March 15, 2023

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THIS WEEK'S ARTICLES

The Art of the Reverse Job Interview

No Infection Preventionist on Staff? Get Outside Help

Staffing Challenges Continue in 2023 - Sponsored Content

Recruiting Great People Under Difficult Circumstances

Are Concierge Nurses Right for Your ASC?

 


The Art of the Reverse Job Interview

Instead of expecting prospective nurses to sell you on why they’re a great hire, try flipping the script.

Reverse interviewTRADING PLACES In a tight labor market, some ASCs are embracing the strategy of selling themselves to solid candidates, rather than the other way around.

With the healthcare industry in the throes of a nationwide staffing crisis, nurses and techs have more power than ever over where they hang their scrubs. Savvy facilities have adapted to this dynamic by giving their hiring practices a major overhaul. One increasingly used strategy is to “screen in” talent by virtually switching places with candidates that facilities want to bring on board.

“I’ve learned the common recruiting practice of ‘screening out’ or eliminating candidates strictly based on their resume and experience, without allowing them to interview, is no longer the most advantageous way to hire,” says Andréa Venezio, CEO of Sapphire Health Group in Lewisville, Texas. “In today’s job market, you’ll have much more luck ‘screening in’ the right staff.”

She says that because jobseekers currently have such freedom of choice in finding their ideal place to work, ASC leaders and hiring managers are best served by using the interview process not as a way to filter out candidates, but as a means of showing them exactly why they should choose your facility over their many other options.

Ms. Venezio says one simple question goes a long way toward screening in a candidate: “Where was the best place you’ve worked and why did you enjoy working there?” The response will give you a clearer picture of the candidate’s ideal working environment, which you can use to offer examples of how your facility’s culture matches what they desire.

Ms. Venezio says that painting a specific picture of the new job gives the candidate the ability to see themselves in that role. “By telling them how their life would look working at your facility, they’ll be more likely to visualize that future themselves,” she says.

No Infection Preventionist on Staff? Get Outside Help

Consultants can assist in maintaining the health and safety of your patients and staff.

Infection preventionTHIRD-PARTY VIEW Contracting an outside infection prevention consultant is an intriguing option for ASCs who can’t hire one full time.

Infection preventionists are invaluable resources for outpatient surgery centers, but many centers simply don’t have the budget to hire one full-time. In the interest of safe patient care, some have contracted infection preventionists as part-time consultants to fill in the gaps.

Nicole Christ, RN, managing director of Orange County Digestive Center in Irvine, Calif., did just that. “Our endoscopy center opened in December 2019, a few months before COVID-19 hit,” she says. “My head was spinning not only from trying to run a brand-new facility, but from rapidly changing infection prevention protocols issued by state and federal governments.”

So Ms. Christ called on an infection preventionist with whom she had previously worked to ask if she wanted to moonlight at the center as a part-time consultant. She agreed, and Ms. Christ says she has become indispensable in several ways:

Risk evaluations. “The consultant handles our annual infection control risk assessments for requirements such as the management of aerosolized transmissible diseases,” says Ms. Christ.

Performance audits. Each quarter, the consultant conducts a thorough infection control audit to ensure the facility’s daily practices are up to speed. “She watches our entire perioperative process for about an hour, starting with observing how pre-op nurses perform hand hygiene and start IVs,” says Ms. Christ. “In procedure rooms, she looks for cross-contamination issues and makes sure staff keep spaces clean, wipe down surfaces adequately between procedures and properly dispose of soiled items. She observes the entire flexible endoscope reprocessing cycle and checks the recovery room to make sure nurses are wearing proper PPE.”

Annual reviews. “The consultant conducts yearly inspections that include watching the environmental services crew clean the facility at night,” says Ms. Christ. She then reviews the facility’s environmental cleaning and disinfection policy with the team and educates them on contact times for various disinfectants and other cleaning-related topics.

Employee health. The consultant helps staff adhere to vaccine schedules, making sure they are up to date on their required shots upon being hired and remain current throughout their employment.

Ms. Christ’s experience shows how a pair of educated and experienced outside eyes can affordably evaluate the safety of your center in the interest of keeping patients and staff safer from infections.

Staffing Challenges Continue in 2023
Sponsored Content

The healthcare workforce faces growing supply-demand challenges.

Staffing

Ambulatory surgery centers and outpatient centers have consistently faced challenges finding and retaining surgical teams, including nursing staff and Operating Room (OR) leaders. However, today’s workforce challenges are nearing crisis levels and, if not addressed, could hinder the much-needed growth of these facilities. Many of these staffing complexities stem from the growing supply-demand gaps in the healthcare workforce.

The industry faces increased patient demand for several reasons. For one, the aging U.S. population soon is expected to exceed the number of nurses available. In fact, global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. projects a deficit of 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025.

On top of that, the ambulatory surgery market itself is growing as new procedures have been introduced, and case volume is predicted to increase in a variety of specialties. For example, spine and orthopedic procedures are expected to see substantial growth in the ambulatory space as advancements have enabled more complex, higher-acuity cases to be handled in facilities outside of a traditional hospital campus.

While the need for both specialized procedures and facilities continues to grow, the number of qualified healthcare professionals needed to safely care for patients and staff at these facilities continues to dwindle. There is not only a gap between supply and demand, but a gap that is increasingly widening.

The reality is that good nursing staff and OR leaders were always hard to find, but in recent years, experienced nurses have retired in larger volumes, and facilities across the nation have struggled to find replacements while also retaining existing staff.

Many outpatient facilities – particularly smaller freestanding ASCs – are having a hard time competing with the larger health systems in terms of retention. Expert Ann Geier, MS, RN CNOR(E), CASCAs, advises leaders to think carefully about a potential employee’s motivation to join your team.

