These are turbulent times for medical recruIters. As overall unemployment rates hover around 14.7% the medical industry is facing an entirely different dichotomous disruption: employee burnout and attrition among Covid-19 workers, and massive furloughs and layoffs in the outpatient and private practice sectors.
In early March, as the coronavirus began to spread, the public health sector rallied to meet the rapidly increasing need as medical employment openings more than tripled in five key states including, Georgia, according to Glassdoor’s Economic Research division. On the flip side, by early April, thousands of medical workers were laid off as elective surgeries and healthy patient check-ups dropped off, or nearly stopped. This created an increasingly complicated environment in the medical recruiting and staffing space, as facilities balanced between supporting a relentless need for more help, while others focused on retaining furloughed workers while they waited for the economy to reopen.
“The fundamentals of today’s medical industry includes using an agency, because staffing is much less expensive in real cost, as well as human factors,“ said Dr. Jason Meyer, a well-known expert in the medical staffing and recruitment industry and owner and founder of Medical Staffing Consultants Inc.
“Do the math. In-house recruiting is expensive and so are employee incentives and overtime. And then there is the added danger of people working for long hours and suffering burn-out. The quality of service suffers, safety is sacrificed, there are quality-of-life issues. This causes good employees to seek positions elsewhere,” he added. “ A staffing agency resolves many of these problems while providing flexibility in an unknown staffing environment. There is no crystal ball, but knowing that you have an agency in your corner can be a huge bonus to support existing staff and as well as keeping your clients happy.”
“As states begin opening more and more of the economy, the demand for talent is going to be back at full throttle,” added Tom Erb, another industry expert and President of Tallann Resources.
“We are facing unprecedented times, but that does not mean that we can’t learn from past crisis and downturns and adapt them to our current situation. There are critical activities you can be focused on today to position yourself for the rebound. It’s time to position your company to your upcoming labor needs, and to go a step further to gain a competitive advantage by upgrading your talent.”
OPA Staffing is honored to host Tom’s Free Webinar “Recruiting for the Rebound, “ scheduled for Thursday, May 28th at noon time.
It’s Time to be PROACTIVE Rather than REACTIVE to Staff Your Facility
When Covid-19 reached pandemic status in early-March, it created the perfect storm tocause further upset to an already struggling healthcare system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the need for RNs was increasing rapidly, at a rate of more than 200K annually, because of the aging Baby Boomer population. While keeping up with the pre-Covid demand was taxing for many facilities, keeping staff in place during the pandemic became even more unmanageable.
In preparation for Covid-19, hospitals and medical centers were forced to delay or cancel the financially healthier part of their enterprise: elective and out-patient procedures and surgeries, to make room for demanding and less-lucrative COVID-19 patients. “To remain solvent, they had to lay off trained staff and very often, all or part of their talent acquisition teams” said Lisa Wilson, VP of Operations at OPA Staffing.
Specialty clinics are facing their own regimen of challenges. “Like the rest of us, healthcare providers occasionally get sick, and they need to be confident that their patients along with their teammates are being taken care of when they are unable to come to work., added Rachael Nuscher, BSN-RN who works at a dialysis clinic. “Having qualified candidates that are ready to step in when needed would alleviate the stress that healthcare workers feel when these things arise.”
As healthcare worker shortages were front and center on the national nightly news cycle, laid off healthcare employees formerly employed to support elective surgeries and preventative care procedures, received little or no coverage.
“There is a lot of noise in the healthcare community right now. Penetrating that noise during Covid-19 is the challenge for medical staffing companies. It is not business as usual,” said
Stephen E. Deason, CEO of OPA Staffing. “Now is the time that meaningful partnerships become more instrumental to navigate the challenges ahead. Drs. offices, clinics, and medical centers were forced to lay off much of their talented labor force due to the priority-shift caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” added Deason. “As society is reopened, there will be an increased demand for healthcare staffing. In particular, skilled talent will be needed for elective surgeries; such as hernia, cataract, knee and hip replacements, cosmetic and more.”
As elective outpatient and non-urgent admissions within healthcare systems ramp up, staffing shortages are imminent, as well as stiff competition in meeting their specific facility requirements. “A large talent pool was turned loose during Covid-19,” added Denel Sims, Director of Recruiting at OPA Staffing. “We are actively recruiting those people.
