Understanding the Current Nursing Shortage: Causes and Possible Solutions


Understanding the Current Nursing Shortage: Causes and Possible Solutions

Woman in blue uniform seated on ground, holding a cup of coffee.

“Nurses are the largest component of the healthcare workforce, according to the United States Government Accountability Office. They provide much of the care for hospital patients and deliver most of the nation’s long-term care.” Nurses play a crucial role in healthcare, making the current nursing shortage a major challenge for the entire healthcare industry.

What’s causing the nursing shortage? are among the current top causes of the current nursing shortage?

  • Limited Access to Education
  • An Aging Population
  • An Aging Workforce
  • Burnout Following COVID

According to a recent McKinsey survey, 22% of nurses indicate that they may leave their current direct patient care position within the next year. With a diminishing supply of nurses and an ever-increasing demand for patient care, health systems and other entities that employ nurses are actively working through challenges to develop new strategies that attract and retain skilled nurses. To end the nursing shortage, it is imperative to understand and address the underlying causes of the crisis.

Doctor measuring patient's blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer, ensuring their health.

An Aging Population

The World Health Organization notes that by the year 2030, one in six people in the world will be age 60 or older. To that end, the U.S. Census Bureau notes that by the year 2030, every member of the baby-boom generation – over 70 million people – will be age 65 or older.

An aging population creates an increase in demand for healthcare. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights a challenge for healthcare providers in caring for aging populations. The CDC states that 19% of people over the age of 55 have three or more chronic conditions. With people living longer lives, the aging population greatly contributes to the demand for qualified healthcare professionals, especially nurses.

Today, and looking into the future, more patients require acute and chronic care management. With longer lifespans, many individuals living with chronic conditions and comorbidities will require long-term care from skilled and qualified nurses.

Aging Workforce: Nurses Nearing Retirement

Not only is an aging population contributing to the nursing shortage, but an aging workforce is a significant factor as well. A significant percentage of the population is nearing retirement and that includes those working in healthcare. The median age of registered nurses is 52, according to a 2020 article published by The Journal of Nursing Regulation. With a median age of over 50, within the next decade, many nurses will exit the workforce, and there will be a surge in demand for nurses to replace those leaving the profession.

Additionally, as nurses leave the profession, many schools find themselves in need of capable teachers. Without appropriate staffing levels, academic facilities are struggling to provide the education and training required to properly prepare new nurses entering the workforce.

Burnout and Increased Turnover Among Nurses

While age is a factor considered in the current nurse exodus, the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the retirement of many nurses across the country due in large part to stress and burnout. Nursing is difficult both physically and mentally, and the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these issues. Stress, causing a toll on the mental health of nurses, and overall burnout among nurses are major contributing factors to nurses choosing to leave staff positions in favor of contract/travel nursing.

According to a poll published by Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation, “roughly three in 10 healthcare workers have weighed leaving their profession. More than half are burned out. And about six in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.” A significant shortage of nursing professionals results in a higher patient-to-nurse ratio.

A heavier patient load combined with other administrative duties and other daily tasks leads nurses to burn out more quickly.

What is Being Done About the Shortage?

Fixing the nursing shortage is neither simple nor straightforward and includes addressing multiple factors. To curtail the shortage, changes ranging from additional educational resources to healthcare systems creating conditions that drastically reduce turnover are necessary.

Currently, federal and state governments are working to address the shortage and attract and retain nurses. The CARES Act provided additional funding and support for underserved areas through training and educational financial aid for nurses working in areas with a critical shortage as identified by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Beyond the CARES Act, the government is providing financial assistance to those considering nursing school. Currently, the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program repays up to 85% of educational loans for nurses who work in qualifying facilities and areas with a critical shortage of nurses.

A team of young specialist and doctors standing in a corridor of hospital.

