commitment and professional flexibility.
All these are good motivations for the individual applying to join your pool – in fact it is likely you’ve chosen to spotlight these attributes in recruitment efforts. It is crucial to remember selection is a two way street. It doesn’t make sense to populate your nurse staffing pool with folks whose primary qualification is that they applied – this is the good intention upon which dysfunction is built.
If your pool is going to be responsible to care for your patients when the needs are the highest, they need to be top-notch, highly-motivated nursing professionals – even more so if you are assembling a team responsible to work across a multiple site enterprise. You’ll want to assess potential members for the required attributes such as:
- Adaptability – Ask your candidate to describe:
- The last time they volunteered to float. Then ask them to tell you about the time before that and the time before that.
- A time when their floating shift didn’t go so well. What have they done differently when faced with that same situation since?
- If they are an internal candidate, what is their floating track history? Don’t be afraid to check on this.
- Team Work – Can your candidate tell you about:
- The ways the unit to which they floated had a better shift because they were there.
- The actions they’ve taken to impact the professional improvement of a relatively new graduate.
- A time when it did not seem they were being accepted by the colleagues within a unit they floated to. What did they do to correct this situation? What would they do differently if faced with the same situation in the future?
Using open-ended questions, insisting on recent examples, and being straightforward in describing your expectations will facilitate the selection and set the stage for a meaningful employment relationship.
My next blog post will help facilitate that relationship and give tips on operating a successful contingency pool.