As pressure to control costs mounts, a growing number of healthcare recruiters are discovering the value that locum tenens clinicians can bring to their organizations. Highly trained locum tenens clinicians deliver necessary post-surgical follow-up care that enables surgeons to continue to operate on patients. They also fill in on an as-needed basis when physicians are on leave, preventing gaps in care and revenue loss.
By providing well-needed relief to hospital staff physicians, clinical specialists help existing health care providers maintain the work-life balance they need and deserve. Below is a look at some of the top challenges facing healthcare systems and six benefits of hiring locum tenens clinicians.
What are some of the top challenges facing healthcare recruiters?
Before diving into the many reasons to hire locum tenens clinicians, it’s helpful to understand the obstacles healthcare recruiters strive to overcome. Here are some of the critical challenges recruiters are currently facing:
- Provider burnout: Healthcare providers struggle to meet community and employers’ demands, and burnout is surging as providers are unable to live balanced lives. Reports indicate that over 40 percent of providers are experiencing burnout, with rates among female physicians exceeding 50 percent.
- Budget and funding constraints: As funding reductions loom, healthcare CFOs quickly recognize the need to change their hiring and spending habits. The traditional approach of department-based hiring has proven to be costly and inefficient. Finally, onboarding costs are higher than ever, outlining the need to centralize clinician hiring.
- A diminished pool of medical doctors: According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States is projected to have a shortage of physicians that could exceed 121,000 by 2032. When combined with an aging population, this shortage is especially concerning.
- Competition from surgery center recruiters: Surgery center owners and operators frequently attempt to lure full-time hospital clinicians away from large healthcare systems. Offers typically include attractive employment contracts and the promise of a lower-stress work environment.
What are the benefits of hiring a locum tenens clinician?
Healthcare recruiters face a host of complex barriers to overcome. Simultaneously, the focus on cost containment continues to grow, highlighting the need for affordable staffing solutions. In recent years, locum tenens clinicians have emerged as a cost-effective means of boosting revenue without compromising quality or continuity of care. Below are six ways hiring locum tenens clinicians can benefit your healthcare organization.
1. Create a work-life balance for existing clinicians
“Health care providers are obviously feeling the strain of working under the extremely challenging conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that providers and patients alike are struggling to maintain their mental health and a sustainable work-life balance.”Kristof Stremikis, California Health Care Foundation
Maintaining a work-life balance is a struggle for many health care providers. But since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving a balanced lifestyle has become more difficult than ever for overworked clinicians. By providing health care services when needed, locum tenens clinicians deliver some welcome relief to providers who have been stretched thin and overworked to ensure patient needs are met.
2. Cover seasonal demands or extended hours
Seasonal variation in the demand for health care services is alive and well. Demand for services is often higher toward the end of the calendar year and during the respiratory season, which can extend through the end of the first quarter of the year. Locum tenens clinicians can play a vital role in ensuring that hospitals have sufficient provider coverage to ensure all patient needs are addressed.
3. Reduce mistakes
Even the most talented healthcare professionals in the world make mistakes. But they are especially likely to occur when providers are burned out or not sufficiently rested. By filling in for overworked providers, locum tenens clinicians help ensure that all patients receive care from fresh, well-rested providers.
4. Sub for a sick clinician
No doctor, nurse, or healthcare specialist is immune to illness or injury. To properly recover and prevent the spread of infection, it’s sometimes necessary to take time off work. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t call in sick when they should because they feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to ensure patients receive care. With locum tenens clinicians available to fill in, healthcare providers can recover at home knowing patients will receive the care they need.
5. Fill in for retiring clinicians
Just as no clinician is immune from illness or injury, no healthcare system can escape the inevitability of retirement among talented clinicians. The impact of a retirement announcement can be incredibly challenging if it was unexpected or if there is no detailed staffing strategy in place. A locum tenens partnership helps ensure that the healthcare system has a qualified pool of clinicians ready to fill in for retiring staff.
6. Provide opportunities for permanent hires
When locum tenens clinicians fill in for a recently retired employee or sick clinician, they give hiring managers a good glimpse of their capabilities and ability to mesh with a hospital’s team. Those who perform well often become candidates for permanent full-time employment. At the same time, locum tenens clinicians can evaluate the healthcare system’s work culture to determine whether it is a good long-term fit.
What step can you take today to begin controlling staffing costs?
With VISTA Select, you can monitor and streamline processes, standardize invoicing, pull reports in real-time, and manage staffing needs. Our comprehensive Workforce Optimization Review gives you the information you need to manage clinician burnout and financial roadblocks proactively. You can use a review to optimize your staffing and deploy short-term and long-term staffing strategies.
The benefits of hiring locum tenens clinicians are becoming too enticing to ignore. In addition to driving additional revenue to healthcare systems, a locum tenens partnership can help staff physicians focus on critical patient needs while preventing gaps in routine clinical care.
To put your healthcare system on the path to financial success, we invite you to contact a VISTA expert today. Our team of staffing experts has the tools and resources your organization needs to contain hiring costs and transform your healthcare system into a model of staffing excellence. We look forward to helping your system achieve its staffing goals!