How Healthcare Systems Can Move Forward

The solutions to end the nursing shortage are complex. The pandemic challenged the healthcare industry to confront the resultant shortcomings, especially where workforce management is concerned. Through understanding the shortage and the conditions that caused it, health systems will be able to move forward with a realistic plan that improves working conditions for nurses while making education and training more accessible.

If healthcare systems want nurses to remain in the profession and attract new nurses, facilities must find new ways of managing their workforce. One way to do so is to embrace emerging technologies. The pandemic saw record numbers of telehealth visits, but there are other technologies available that can reduce the strain on nursing staff. Artificial intelligence was used pre-pandemic in the form of nursing robots. Diligent Robotics, an Austin-based company, designed Moxi, a robot developed to perform duties for nurses that require high levels of precision but not patient interaction. Andrea Thomaz, founder of Digital Robotics, says, “We’re We’re helping them augment their staff.” By using available technology to automate tasks that do not require patient interaction, nurses can spend more time dedicated to direct patient care duties.

Another way healthcare agencies are changing their workforce management is by embracing the gig economy. Giving nurses the flexibility and freedom to choose which shifts they work and how often they work overtime can help nurses manage their well-being and mental health. Flexible scheduling and a better work/life balance are among the top requests from nurses feeling stressed and burned out.

The nursing shortage is predicted to last through 2030, making it crucial for healthcare systems to adopt new methods of workforce management. An increase in the accessibility of education, particularly at the graduate level, as well as embracing new technologies that provide support for nurses will be critical in maintaining a strong workforce and retaining qualified candidates.

Three Healthcare Recruiting Trends for 2022


Three Healthcare Recruiting Trends for 2022

A diverse group of individuals sitting around a table with laptops, engaged in a meeting.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.6 million new jobs.” With an ongoing provider shortage, a tightening labor market, and increased demand for healthcare services, healthcare systems are facing a number of challenges both in 2022 and beyond.

Almost two years after the start of the pandemic, the healthcare industry is still grappling with many of the problems it faced prior to the beginning of the pandemic. The current year will see a number of trends designed to remedy some of the current problems in the system, while also maintaining staff to provide quality patient care and maintaining profitability. Below, find three healthcare industry trends expected for the year 2022.

Increased Use of Technology and Telehealth Services

“Virtual care has been a gamechanger for patients, especially during the pandemic,” says the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Xavier Beccera. During the pandemic, the use of telehealth services was at record numbers. As many areas of life return to pre-pandemic levels of operation, the healthcare industry has slowed down its use of telehealth services, but the technology has not been abandoned and remains a valuable tool for many healthcare systems.

In fact, the HHS recently awarded nearly $55 million to 29 Health Resource and Services Administration-funded centers to “Increase health care access and quality for underserved populations through virtual care such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring, digital patient tools, and health information technology platforms.”

While telehealth is a cost-effective method of providing care, particularly for areas facing severe shortages of mental health care providers, technology, in general, is necessary for the day-to-day functioning of many healthcare systems.

The use of automation and artificial intelligence software is on the rise not only among providers but also among healthcare recruiters. Healthcare recruiters are able to expand search parameters for employees when using technology and remote correspondence during the process. Additionally, sourcing, screening, scheduling, and conducting initial interviews with candidates is a more efficient process through the use of technology.


Reviewing What Candidates Want

In the last two years, what candidates expect of employers has shifted significantly and workers are expecting more from healthcare organizations. While increased salaries are one of the most common expectations among potential candidates, there are a number of other benefits candidates desire. In order to attract top talent in a shrinking labor pool, healthcare organizations must listen to current employees and look at what potential candidates want.

As candidates become more educated about their market value, healthcare organizations would do well to take advantage of the opportunity to listen to employees and candidates alike about what they truly want. While increased salaries are certainly being negotiated, it is not always about more money and the traditional benefits employers offer.

