Unpredictability a Challenge in Healthcare Staffing

Healthcare is one of a few industries that never quit. Hospitals and nursing homes are open through weekends, holidays, weather catastrophes and emergencies, with shifts running 24/7. The need for constant staffing and a shift in priorities toward increasing profits has combined to create a staffing maelstrom in which unpredictability is the norm – sometimes, to the detriment of workers and patients.

In their new book Unequal Time, University of Massachusetts sociologists Dan Clawson and Naomi Gerstel break down the movement toward unpredictability as it affects different healthcare workers. Through interviews with multiple workers they determined that while most are experiencing greater unpredictability, the greatest impact is felt by nurses, nursing assistants, and other low-wage healthcare workers.

As mentioned above, the dueling priorities of constant staffing and showing profits lead many healthcare facilities to schedule the minimum possible number of staff for a given shift. When a nurse or aide becomes ill or is otherwise unable to come in, it creates a coverage gap that others must scramble to cover – there is no overlap of extra hands to help out.

Low-wage healthcare workers are often at a greater disadvantage. Demographically, nurses and nurse assistants are overwhelmingly female, with children, and may or may not have a support system in place to handle personal emergencies. Restrictive sick time and attendance policies force these workers to come in even when they are ill, as one of the subjects of Unequal Time shared with Clawson and Gerstel. It should go without saying that workers who come in while ill then put the patients in their care at greater risk.

While this book covered healthcare workers in a facility setting, home care workers often suffer from similar issues of unpredictability and low wages. However, beginning January 1, 2015 home care workers in most circumstances will be covered under federal and state labor laws governing minimum wage and overtime. (Workers can use the Department of Labor’s self-assessment to determine eligibility.)

Nurses and healthcare workers in some states are pushing for changes in staffing ratios, but healthcare staffing agencies can take a proactive approach with their workers by clearly communicating staffing schedules (and not changing them unless absolutely necessary) and implementing less stringent policies governing sick days.

Healthcare staffing agencies that need an additional boost in working capital to take care of their workers may find a solution in healthcare staffing factoring. Access immediate funding without taking on new debt, and invest in your workers with confidence. PRN Funding offers comprehensive healthcare staffing factoring programs to cover a variety of needs and situations – apply today to get started!

Which State is the Best for Nurses?

That the nursing industry is changing is indisputable. Social and economic pressures are transforming the industry and will have a continuing impact on new nurses looking to establish themselves in the industry. Where are the nursing jobs? What state offers the best standard of living for its nurses?

WalletHub released a recent analysis of the industry nationwide (including the District of Columbia) with a breakdown of the best – and worst – states for nurses along a variety of criteria. Depending on your area of focus and your career goals, below you will find out which states to pursue…and which to avoid.


Nursing is an overall high-demand field, particularly given the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the insured population. However, some states have more openings than others and provide a more ideal destination for the newly minted nurse in search of a job.

Most job openings: District of Columbia

Least job openings: Alabama

Most healthcare facilities per capita: Oregon

Least healthcare facilities per capita: Delaware


Even the most rewarding position should come with a salary that covers the cost of living and, hopefully, allows an experienced nurse to invest in the future. What kind of price tag comes on your dream job? Find out where you’re likely to get it, and where you may need to pass. (Salary rankings are adjusted for cost of living.)

Highest annual salaries: Texas

Lowest annual salaries: Hawaii


A nurse’s dream job location also depends on his or her specialty. Many specialties – including pediatrics, labor & delivery, and elderly care – are concentrated in a single age group, and choosing a location with low numbers of patients in that demographic means finding the right job will prove difficult. WalletHub projected the concentration of patients over 65 in each state by 2030.

Highest percentage of population over 65: Florida

Lowest percentage of population over 65: Utah

This is just a sample of the data and perspectives available in WalletHub’s survey. For more information, visit their site.

Many nurses choose to start their own nurse staffing agencies to serve hospitals and other healthcare facilities. If you are starting a nurse staffing agency and need working capital to get off the ground, contact PRN Funding to start nurse staffing factoring today.

Survey Shines a Light on Nursing Trends

CareerBuilder recently conducted a survey about the nursing profession, in which they measured nurses’ sense of loyalty and satisfaction with their field, the training they find essential to success, and their opinion of the impacts that changes in health care have had on their effectiveness.

Responses from approximately 900 nurses across the country can help health care executives make better decisions about recruiting, retaining, and properly rewarding their nursing staff.

The full results of the study are currently available, and CareerBuilder will present a free webinar discussing how healthcare organizations can integrate those results into their ongoing strategies. In the meantime, below are five of the study’s most interesting results:

5) 58 percent of nurses believe that health care changes have made the workplace less efficient.

4) Half of nurses surveyed believe technology helps them do their jobs faster.

3) Two out of three nurses reported having a mentor on the job – mostly in hospitals and hospice settings.  In facilities without a nurse mentoring program, 41 percent responded that management has not picked up on the idea and 43 percent say that potential mentors are too busy.

2) 67 percent of nurses reported that on the job training was as helpful as or more helpful than their formal training.

1) More than 80 percent of nurses would recommend a career in nursing to others. (Is your job satisfaction that high?)

For more in-depth applications of the study’s information, we recommend taking advantage of CareerBuilder’s webinar scheduled for June 5.

If you provide nursing staff to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, don’t let poor cash flow stop you from keeping them satisfied. PRN Funding can customize the ideal nurse staffing factoring program to meet your needs – contact us today to learn more and get started!

