While most people are seemingly out decking the halls, attending holiday luncheons, and taking time off this time of year, most of us are not.

Patients just realized they have Medical Savings Account money left over to spend, deductibles that are going up in January, and have decided to address that medical issue they have procrastinated since June.

Meanwhile, our staff is requesting time, our prn staff is not available, and the facility volume is better than ever. It can definitely make it a challenge to get in the holiday spirit, especially when you are the last one to get any break at all. Here are some staffing solutions that may make your spirits a little brighter this season.

Color outside the lines a bit.

Cross training is key. If you have a scrub tech that only has a couple of cases, train them to help out in the PACU. They can transport patients, clean and make stretchers, provide drinks and snacks, and perform other non-licensed functions under the nurse’s supervision. On a busy day, a tech or medical assistant can serve a key role in the mix. You may want to contact your local nursing program and employ a nursing student prn. They can assist your nursing staff, gain valuable experience, and typically are not in training over the holidays.

Tier your PRN staff.

Consider placing your prn staff on tier pay rates based on availability. Offer better rates to prn staff who agree to work more frequently including during the holiday season, and get them to sign off of the commitment. Loyal prn staff will reap the benefit throughout the year, and the facility will have better coverage during the holiday season. Propose your plan to your governing board and offer the tier to all prn staff once approved.

Develop a strong relationship with a staffing company.

As expensive as contract labor can be, there are times where their staffing is critical. Contract with a company who has qualified experienced surgical staff to meet your needs, and be proactive in hiring them for critical shortages. Check with facilities in your area who know of companies with the right talent. Having a good rapport with the staffing coordinator helps as well. As they staff you with people that work well in your facility, request them early. The day will go much more smoothly when one of their nurses or techs is scheduled who you have identified as a good fit prior to a critical need. Make sure to notify them as soon as possible if you don’t need them. Cancelling at the last minute may impact future staffing.

Plan a break for after the holiday season.

Schedule some much deserved time off in the New Year. The census will be more forgiving, and you will need a re-charge after the presents are unwrapped and deductibles re-set.


2 Replies to “Don’t let Holiday Staffing coverage be your Grinchy Scrooge…”

  1. Right on this one! So on that note, here is my rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look Alot like Christmas”
    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
    Things sure need to flow;
    Take a look at the schedule WOW, more cases to add but HOW?
    His max is met, he needs his case done NOW!
    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
    I’ll be keeping score,
    But the prettiest sight to me is the money that we’ll see
    In a month or more!
    An endo day with less poop and unlimited fluids
    Is the wish of Bunny and Jen;
    Docs signing off on their labs and reports
    Is the hope of all of the team;
    And Mike and Jon sure hope to hell the snow will fall again!
    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
    I think that you should know;
    There’s a tree by the lobby wall, sure hope it won’t cause a fall,
    Don’t need the legal hassle from the state.
    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
    Soon the fun will start,
    And the thing that will make us beam is the patients that you’ll bring as you do your part.

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