The pandemic highlighted and aggravated physician, nurse, and other healthcare worker burnout. In light of this, many employees have voiced their desires for some more non-traditional benefits. Flexibility in scheduling can be a major selling point for some healthcare organizations. Employees are looking for more of a work-life balance, and providing flexible scheduling may help attract talent without raising costs significantly.

Use of Vendor Management Systems

Recruiting top talent is a time-consuming venture, and in the year 2022, it is only going to be more labor-intensive. With an excessive amount of vacancies to fill and a shrinking talent pool, the time it takes to find qualified and talented professionals will only increase. A more efficient route that healthcare organizations are expected to embrace is the use of vendor management systems to fulfill staffing needs.

Using vendor management systems is an efficient way to recruit talent to your organization. At Management Solution, LLC., we can streamline the entire recruiting process and significantly reduce the amount of time your organization spends on hiring. Additionally, we take the time to thoroughly vet candidates and ensure that they are properly credentialed, experienced, and competent. With our services, you can save administrative time and leverage the efficiencies of vendor-neutral solutions. Management Solution does not compete with its vendors by hiring registry providers.

Another benefit of using vendor management systems is the ability to have contingency staff. As the pandemic highlighted, unanticipated labor needs arise from time to time. With contingency staffing, your organization will always have the workforce it needs without having to incur unnecessary costs.

Retaining and recruiting staff, using technology to maximize efficiency, and returning to pre-pandemic workflow are just some of the considerations facing the healthcare industry this year. As finding qualified professionals becomes a struggle, many organizations can benefit from the help and experience of trusted vendor management systems. For more information on vendor management and how it can improve your healthcare organization, reach out to us at 1-855-502-3600.

Vendor Management Systems

Travel Nursing in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic


Travel Nursing in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Two female healthcare workers in scrubs sitting on the floor, resting during a busy shift.

Healthcare leaders were concerned with nursing shortages long before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections 2019-2029, registered nursing is one of the top occupations in terms of job growth through 2029. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 175,900 openings for RNs annually from 2019 through 2029 when retirements and workforce exits are factored into the number of nurses needed.

While the shortage of nurses loomed before the pandemic, COVID-19 and its impact on the healthcare system exacerbated the problem. Hospitals operating with negative margins are unable or unwilling to increase staff nurse wages, and when coupled with constant turnover and burnout, the nursing shortage shows no signs of slowing. Some nurses have chosen to leave the profession entirely, but others have decided to leave traditional employment and choose travel nursing due to its temporary nature and comparatively high wages.

What is a Travel Nurse

What is Travel Nursing?

Travel nurses are registered nurses who take short-term roles in healthcare settings ranging from hospitals to family clinics. Travel nurses help healthcare systems continue to provide quality patient care in areas where there are nursing shortages. One of the primary reasons staff nurses are leaving their positions in favor of travel nursing is the pay.

Typically, staff nurses in a hospital setting receive a set salary commensurate with their levels of education and experience, and their salaries generally factor in any benefits packages offered with the position. Travel nurse salaries are quite different, and at the moment, much pay much more than their staff counterparts. In part, this is because travel nurse salaries are “a bit of a gray area,” according to Nurse.org. Pay packages for travel nurses have several components, some of which include hourly pay, non-taxed housing stipends, non-taxed per diems, and travel reimbursements.

Currently, the pay for travel nurses is at a high. According to a recent article in Time magazine, the current rate of pay for contract travel nurses is often two to four times higher than what the same staff positions earn.

Travel Nursing and Turnover

Nursing turnover has increased exponentially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Burnout is one of the most common reasons for nurses to leave positions. The work registered nurses do is difficult and has very real demands physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Contract travel nursing becomes a very attractive option for nurses who wish to continue in the profession but are looking to avoid burnout. Per the Time magazine article, the rapid turnover of nurses into contract nursing “has triggered a costly feedback loop: hospital administrators, facing shortages in staff nurses, spend a mint hiring contract nurses, which makes them less able or willing to increase their staff nurses’ pay.” Without the potential to earn higher salaries, more staff nurses quit their positions to become contract nurses which further lowers the supply of nurses and increases the demand for travel nurses.