“Healthcare facilities need to plan ahead and establish a pipeline to be ready when society reopens and the uptick happens,” added Director of Staffing Operations, Chris Wiley. “That’s one way to meet the challenge of locating and hiring talented, trained, skilled healthcare workers quickly.”
Using a medical staffing company provides a pipeline of qualified workers quickly and also mitigates liabilities should the uptick not be sustainable. “We are in unchartered-territory. There is potential for a down turn,” added CEO, Deason, “and if that is the case, utilizing a medical staffing agency such as OPA Staffing, provides significant flexibility in times of uncertainty and risk.”
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CEO Stephen Deason, was just one of a handful of Leadership Trust members selected to voice his opinion in Seven Ways Leaders Can Help Troubled Employees Get Back on Track. As founder and Chief Executive Officer of The OPA RASA Group, a Social Enterprise helping people build worth in Recovery and previous CEO of GRYYT, a Socially Conscious MarTech firm, he has a history of applying a compassionate and effective management style to a diverse employee demographic. Stephen is also an active volunteer who sits on four nonprofit boards and the advisory boards of two startup technology and telecommunications firms.
The Main Take-Away: “Make them responsible for outcomes.”
“Elevate their interest level. Our entire program is based on this philosophy — as is the leadership training program for the U.S. military. A troubled employee is generally a distracted person. Things are happening that are competing for that person’s time and interest. Elevate their interest level in the tasks at hand by making the outcomes their responsibility. You’ll often find a highly creative problem-solver underneath.” — Stephen Deason, The OPARASA Group, LLC“
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While the country hunkers down to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, front-line healthcare workers are being left out in the cold.
Many traveling nurses and other healthcare providers are struggling to find temporary housing, others are being evicted on short notice, and nervous hosts are cancelling AirBnB reservations. OPA Staffing is here to help! We’ve formed an innovative partnership with West Home to provide temporary and flexible housing for traveling medical professionals. West Home has an inventory in both the Atlanta and Nashville market.
Atlanta units are located in five strategic locations in and around the Atlanta hospital district and are designed to support temporary and traveling medical staffers by offering 1-6 month leases.
Currently there are more than a dozen two-bedroom/two-bath, seven one-bedroom, and 17 studio apartments available. All of them offer around-the-clock support staff, high-speed internet, luxury towels and linens, smart televisions, keyless entries, in-unit washers and dryers, fully stocked kitchens, and more.
Article provided by the American Staffing Association
State and local governments across the U.S. are issuing mandatory shutdown orders, “shelter-in-place” orders, and related interpretive guidance—all designed to immediately restrict the congregation and movement of people during the COVID-19 pandemic. These orders vary in substance and specific restrictions, but most exclude from the restrictions “life-sustaining” or “essential businesses” that may keep their brick-and-mortar offices open. Nonessential businesses must close their offices and may engage in remote work.
Many staffing firms provide temporary and contract workers to essential or life-sustaining businesses such as hospitals, pharmacies, warehouses, etc., and it is for this reason that Maryland has deemed staffing firms as essential businesses. Some state orders simply refer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Guidance, issued by DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on March 19, which identifies workers who should be considered essential to critical infrastructure across many industry sectors. In many jurisdictions’ orders, staffing firms are either omitted from lists of essential businesses (e.g., Illinois) or denoted as nonessential (e.g., Pennsylvania, which denotes “employment services” as nonessential). The question therefore becomes whether staffing firms can keep their offices open in these jurisdictions.
Some orders (e.g., New York) allow businesses that supply essential businesses with essential services to remain open, and ASA believes that a strong argument can be made that staffing firms providing workers to such business provide essential services—and thus should be allowed to keep their offices open and staff them to the extent necessary to provide those services.
Other orders do not explicitly allow for companies servicing essential businesses to remain open and, as noted, either omit staffing from their lists of essential businesses or denote employment-related services as nonessential. In such states, a conservative approach would be for staffing firms providing essential services to operate remotely to the extent possible. However, ASA recognizes that some functions, such as processing payroll, can at times require a physical presence in staffing firm offices. Firms therefore might consider using skeleton crews, for minimal times in the office, to accomplish these tasks. To the extent challenged by state authorities, such firms could credibly argue that their services are necessary for essential businesses to function, and thus the firms’ offices must be allowed to function.
