​Are you struggling to find nursing staff for your facility? You’re not alone. The national nursing shortage continues to be a major challenge. This is especially true for the long term care sector, where nurses and nursing assistants provide the majority of care. According to AHCA/NCAL’s latest survey:

  • 95% of nursing homes are having a difficult time finding staff
  • More than half are limiting admissions.
  • 72% are concerned about having to close their facility.

Understandably, health care providers want their own staff. But sometimes, outside help is needed. Temporary staffing firms play a critical role in meeting nurse staffing needs, and today, this vital industry is in transition. Traditional staffing companies, which often work on a small scale using manual, time-consuming processes, are being displaced by a new generation of digital staffing platforms that can connect providers to a vastly larger network of clinicians.

Just as Amazon has transformed how we shop, these new staffing platforms make it quick and easy to find exactly what you need. If you’ve not yet made the switch, you should know that all platforms are not the same. Here are some of the key factors to consider when evaluating a potential platform staffing partner.

Price Transparency

With cost concerns top of mind for most communities, it’s critical to know how you will be charged for platform services. Some platforms charge you for each shift that is filled. The cost includes the nurse’s pay plus the platform’s marginal fee for facilitating the work. Others may add a flat fee to use the platform or impose minimum use requirements. These additional fees can add up. Make sure you review closely what fees are a part of the platform.

The advantage of platforms is their tremendous efficiency. Watch out for platforms that want to charge you for “cool features” you don’t want or need. Review the fee structure closely to ensure you get a cost-effective solution that meets your needs and works for your budget.

Risk Management

One significant difference between staffing platforms is how they classify their workers. There are generally two options. Some hire nursing staff as their own W-2 employees, covering taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment, and other employer responsibilities. This is consistent with long-standing practice in health care, and reflects the highly-regulated, supervised work environment.

In contrast, a few of the newer platforms send clinicians to you as “independent contractors.” Their model is based on the premise that because they are only matching clinicians with providers, they are not an employer and bear no responsibility for the worker. This model is a big change for our industry, as it puts health care providers, clinicians, and patients at risk.

Under the Department of Labor rules, health care providers that rely on temporary staff can be considered a joint employer of those workers. Because W-2 platforms are operating as employers and handling employer-related responsibilities, the risk for your community is much lower.

Customer Service

You may be eager to leverage the speed, scale, and efficiency that platform staffing provides, but worry about one thing: what if I need to talk with a person? This is another issue to consider, as some platforms rely almost entirely on technology-based communications. Got a question? Send a message to the chat box. Others augment their technology with customer support teams that are available to answer your calls and talk through whatever issue you may be having. Before you sign on the dotted line, ask who your contact will be and whether you can expect to talk with a member of their team when needed.

Readiness to Respond

When choosing a platform, a final factor to keep in mind is whether they are set up for immediate response to your needs. Ask how many clinicians they have available on the platform, what their average fill rate is in your area, and how quickly most shifts are filled. Because they are digital platforms, they should have this type of data readily available. The answer will give you a good indication of just how quickly they can provide the help you need. 

With more than 30 years in health care staffing, I have seen just how powerful platform staffing can be. For decades, I supported clients the “old school” way. In 2016, we launched Gale as the first platform for our industry. Today, Gale Healthcare has more than 70,000 W-2 clinicians on our platform who are available to meet our partners’ temporary staffing needs. We have no minimum use requirements or hidden fees, and no charge if you want to hire one of our staff for your permanent team. We also have a highly responsive customer support team that is available to you 24/7, 365 days a year.

At the end of the day, we know that nurse staffing is still a people business. With Gale, you get the power of technology, plus a great team that is available to provide whatever support you need. 

Find out why so many health care providers choose Gale. Contact us here to learn more about how we can provide an efficient, flexible, high-quality solution to your staffing challenges.

Tony Braswell is president and founder of Gale Healthcare, a leading staffing platform for the post-acute health care industry.

The First in Platform-Based Staffing
●    The nation’s largest per diem nursing workforce for the post-acute health care industry.
●    Absolute price transparency—set your own rates and no hidden fees.
●    W-2 nursing staff.
●    Open shifts filled in seconds!
●    24/7/365 customer service.