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More Nurses Seeking Careers in Leadership

Whether you visit clinics, hospitals, or rehab facilities, you will find that nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals. Throughout the country and the whole world, the largest sector of healthcare providers is made up of nurses. Regardless of their overwhelming presence, not many of these nurses are included in important policy discussions that could shape the future of patient care.

A two-year study analyzing nurses’ roles in re-shaping the current healthcare system was conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Among the findings from the study was a 600-page document, providing a closer look at nurses’ education. Additionally, the report offered suggestions for assigning leadership roles in enhancing the healthcare system.

medican and nurse staffing

Currently, new nursing graduates are being encouraged by their educators and nursing associations to serve as competent leaders in the healthcare industry. Aside from empowering nurses, these efforts aim to increase nurses’ leadership roles, all while promoting change within the industry.

Cathy L. Rozmus, associate dean for academic affairs and assistant vice president for Institutional Assessment and Enhancement at UTHealth School of Nursing, views education as a crucial component to nursing leadership. At the very least, Rozmus said that nurses should have a bachelor of science in nursing in order to prepare for a leadership role. However, she also said that many larger healthcare facilities call for a master’s degree, either in a nursing specialty or nursing administration.

Rozmus offered plenty of advice for new nursing graduates pursuing a leadership role in the healthcare industry. She said that the most effective way to prepare for a leadership position is to offer volunteer services for various committees. Furthermore, she believes that by working in interprofessional groups, nurses will gain invaluable experience that will help prepare them for a leadership role.

New Tool Designed to Improve Nurse Health and Wellness

Registered nurses are constantly providing quality care to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness. Now, with the help of a new appraisal form, RNs can accurately assess their own well-being to ensure they are performing at their healthiest condition.

Thanks to the recent development of the HealthyNurse Health Risk Appraisal by the American Nurses Association, RNs have the opportunity to compare their overall health and wellness to the rest of the U.S. population, as well as other nurses within various demographic categories. Additionally, this online appraisal even enables nurses to better assess potential risks in the workplace, ranging from workplace violence to lifting-related injuries.

In addition to this data-gathering tool, the appraisal is paired with a Web Wellness Portal. This interactive site encourages RNs and RN nursing students to gather valuable information and educational insights catering to their specific interests or workplace environment. Participants can collect information in a variety of areas, ranging from fitness and nutrition to stress management and health screenings.

All RNs are welcome to take this appraisal for free. The survey only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and will continue to be a helpful tool to help enhance the nursing profession as a whole by determining trends and policy strategies within the industry.

PRN Gives Thanks for Nurses

This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for the many nurses who serve their communities. Nurses work long shifts, often without a significant break, and their schedules may cross days, weekends, and holidays. They are tireless in their efforts to improve their patients’ experience while on the job.

Nurses are typically a patient’s first point of contact during a medical visit. They measure vitals and ask the necessary questions to set you up for the proper care. The nurse you encounter can set the tone for your entire visit.

Nurses must be calm under pressure. By the nature of their positions they spend more time with patients than any other medical professional, including in emergency and other potentially high-stress situations. A caring countenance can do much to soothe a patient and his family.

Nurses are your advocate with the physician. Doctors evaluate tests and observations to determine a diagnosis, but nurses are there to report your condition in the moment. They administer the medication that doctors order and speak out for or against procedures that are in your best interests.

When a woman is admitted to deliver a baby, for example, the labor and delivery nurse will take her birth plan and communicate it to the physician to make sure that patient has the best possible experience. The nurse will also, more importantly, communicate to the patient when deviations are necessary to preserve her wellness and that of her child.

Nurses provide peace of mind to patients and the concerned friends and relatives who accompany them. A nurse will sit down in the waiting room with anxious family and reassure them of the quality care their loved one is receiving. A nurse will bring an upbeat attitude into the room in order to lift a patient’s spirits, even if she has been on the floor for ten hours straight. That same nurse will also remove the complexity – and fright factor – from overly technical medical explanations.

Nurses are often companions to their patients, no matter the type of facility. The sight of one or two friendly, familiar faces throughout the day gives immeasurable comfort. This is especially true of nurses who care for our loved ones at the end of their lives.

Of course, not every nurse walks the halls of a hospital. Home care nurses spend hours a day traveling to their patients so they may convalesce in the comfort of their homes. Whether a patient is rehabilitating or receiving hospice care, these nurses allow them a measure of freedom and normality that they would otherwise lack. For many, it would not be possible to continue living at home without the help of a home care nurse.

The next time you encounter a nurse, whether you own a staffing agency or have a medical visit, don’t forget to thank them for all the work they do.

Happy Thanksgiving from PRN Funding!

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California Nurses Union Defeats Effort to Eliminate Paid Sick Leave

No sick days for California nurses? Luckily, that won’t become a reality any time soon.

Sutter Health, one of the largest and most profitable hospitals chains in the US, attempted to eliminate paid sick days as one of nearly 200 concessions during negotiations over union contracts. After a long fight and nine strikes within the past two years, the California Nurses Association (CAN) defeated the effort.

“The nurses would’ve come to work sick, and the patients’ health would’ve declined,” said California Nurses Association Executive Director.

The union defeated almost all of the concessions in the new contracts. Other concessions included ending health insurance coverage for nurses working under 30 hours per week, as well as reducing the minimum time off between nursing shifts to six hours.

According to the deal, Sutter Health has agreed to retract disciplinary actions against nurses that appear to have been done in retaliation for going on strike. Last July, the healthcare giant was found to have illegally attempted to enact the non-paid sick days rule on certain workers during an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board.