A person wearing a surgical mask and gloves holds a syringe.

Travel Nursing and the Healthcare System

With the increased demand for contract nurses, contracting nursing agencies have continued to raise their prices. The Time article notes that “the advertised pay rate for travel nurses has surged 67% from January 2020 to January 2022, according to Prolucent Health.” Other staffing agencies reported to Time that “pay rates for travel nurses at facilities they work with rose by 164% from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2021.”

This jump in pay results in significant profits for travel nurse staffing agencies, prompting some hospital administrators and lawmakers to ask Congress to step in. During COVID, many hospital administrators experienced a severe dwindling in profits and are now arguing that nursing staff agencies are exploiting the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Hospital Association (AHA) notified the Federal Trade Commission of their concerns over the potential price gouging as far back as January of 2021. Recently, the AHA and other lawmakers have urged further federal intervention as travel nursing costs continue to rise.

While hospital administrators are arguing that staffing agencies are exploiting the pandemic, staffing agencies maintain that healthcare facilities are paying higher prices simply due to an increase in demand. At the same time, nurses argue that the staffing shortage crisis could have been avoided in the first place had administrators improved working conditions and paid staff nurses better from the start.

Where do healthcare systems go from here?

The answer is not simple. While it is easy to suggest that healthcare administrators simply improve working conditions and raise salaries for staff nurses, in practice, this can be very difficult to achieve. As noted by the AHA in a report from September of 2021, many hospitals are experiencing negative margins in the wake of the COVID pandemic. The projected loss for hospitals nationwide is “an estimated $54 billion in net income over the course of the year, even taking into account federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding from last year.”

Still, even with the challenges facing them, many hospitals and healthcare systems are attempting to increase pay for staff nurses. Additionally, hospitals are looking at how else they can entice staff to remain in their positions with some healthcare systems offering flexible scheduling for a better work/life balance and counseling services to tend to staff’s mental health. While the current staff nursing shortage does not appear to be eliminated anytime soon, healthcare systems are working to improve working conditions and pay to maintain current staff nursing positions. 

Cost-Effective Recruiting Techniques


Cost-Effective Recruiting Techniques

Doctor working with laptop computer and writing on paperwork. Hospital background.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining sufficient staffing levels to produce high-quality and consistent patient care was something that left many healthcare systems concerned about their bottom line. With the ever-rising shortage of providers and nursing salaries that continue to rise, it may feel virtually impossible to cut staffing costs while continuing to maintain satisfactory levels of patient care. 

While the challenges facing those charged with staffing healthcare systems are great, there are ways to reduce staffing costs without compromising patient care. Several methods that can help healthcare systems continue to provide care to patients while reducing staffing costs include:

  • Reducing Turnover Rate
  • Reducing Overtime Work
  • Use Vendor Management Systems

Reduce Employee Turnover

Not only does turnover impact patient care, but it also has a direct impact on the bottom line of a healthcare system. In 2021, NSI Nursing Solutions Inc. surveyed more than 3,000 hospitals regarding staffing and RN retention rates. According to the findings published in an annual report, hospitals experienced an 18.7% turnover rate for registered nurses, which is an increase of 2.8% over the previous year. 

As the NSI Nursing Solutions Inc. report notes, “the cost of turnover can have a profound impact on diminishing hospital margins and needs to be managed.” Onboarding new employees not only is costly but also requires time that could better be utilized for patient care or other tasks. Therefore, retaining competent staff becomes an important strategy to reducing overall staffing costs. To boost employee retention it’s important for healthcare systems to begin with a comprehensive and thorough hiring process. This process needs to:

  • Identify the specific qualities desired of the candidates
  • Develop an effective recruitment plan
  • Use interview best practices to help identify candidates who meet desired qualities

Once employees have been hired, it’s important to keep them. In healthcare, one of the biggest challenges for employee retention is combatting employee burnout. This is a challenge that has only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses often cite issues like lack of life/work balance, poor organizational culture, and increased demand for administrative tasks as reasons for fatigue and burnout.