Regarding temporary workers assigned to essential businesses, it would be prudent for such workers to carry with them documentation—issued either by the staffing firm or by the client—establishing that they are working for an essential business. The documentation should specify the name of the client and its essential services; it can be shared by workers with state authorities as necessary.
The foregoing issues generally have not been addressed by states or localities through formal guidance or otherwise. Therefore, staffing firms should discuss their particular circumstances and jurisdictions’ orders with their legal counsel and determine how best to function efficiently while protecting their workers and servicing their clients.
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Nurses are primarily responsible for the implementation of isolation practices.
Innovative approaches are needed when managing infections requiring isolation.
Adjust workload measurements to accommodate infection prevention and control procedures.
The classic debates (1) on transmission route and (2) on special isolation techniques may not matter in the face of insufficient clinical resources.
Nursing and clinical healthcare support staff are needed in sufficient numbers now more than ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerates changes already underway in the healthcare workplace. In our present situation, the complexities of caring for patients with infectious co-morbidities have increased exponentially, and the potential impact on the job functions of clinical staff and healthcare workers has never been greater.
That said, our US-based healthcare workers already know how to handle infectious disease. Prior to our current pandemic, the daily work of healthcare professionals has been impacted by the worldwide increase in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, and Clostridium difficile.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic is stretching our healthcare system’s ability to cope. According to a recent scientific study by Kaba et al. (2017), there are at least three main impact areas:
The daily work of healthcare staff has been impacted by an increased and increasing number of infections requiring isolation.
Nursing care and healthcare in general has expanded to include the management of multiple infectious diseases, often overloading healthcare staff and creating backlogs.
A 2017 case study in the American Journal of Infection Control suggests innovative approaches are needed when managing infections requiring isolation – including adjusting workload measurements to accommodate the increased time necessary for infection prevention and control procedures.
Unfortunately, hospital and healthcare systems are often resistant to process or procedural change. In fact, the proverbial timeline between a discovery and the implementation of said discovery in clinical practice is 17 years. In our current pandemic, this “science to service lag” could easily create significant healthcare challenges.
Backlogs and overloading of clinical staff is the inevitable result – raising concerns around the quality and continuity of care.
As Jackson and Lynch (1985) note, nurses are the persons primarily responsible for the implementation of isolation practices. In their study, two relevant themes for today emerged. First, we have not settled the transmission question establishing the importance of the airborne route vs. the importance of contact with moist body substances. And, second, we have not settled the question of whether special isolation techniques are needed for persons with diagnosed infections vs. the potential that all persons harbor potentially infectious agents.
All this said, the cumulative impact of additional infection prevention and control appears to result in trade-offs and cutting corners. Backlogs and overloading of clinical staff is the inevitable result – raising concerns around the quality and continuity of care.
So, regardless of your approach or the stance you take on the above debates, what is clear is that having sufficient personnel in place is critical. Your nursing and clinical healthcare support staff are needed in sufficient numbers now more than ever.
A descriptive case study of the changing nature of nurses’ work: The impact of managing infectious diseases requiring isolation.
Kaba A., Baumann A., Kolotylo C., Akhtar-Danesh N.
(2017) American Journal of Infection Control, 45 (2), pp. 200-202.
Isolation practices: A historical perspective
Jackson M., Lynch P.
(1985) AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control, 13 (1), pp. 21-31
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“As a dialysis nurse, I am committed to providing excellent care and maintaining a schedule to ensure all patients receive their treatments in a timely manner. Being on dialysis, is equivalent to a part time job, and my patients depend on maintaining a routine. Dialysis easily takes 12+ hours out of their lives weekly. When staffing is short, patients have to wait to begin their treatments and miss out on other planned activities.
From a provider standpoint, I start my day at 4:30 a.m. Patients begin treatment as early as 5am, and the last appointment is at 6 p.m. Like the rest of us, healthcare providers occasionally get sick, and they need to be confident that their patients along with their teammates are being taken care of when they are unable to come to work.
