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Nurses are the backbone of the nation’s healthcare system and play a vital role in providing clinical care to patients and supporting other healthcare workers. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the United States, with 4.2 million registered nurses.  However, the modern-day nursing landscape is plagued with staffing shortages and strikes.

To continue delivering care to patients, it is time to care for our nurses and clinical staff. Caring for nurses and clinical staff requires understanding their needs and career objectives and creating a plan to help them meet personal and professional goals. As an organization that currently works with about 2,500 travel nurses and clinical staff members, we have identified key strategies to get these essential workers what they deserve and need to stay in healthcare.

Here are some of the strategies staffing agencies can implement to advocate for nurses:

Prioritize the needs of the nurse

At Soliant, we prioritize the needs of the nurses we are working with and consider what they are looking for when we place them into roles. The top benefits we consistently advocate for our nurses are their schedule and compensation, which are also among the top issues contributing to nursing burnout. One benefit of working with a staffing company is that we negotiate your needs with the health system on your behalf.

Offer nurses a customized approach

Our approach to placing candidates is unique because we customize our process and employment packages for every candidate – because no two candidates are alike. For example, one candidate may want us to help them secure housing, while another may want the freedom to choose their housing, so we provide them with a stipend. Early in the process of placing nurses, we work to understand and learn what is important to them and what they are looking for in a placement, such as freedom, flexibility, or work-life balance. Then we create a plan specific to their needs.

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Educate on market and workforce needs

Our recruiters often consider themselves career consultants and take on a more advanced role than simply placing candidates in positions. The nurses we work with often think they know what they want in a placement, but it is our job to educate them on the state of the labor market and what opportunities are available to them. For example, we might have a nurse that wants to work in Charleston, South Carolina, but we also let them know of an open position in Bozeman, Montana, and compare the roles. Often, they find themselves more interested in the position we bring to them. People don’t know what they don’t know – part of our responsibility is to ensure our candidates take advantage of the best opportunities.

Further their career

For nurses to stay in the profession, it is important to offer them ways to extend or further their careers. Soliant not only helps nurses find the positions they want, but also we try to place them in roles that provide opportunities for growth. We can even help them continue their education and get additional certifications. We have helped many candidates get cross-trained in different areas of healthcare work. For example, an ICU nurse we worked with was interested in interventional radiology, so we helped them find the right training program to advance their skillset and increase employment opportunities.

Nurses deserve the best benefits

When nurses receive the benefits, compensation, and schedule they want and feel they deserve, they are more likely to enjoy their job and stay in that role, creating stability for the hospital and its patients. The standard contract length for travel nurses is typically around 13 weeks, and at Soliant, nurses typically extend at the same facility at least 50% of the time. This is a direct result of our advocating efforts which benefit hospitals and nurses alike. If a nurse chooses not to extend, we are typically successful at lining up another assignment before the original one ends. The demand is so strong that a nurse with travel experience makes finding the next assignment even easier.

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