To effectively maintain staff and reduce turnover rate, it’s important to implement strategies designed to help your employees cope with work-related stressors. Keeping communication between management and staff open regarding workplace challenges, problems, changes, or opportunities is crucial in staff retention. Other strategies could include things such as more flexible scheduling, career development support, and a workplace that focuses on continuing education for staff.

Reduce Overtime Work

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor, “…unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.” HealthAffrais, a peer-reviewed journal, published an article that reviewed logbooks from nearly 400 hospitals. Out of 5,317 logged work shifts, 40% went over 12 hours. 

Not only does overtime work cost more in wages, but it also significantly increases employee burnout rate and the likelihood that mistakes are made during care. Monitoring employee time and overtime closely can be an effective way to identify opportunities for scheduling more efficiently. 

Institutions looking to reduce overtime can do so by using digital timesheets to track staff time, putting a cap on hours worked and using overtime rotations. Some software will provide management with an automatic notice when an employee has exceeded their hours, helping to identify issues immediately. If changes are made to the overtime policy, it is imperative to communicate all changes to staff. Lastly, an overtime rotation can be a way to help all employees take advantage of extra pay without burnout from constantly having to work additional hours.

Use Vendor Management Systems

Unfortunately, the trend of provider shortages is expected to increase for the foreseeable future. With shortages, it can be difficult to independently maintain adequate staffing levels. Turning to vendor management systems can be an incredibly cost-effective way to keep positions filled and ensure proper patient care. 

In healthcare systems, particularly given the current level of provider shortages, temporary employees are often required. At VMS Solution, we offer a number of advantages for our clients. With a vendor-neutral vendor management system, temporary healthcare staffing becomes an easier and more efficient process. VMS Solution simplifies healthcare staffing for multiple healthcare systems and ensures patients receive high-quality, consistent care by streamlining the workflow and workforce.

Maintaining the standard of patient care and saving money on staffing is not an easy task, but one that is manageable with the right resources. Through technology, such as digital timesheet software, vendor management systems, and a focus on employee retention, it is possible to give patients the care they deserve without negatively affecting your bottom line.

Challenges Facing Correctional Healthcare Recruiters


Challenges Facing Correctional Healthcare Recruiters

Physician having a conversation with a patient while taking blood pressure.

According to Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, jails receive 13 million admissions each year, and “many of these individuals experience serious medical and mental health problems. Half of jail inmates and prisoners have a chronic health condition. Nearly two-thirds of jail inmates meet clinical criteria for substance abuse or dependence, and more than 40 percent have a history of a mental health problem.” Coupled with the fact that incarceration exacerbates mental health issues for many, the importance of quality correctional healthcare cannot be underestimated.

The National Institute of Corrections continues, saying “many health problems that plague our society plague the corrections industry at an even greater rate; increasing demand for healthcare services for the mentally ill, substance abuse, suicide prevention, and care for the elderly to name a few are placing greater demands on an already overworked system.”

With the correctional industry in dire need of healthcare professionals, an examination of the challenges facing correctional healthcare recruiters and employees is necessary. Below, take a look at what specific challenges recruiters face when staffing healthcare professionals in a correctional facility, and what can be done to mitigate the issue.

What Positions are Needed in Correctional Healthcare?

As the National Institute of Corrections mentions, health problems that occur in society are the same health problems that occur in correctional institutions. For this reason, correctional healthcare requires multidisciplinary teams of individuals.

California Correctional Health Services (CCHCS) is an organization whose mission, according to their website, provides correctional healthcare that includes medical, dental, and mental health services to all of California’s incarcerated individuals statewide.