Having a float pool to call when a teammate takes a leave of absence, maternity leave, and/or there is an unforeseen sickness would alleviate the stress that healthcare workers feel when these things arise. This would help current staff, who already works long hours on their feet, not to feel helpless when a teammate is unable to work. It would build the morale of teammates knowing that our management recognizes the work we are doing, and that there is no expectation to work when sick, work longer hours, or forgo breaks to keep up with the workload in a 12-14 hour shift.”
— Rachael Nuscher, BSN-RN
“Dialysis Clinics have regular clients that require time-sensitive, life-saving procedures. When these procedures are not conducted according to the prescribed schedule, patients frequently require hospitalization. We are putting credentialed teams together to float in and fill crucial medically-necessary positions. Having qualified healthcare workers available and ready to go supports our hospital systems, as well as Atlanta area chronic care facilities during the present COVID-19 pandemic.”
— Maggie Deason, MS, MBA, SLP, Director Medical Staffing at OPA Staffing
“This is our opportunity to support the community during this difficult time. OPA Staffing services are an important component of helping the medical communities on many different levels. The floater pools suggested by Rachael and Maggie help keep critical procedures on schedule and support patient outcomes and comfort. Furthermore, our supporting role will help ensure that clinic overflow does not unnecessarily burden hospitals during the current pandemic.”
— OPA Staffing CEO, Stephen E. Deason
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Amidst the uncertainty of the Corona Virus reaching pandemic status in the U.S. this week, OPA Staffing moved its offices into the strategically located Pavilion Center in Roswell, Georgia and opened its door for business. While the new location had been in the planning process for months, OPA Staffing is definitively poised to support the onslaught of medical care predicted to be needed in the oncoming weeks and months as the country gears up to battle Covid 19.
Along with the OPA Staffing offices, the building offers 24-Hour access, additional conferencing areas, and an Atrium. “The building is ideal for OPA Staffing, because it offers all the amenities to help us grow in an easy to access location,” said CEO Stephen E. Deason.
Located on the GA 400 corridor, one of the fastest growing sub-regions in the Metro Atlanta area, the office space is easily accessible from both Atlanta as well as the northern suburbs. Public transit is available on the Red Line from the North Springs Station, via the 185 Bus.
“The Red Line connection and the Medical Center Marta Station was one of the factors we took into consideration when we selected this location,” said Deason. “It is located near one of Atlanta’s major medical hubs on the northern perimeter of the city. There are dozens of hospitals including, Northside, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory, St. Joseph, as well as many, medical offices and clinics.”
OPA Staffing provides a full range of clinical and administrative staff to facilities, including but not limited to RNs, LPNs, Vocational Nurses, Certified Nurse Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Travel Medical Assistants, Therapists and their Assistants. They also place and hire Rehabilitative, Respiratory, Radiology, and Laboratory Professionals; Pharmacists; Dental Hygienists and Assistants; Healthcare Administrative Personnel, and many other Allied Healthcare Administrative Personnel. “We recruit highly-qualified, expertly-trained medical professionals with the required skills, attitude, education, experience and work ethic to meet the exacting standards of each healthcare facility,” said OPA RASA VP Systems, Lisa Wilson.
“We are committed to work collaboratively to deliver the highest level of service that meets the mission and culture of our valued clients.”
– VP Systems Lisa Wilson
The staff is trained to understand the needs of every facility or practice, including expectations, requirements, environment and organizational culture. Their team of consultants matches staffing needs with exactly the right candidate, whether it be per diem, contract staff, permanent placement, travel, or temp to perm assignments.
As a full-service recruitment/staffing agency, they understand that hiring high caliber, experienced candidates to work with patients is of the utmost importance. All candidates are properly trained, screened and credentialed, utilizing The Joint Commission Accreditation Standards and Department of Health Regulations. “We meet your staffing needs and optimize your workforce, while ensuring all staffing placements are mutually stress free for employers and candidates,” said Deason.
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At OPA Staffing we are committed to achieving a mutually beneficial relationship between our candidates and our partner facilities, while providing safe, quality care to patients.