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Qualivis president addresses healthcare staffing shortages

Little Rock, Arkansas – Finding and keeping quality healthcare staff is more challenging than ever, but there are steps hospitals can take to improve their workforce outlook. That was the message from Qualivis President Sherry Kolb at today’s Arkansas Hospital Association workforce insights workshop.

Kolb, whose company placed more than 7,000 healthcare workers across the country in 2017, said that despite the fact that demand continues to grow and far outpaces supply – especially for nurses – it is possible to create a comprehensive workforce strategy without overworking current staff.

The first step is to re-evaluate recruitment techniques, recognizing that digital advertising and social media are becoming essential tools to reach Millennials and Generation Z, the next wave of the workforce.

“Only 5 percent of companies tailor their recruiting efforts to a multi-generational workforce, according to a study by Korn Ferry,” she said.
Kolb also advised hospitals to develop relationships with area colleges and offer internships that may help build a pipeline for future job openings.
While salaries must be competitive, recognize that pay often isn’t enough, especially for staff seeking greater work-life balance. Flexible work schedules, professional development opportunities and clear career paths also help aid retention. Multi-hospital systems may be able to develop unique opportunities for job-sharing, career paths across the system and consolidated training.

More hospitals are also successfully transitioning temporary staff into permanent positions and are using more travel nurses for hard-to-fill specialties and to help avoid burnout among permanent staff.

“According to a 2017 study by KPMG, the all-in cost for a permanent, full-time registered nurse is $89 per hour, which is higher than the cost of a travel nurse,” she said. “You can’t go by base wages alone. When you consider the cost of recruitment, signing bonuses and fringe benefits, travelers are a cost-effective way to ensure adequate staffing.” They also can be hired more quickly.

Qualivis is the preferred staffing partner for the Arkansas Hospital Association, offering its member hospitals a single portal to a nationwide network of staffing agencies capable of filling a broad range of clinical and non-clinical positions. The workforce solutions provider currently serves nearly 400 hospitals in 13 states.

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