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Innovation in Nurse Staffing? Not so fast...

March 8, 2018

By Joe Cardella, Supporting crucial and urgent RN staffing gaps thru Rapid Response®

I am often asked - "Joe, what is so different and unique about Fastaff's Rapid Response® model from what the industry has traditionally offered hospitals?" 

Actually, one of the main reasons I jumped back into nurse staffing and joined Fastaff was truly because I believed their model offered hospitals a really smart way to strategically buy nurse labor. One that complements MSPs, traditional travel and per-diem suppliers. There is not anything really like Fastaff in the industry and I wanted to tell more hospitals all about it.

Think about this for a second, outside of the advancement in MSPs and VMS technology many of us in healthcare would probably agree that the nurse staffing industry really hasn't had a renaissance in innovation over the last 20+ years. On the supplier side the industry commonly offers hospitals two-options to supplement their internal nursing gaps and to help better staff a census surge; Travel Nursing or Local Per-Diem Nursing. 

Dialing in on those two available supplier options there is a high-probability that a hospital partner will experience; longer time-to-fill, rigid assignment length & terms mainly due to travel/housing costs (Traditional Travel) and/or low supply of available experienced specialty RNs (both Per-Diem and Travel). Specific to traditional travel nursing, commonly a hospital is held to a 36-hour week arbitrary 13-week length of assignment with little flexibility; this industry practice was really designed for suppliers to help spread out cost (mainly travel/housing) over a longer period of time which helped deflate the invoiced hourly bill rate to the client. Alternatively in Per Diem, which can be a lower-cost more flexible alternative, hospital scheduling offices are often challenged with this model's unpredictable nurse availability & commitment - sprinkled on top of an already low available local labor pool prevalent in most cities and states.

The dynamic of the two models commonly creates challenges for hospitals to get what they need and for only as long as they need. Often there are unfilled crucial staffing gaps in critical units, over-staffing, bloated spend, increased internal overtime utilization. Nursing care is the backbone to all hospitals - when it's disrupted in any hospital unit - things tend to go sideways quickly.

I am by no means diminishing the importance and viability of the two more traditional options - most are fantastic supplier partners for hospitals and really do a great job in providing staffing services. In fact, I have led companies with both models and have seen both work quite well. Fastaff often partners with MSPs and other suppliers - along with direct to hospital. My main point is that the industry's business model hasn't quite delivered the innovation at a pace of urgency and flexibility - like other industries have. 

Which leads me to the real crux of my article...there is an alternative lever that many hospitals (over 900+) have discovered in Fastaff Rapid Response® model, a model they have found to meet the demands of urgency with flexibility. These hospitals have been able to strategically leverage a smart way to complement the two traditional supplier models and have saved on total cost. The Fastaff model works well because it was built on the back of a strike nursing/work-stoppage staffing platform that delivers in truly unique way; rapid deployment, guaranteed delivery, additional patient care hours per nurse and all with operational flexibility that is adaptable. Fastaff's model typically staffs about 15%-20% of total staffing utilization, normally the most critical and/or where flexibility is key. I'll explain each below in more detail to demonstrate how this fits in with today's hospital workforce challenges.

Guaranteed Delivery

Unlike traditional staffing , Fastaff is the only partner to financially guarantee delivery of experienced nurses. Fastaff will financially commit to our guaranteed delivery promise, ensuring your quality patient care needs are met on your timeline. If we don’t fill, we pay you.

Rapid Response

Fastaff guarantees delivery of experienced nurses in 10 days or less.When you need nurses fast, every minute counts. Fastaff’s in-house team of experts are trained in urgent and crucial situations, personally handling all staffing requests, including recruitment, credentialing and travel and housing. 

Operational Flexibility

Unlike traditional travel nurse agencies, Fastaff’s solutions provide operational flexibility to facilities, resulting in cost savings and optimal nurse utilization. Hospitals can customize assignment length to meet their needs, including as short as two weeks. Fastaff offers 48-hour workweeks for no overtime costs to the hospital, requiring fewer nurses on assignment and providing additional bedside hours per week. We know hospital’s needs change quickly - Fastaff nurses can be cancelled with a four-shift notice for no cancellation fees.

Hard-to-Fill Specialties

Most of our deep database of experienced nurses are in a hard-to-fill specialty, ensuring coverage in your most critical units. We deliver nurses ready to hit the ground running in: Labor & Delivery, NICU, PICU, ICU, CVICU, Operating Room, ER, ED, CVOR, Cath Lab, Endoscopy, Interventional Radiology, Psychiatric, Case Management, Hemodialysis, Nursery, and more. Our RNs are not “destination” travel nurses, but are looking to use their experience where most needed.

In conclusion, hospitals know that nurse labor is the most substantial of all labor costs in a hospital. Staffing appropriately to census is paramount in providing better patient outcomes at the most responsible cost. When a hospital can more accurately staff with a mix of all three models - Traditional Travel, Per Diem and Rapid Response® - I have seen outcomes be their best.

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