According to her, “Savvy facility leaders pull in strong candidates by selling the culture of ASC life and the many intangible benefits of the job. For instance, marketing is often geared toward stressing the ‘family work environment’ of a small setting that creates a sense of unity, emphasizing that staff has a voice in the overall business decisions and hammering home the invaluable benefits of no-call, weekend or holiday scheduling.”

Leaders also will need to “think outside the box” to plan for staffing needs as the difficult climate continues in the coming months and years. That can mean getting involved in local nursing programs, or partnering with staffing organizations, like Soliant, who can help to fill the gaps quickly with a large, national network of qualified, specialized candidates.

This can supplement the organization’s own recruitment and retention strategies. One way to keep staff on board is to offer individualized education and training to upgrade skills – and then offer opportunities for growth and more responsibilities.

Every facility is unique, but forward-thinking leaders who are willing to invest in recruiting, retaining and planning for the career growth of their team members have a much better chance of keeping them engaged and at the organization.

As Ann Geier notes, “As difficult as the climate is right now, leaders can overcome the many challenges related to today’s staffing shortage. Remember, we’re in a long-term situation, and we must be able to plan and cope with unforeseen circumstances. That’s not an easy thing to do. We cannot only react. We need to be prepared.”

For more information on staffing, please visit January 2023: Focus on Staffing | Outpatient Surgery Magazine (aorn.org).

Note: For more information please go to soliant.com/staffing-services/nurse-staffing-agency

Recruiting Great People Under Difficult Circumstances

Facility leaders must be nimble and creative to combat the staffing shortage.

The pandemic, increased patient demand, a shifting economy and an aging population have combined to create an unprecedented staffing crisis for healthcare facilities. Ann Geier, MS, RN, CNOR(E), CASC, chief nursing officer for Ambulatory Healthcare Strategies, says the industry faces a shortage of 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025 unless action is taken.

”Leaders can’t simply react to this industrywide staffing crisis,” says Ms. Geier. “We need to actively prepare for it and take steps to prevent the worst of the current shortage from impacting the quality care patients have come to expect from us. In many cases, the traditional ways of finding candidates simply aren’t working today.”

With that in mind, Ms. Geier recently polled 25 colleagues, ranging from administrators to recruiters and consultants, about unique or unusual recruiting strategies that have proven successful for ASCs on the hunt for high-quality staff. Here are some of the strategies she learned that various ASCs are employing:

  • Forming relationships with local schools
  • Reaching out to former applicants
  • Partnering with a staffing agency
  • Offering employee referrals
  • Soliciting the names of staff who work 12-hour shifts at local and regional hospitals
  • Reaching out to the local Chamber of Commerce
  • Creating a website exclusively for recruiting purposes.
  • Inviting potential candidates to shadow existing employees
  • Offering 8-, 9- or 10-hour shifts to offer increased flexibility to candidates
  • Considering four-day workweeks

Ms. Geier encourages ASCs to hire med-surg nurses whenever possible and cross-train them because of their high level of versatility. She also notes that although many ASCs can’t compete with larger health systems in terms of packages, they should realize that for many candidates, money isn’t their sole motivator. She says savvy facility leaders pull in strong candidates by selling the culture of ASC life and the intangible benefits that come with it. “Stress the ‘family work environment’ of a small setting that creates a sense of unity,” she says. “Emphasize that staff have a voice in overall business decisions and hammer home the invaluable benefits of no-call, weekend or holiday scheduling.” Another tip to keep your pool of candidates populated: Always keep qualified applications on file.

“Bottom line, in today’s staffing environment, leaders need to think outside the box to find the right applicants and be willing to try multiple tactics, many of which won’t ultimately pan out, to find out what works for their unique facility,” says Ms. Geier.

Are Concierge Nurses Right for Your ASC?

Value-add service extends professional, personalized post-op care to patients recovering at home.

For patients who just underwent procedures at ASCs and who can afford the additional expense, concierge nurses provide a wide array of much-needed services that traditional home health agencies simply cannot provide. A growing number of ASCs are offering these services as value-adds, with the added incentive that they could boost their patient satisfaction scores.

“Collaborating with a postoperative concierge nursing service presents a unique partnership opportunity for patients to receive high-quality care after they leave your facility,” says Chrissy Pacheco, MSN, RN, who serves as the CEO of such a service with locations in Arizona and Utah. “It’s a chance to garner word-of-mouth marketing about the standout care you provide.”

Concierge nurses provide standard post-op care, including assessing patients’ pain levels, checking for bleeding and postoperative nausea and vomiting, taking vital signs and assisting with ambulation. These services are provided either at the patients’ homes or in the hotel rooms and Airbnbs of patients who traveled for their surgeries.

Because concierge nurses typically don’t contract with insurance companies, they are free to provide services such as transportation to and from surgical centers, light shopping, prescription pick-up, meal prep, home management, companionship and patient advocacy. In some cases, the nurses visit patients’ homes to check for potential fall hazards and ensure bathing facilities are appropriate. They can even attend post-op visits to ensure no important information is missed and that the patient fully understands the plan going forward.

These services are particularly timely, as patients with high insurance premiums are often unsatisfied with the home health services they receive, while reimbursements to providers are tied to patient satisfaction scores in value-based care models.

“Freestanding outpatient surgical facilities reap the benefits of this type of service because it aids in keeping their schedules running more efficiently, prevents cancellations, saves money and leads to greater staff and patient satisfaction levels,” says Ms. Pacheco. “Concierge providers improve the health and recovery of patients by working alongside surgeons to provide oversight and coordination of care, giving both patients and family members peace of mind. The ultimate goal is to continue the gold standard of care patients receive from their surgeons to ensure they have the best possible outcomes.” OSM

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