Like every other correctional healthcare system in the country, the goal of all healthcare professionals working with the CCHCS as stated on the organization’s website is to “enhance public safety and promote successful community reintegration through education, treatment, and active participation in rehabilitative and restorative justice programs.”

Correctional healthcare systems require a large network of nurses, primary care providers, dentists, mental health professionals, medical assistants, and other staff required in any other healthcare setting.

Why is it Hard to Find Correctional Healthcare Recruiters?

As many recruiters know, finding qualified and willing healthcare workers for placement in the correctional healthcare system is not an easy task. Many factors influence this difficulty, perhaps not least is the stigma associated with the correctional industry.

  • Personal Factors: Aside from the potential stigma attached to the correctional industry, one of the most frequent concerns healthcare workers express regarding working in the correctional industry is a fear for their safety. Caring for individuals who may be mentally ill, violent, or have substance use problems can be difficult in any setting, but the fear for safety is increased when these individuals are already incarcerated.
  • Location Factors: In many areas of the country, correctional institutions are located in more remote areas. If a significant commute is required for daily work, it can be a deterrent to attracting talent.
  • Economical Factors: It would be great for recruiters if the answer to these challenges was a simple increase in wages. However, many systems in the correctional industry are severely limited by budgetary constraints. As funding for correctional institutions decreases, so does the allocated budget for healthcare professionals. With provider shortages in many disciplines across the nation, specifically mental health, and the availability of positions in more desirable settings (urban areas with greater infrastructure than many of the remote locations where institutions are located) finding qualified professionals for correctional healthcare becomes increasingly difficult.

How Can Recruiters Attract Correctional Healthcare Candidates?

According to the National Institute of Corrections, multiple organizations are working to improve correctional healthcare and the positions available within these systems.

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care is one such organization. As stated on the NCCHC website, this organization’s mission “is to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities.” To achieve this, the NCCHC establishes standards for health services, conducts educational conferences, and offers certifications for correctional health professionals. Health, mental health, law, and corrections all have major national organizations working with the NCCHC “to create a robust, multidisciplinary governing structure that reflects the complexities of correctional healthcare.”

Organizations like the NCCHC and the Community Oriented Correctional Health Services can be helpful resources in attracting talent to correctional healthcare. Previous measures like increasing salaries for correctional healthcare workers were met with success, but there must be more.

One of the most effective tools a recruiter can use is education. It’s important for prospective correctional healthcare workers to fully understand the position and environment for which they are applying. There are a number of resources available for educational purposes and working with the greater healthcare community is an invaluable tool when it comes to correctional healthcare placement.

While correctional healthcare is a challenging vocation, it’s also one that is incredibly rewarding for dedicated workers. Personal satisfaction in helping those who desperately need it is just one of the benefits correctional healthcare workers receive from their positions. In addition to being a satisfying career that gives individuals a strong sense of purpose, correctional healthcare can be very financially rewarding for registry workers.

Addressing the Shortage of Mental Health Care Providers


Addressing the Shortage of Mental Health Care Providers

Image of two women sitting across from each other, one woman writing with a pen.

Following a tumultuous few years living with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people living in the United States are seeking mental health care than ever. Whether the pandemic exacerbated underlying mental health conditions or brought on new symptoms, the fact is that the nation is in dire need of mental health services. In fact, the United States Census Bureau reports that 30% of adults in the country have symptoms consistent with a depression or anxiety diagnosis.

How Many People are Affected by the Mental Health Care Provider Shortage?

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 135 million people in the U.S. are living in areas with a shortage of mental health care providers. Primarily rural areas are affected, though there are a number of states, including California, with shortages in suburban and urban areas.

Regarding sections of the population that are struggling with the shortage of mental health care providers, the most greatly affected individuals are those with substance use disorders.

What are Widespread Effects of the Mental Health Care Provider Shortage?

