The world of healthcare is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of workers, due to a confluence of issues largely related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, all industries are experiencing issues with staffing, as the “Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting” continue unabated. In a field like healthcare, where lives are on the line, staffing is especially critical, and that’s where a healthcare staffing agency steps in to plug the holes.
Long-term care and skilled nursing facilities have always suffered from issues with staffing and patient-to-caregiver ratios, but the problem has gotten even worse. Many healthcare workers have left the field due to stress from the pandemic, vaccination requirements, burnout or fatigue at work, and an increased rate of overall illness due to exposure to pathogens. Healthcare staffing agencies offer a way to fix these problems, keep facilities running, and ensure that patients receive the care they need.
What Does a Healthcare Staffing Agency Do?
When worker-to-patient ratios are poor, the quality of care suffers. When the quality of care suffers, innocent people can be forced to go through humiliating issues, medical procedures they wouldn’t have otherwise, or painful issues like bed sores. Along with being a job, healthcare is an obligation to protect the neediest and most vulnerable among us.
That’s why the responsibilities of a healthcare staffing agency are so great, as it can make the difference between life or death, or suffering and comfort. Let’s take a look at some of these responsibilities.
Understand the requirements of a given facility
One of the most important jobs staffing agencies do is to evaluate the needs of a facility, what special requirements they have, and the number of staff they will need. Some skilled nursing facilities may be short on CNAs, while a certain hospital may be desperately in need of respiratory therapists. That’s where the agency comes in and does the research to provide an accurate and effective workforce for the company.
Recruiting and interviewing
Often, nursing homes and other facilities will advertise and recruit on their own, but they still often fall short and there’s very little else that can be done other than contact a recruiting agency.
In addition, the interviewing and screening process will be done by the staffing agency, which takes a load off of the facility. They can be sure that the person they are getting is qualified and able to do the job as stated. An important part of this process is background checks and previous employment history, and staffing agencies are experts at making sure these are done correctly.
Drafting contracts and dealing with legal issues
Contracts are a huge part of the staffing agency’s responsibilities. They have to be accurate and carefully checked over, and agreed upon by all parties. Without the right contract, the worker will not know how long to stay or may have issues understanding their job duties.
Another benefit to the facilities is these staffing agencies are in charge of looking at and dealing with legal issues that may arise during the employment, or any issues with payment or salary. This allows the facility to focus on other matters and frees up time for the administrative staff.
Making sure the employee is trained
The key factor for healthcare staffing agencies is that their employees must be certified, licensed, or otherwise legally allowed to work, and that they have been trained on the specifics of the job. This allows the agency worker to hit the ground running, and begin filling holes as needed on day one. The ability to utilize trained and qualified workers to deal with problems on demand is a major benefit and responsibility of the staffing agency.
Follow up on the employee’s performance.
One area that is often overlooked is the responsibility of the agency to follow up with the facilities and make sure their workers are performing well. A part of this is terminating or firing employees, which must be done carefully to prevent legal issues. A staffing agency that follows up can trim off bad workers or dead weight, and make sure that their workers are always up to par.
The healthcare field is changing in many ways, but at its heart, it will remain about one thing – patient care. Healthcare workers are healers and caretakers, but they are also often the only friends many of their patients have. People in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities can often be at one of the worst, most painful, and most stressful periods of their lives, and they need workers who are compassionate with them.
Healthcare staffing agencies fulfill this moral obligation and legal requirement to provide care, as when staff-to-patient ratios are poor, everyone suffers and the quality of care drops. It’s a great responsibility, and the best way to meet it is to contact a healthcare staffing agency today.