Beyond the fact that people who are unable to receive treatment must deal with the consequences of mental illness, the disease burden of mental health and substance use disorders is high. In 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that the disease burden of mental health and substance use disorders was higher than any other medical condition.

Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine explains why a provider shortage is detrimental to not only those who need treatment but to entire communities. “Our whole society is affected by untreated mental illness. It affects people’s ability to work, build relationships, and contribute to their communities.”

What is the Future of Mental Health Care in the United States?

While age is a factor considered in the current nurse exodus, the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the retirement of many nurses across the country due in large part to stress and burnout. Nursing is difficult both physically and mentally, and the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these issues. Stress, causing a toll on the mental health of nurses, and overall burnout among nurses are major contributing factors to nurses choosing to leave staff positions in favor of contract/travel nursing.

According to a poll published by Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation, “roughly three in 10 healthcare workers have weighed leaving their profession. More than half are burned out. And about six in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.” A significant shortage of nursing professionals results in a higher patient-to-nurse ratio.

A heavier patient load combined with other administrative duties and other daily tasks leads nurses to burn out more quickly.

What is Being Done About the Shortage?

California, like so many states, is struggling to provide the required resources for those seeking mental health care. Unfortunately, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, the shortage is only expected to increase through the year 2025.

What can be Done?

One way that the healthcare industry has started to address the shortage is to aggressively recruit talent. Providing a strong culture of mentoring, UNMC has had great success in increasing the number of students who choose psychiatry. Since 2013, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) has more than doubled the number of students choosing psychiatry. The school has been able to do this by providing exceptional education and high-quality medical school psychiatry clinical rotation.

In addition to recruiting students, the National Council for Wellbeing published a report encouraging the use of technology in mental health care. During the pandemic, many providers began offering telehealth services, allowing patients to receive treatment from their homes via video calls. This increased access for many people living in the United States and could be a beneficial tool for providers.

Another way that the National Council for Wellbeing suggests increasing access to mental health services is to make use of text messaging and apps, as timely service is crucial to patients in need. Open access scheduling is also a recommendation. Open access scheduling covers a variety of scheduling techniques including keeping a certain number of appointments open and creating blocks of time that are completely unscheduled.

The mental health crisis shows no signs of slowing down, and the shortage of providers is projected to grow. What are some ways your practice is attempting to address the provider shortage? What emerging technologies do you think would be beneficial in increasing access to mental health services.

The 3 Essential Questions for Every Locum Tenens Screening


The 3 Essential Questions for Every Locum Tenens Screening

Qualifications, availability, and references: crucial locum tenens screening questions.

Locum tenens staffing is more popular than ever, and its rise in prominence doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.  In 2014, 91% of healthcare facilities surveyed by AMN Healthcare reported using locum tenens providers in some capacity during the last year.

Whether the opening is for a single day, or for several months, more and more employers are realizing just how easy locum tenens staffing can be.


In the aforementioned survey, 81.1% of employers believed that the locum tenens providers that they hired were worth the cost. In order to achieve these levels of satisfaction, staffing agencies are responsible for properly screening their providers to verify that they’re the right fit for each assignment.

In order to be certain that their candidates are ideal providers for the position, there are three questions that vendors need to consider during every screening.


Be certain that the dates of the assignment are correct, and that the provider understands the required hours, the length of their contracted assignment, and the availability requirements associated with their prospective position.

The provider may need to be flexible, depending on the type of assignment, so verify that they’re aware of every shift they may be required to work. It reflects poorly on an agency when a facility is left without help because a provider was not aware of the availability requirements for their position.


If the provider can’t perform the basic functions of a job, or doesn’t have the required experience, going any further with the prescreening is a waste of both parties’ time. Make sure that the facility has made the position’s requirements very clear, so that it can be easily decided whether or not the provider meets them.

Given that the employment can be for a very short amount of time, facilities need to be sure that the providers that they’re hiring on don’t require additional, basic training, and are competent in their field.


Facilities need to know that a candidate has completed any required trainings, and has all of the licenses that are legally required to perform their duties. Most agencies will keep the basic documents on file for each of their candidates, so that they can quickly send their candidate’s file out once they’ve screened them.

It is the vendor’s responsibility to look over the provider’s credentials and to ensure that every candidate that they submit is licensed, properly trained, and experienced in their prospective job classification.


Locum tenens staffing is a thriving industry and–while some positions will require additional screening–with these three, simple questions it will be easy to ensure that screenings are done efficiently and thoroughly.

Do you have any tips and tricks for locum tenens screening? Comment below or continue the conversation on our LinkedIn page.

If you have providers to screen, but no orders to fill, contact Management Solution to join our team of vendors and view our open orders. Click here to learn more.

If you’re a provider looking to be screened for a position, Management Solution would be happy to put you in touch with an agency that will work for you. Click here to learn more.

Why We Believe In (True) Vendor Neutrality: 4 Benefits For All Parties Involved


Why We Believe In (True) Vendor Neutrality: 4 Benefits For All Parties Involved

Visual representation of a vendor ecosystem with one vendor standing apart.

The debate over vendor neutrality has raged on for more than a decade within the world of contingent staffing, with no clear end in sight. One reason for the length of this debate is likely the various definitions and applications of the word “neutrality” within the industry.

So what exactly does “vendor neutrality” mean here?


Vendor neutrality means taking a completely neutral and unbiased approach to operations, distribution of orders, billing, and communication– which is almost always done through a web-based system.

Some claim that vendor management can never be truly neutral, and many vendor management companies are doing everything they can to affirm these critical beliefs. While many organizations tout vendor neutrality, favoritism and flexibility often find their way into these same organizations’ practices.

Some companies even go so far as to use affiliated or sub-vendors–channeling the majority of their business to these companies and thus diluting their quality control and profits.


The improved quality of service that can be provided through a truly vendor-neutral approach is sure to build better business relationships, encourage longer-lasting contracts, as well as generate more long-term profit for all participants.

Along with these long-term benefits, all parties involved can look forward to the three, following day-to-day benefits, amongst many others:


In a vendor-neutral system, the competition that often takes place between the vendors and the vendor management company is neutralized.

Rather than being demoralized by constantly submitting qualified candidates, only to be beaten out by mediocre providers from “preferred vendors”, vendors in this system know that submitting qualified candidates as quickly as possible is the best way to have their candidates selected.

True vendor neutrality also means that vendors are not allowed to continually submit sub-par providers under the cover or excuse of a lower rate. These types of providers will be flagged, and not rehired. Vendors that continually submit these types of clients will likely lose their contract.


Rather than haggling with “preferred” vendors and providers about rates and availability while worthwhile candidates go unnoticed, vendor neutrality keeps all vendors highly motivated to submit valid providers as quickly as possible.

The first-come-first-serve basis on which candidates are screened and evaluated is crucial in motivating vendors to stay up-to-date on all new orders and openings. Competition for these positions inevitably breeds motivation amongst vendors.


Imagine one point of contact for all of the locations that you’re staffing, or all of the agencies that provide staff to; now imagine that they’re available 24 hours a day. The saved man-hours that this point of contact would grant you would already cover said contact’s fee.

Having one, unbiased point of contact for all aspects of staffing streamlines the communication process; true vendor neutrality ensures that said communication is equally available to all parties, and that there are no hidden motives behind it.


Without the hassle of rate negotiation and different billing processes for different vendors, a truly vendor-neutral organization is able to bill any number of vendors accurately and efficiently.

Gone are the days of tracking down different rates, given to different vendors for the same service. True vendor neutrality eases the minds of all involved by assuring them that their billing is not only fair, but accurate.


Let us know in the comments below, or continue the discussion on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages. How has your experience influenced your stance?

For more information on how Management Solution operates in a truly vendor-neutral manner, click here.