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As a healthcare staffer, it’s practically inevitable that you have staffing gaps to fill, and you may decide to cover positions with temporary travel LPNs and RNs. But these positions are unique in long-term care. How can you onboard travel nurses successfully—and avoid prohibitive staffing costs by reducing your need for temporary positions? We’ll explore the makings of a successful travel nurse program. 

The Role of Travel Nurses in Long-Term Care

Travel LPNS and RNs in long-term care are very different from travel nurses in hospital settings. Hospital travel nurses may be filling more specialized roles (and, as a result, earning more money). The long-term care industry, meanwhile, often appeals to travel LPNs and RNs who are looking for more flexibility than hospitals can offer. 

Depending on your setting and the roles you’re hiring for, travel nurses can be extremely cost-prohibitive. The ideal solution is attracting top candidates to join your business permanently—but sometimes, temporary roles are still necessary. 

Let’s review what long-term care owners and operators should prioritize when hiring travel LPNs and RNs. 

Reducing Time-to-Hire With the Right Technology

The single best thing you can do for your staffing in post-acute care is to hire faster. Long-term care’s talent shortage means businesses are courting the same candidates, and your success with a particular applicant depends on being the first employer to make an offer. An end-to-end platform, like Apploi, can cut down on your days-to-hire by 71%. By integrating staffing tools that handle candidate sourcing, screening, and onboarding, you can be the first business to reach top talent. That means healthier staffing, more permanent workers, and a reduced need for temporary roles. 

Preparing Your Travel Nurses

If you do need to hire temporary staff, it’s worth your time to make sure travel LPNs and RNs are properly trained. This isn’t just about making sure nurses know your protocols and best practices. It also involves helping temporary nurses feel comfortable asking questions or requesting support.

The more time you can spare to prepare nurses, the more you reduce the chances that they will show up with no clue who to talk to and no administrative support available to help them. The facility should ensure that agency nurses are properly trained in and added to the EMR, payroll, and time and attendance systems. 

If a travel or agency nurse is working a night or weekend shift, make sure the nurse on call is aware of their name, schedule, and any other important information needed to properly set up the travel nurse in their system. Travel nurses should also know where to take their questions. Better-trained nurses provide more competent care and an improved patient experience.

Social and Cultural Integration

If a nurse is going to be with your business for more than a few days, it’s worth the effort to integrate them into the facility. Travel LPNs and RNs who feel at home have the chance to integrate socially and are less likely to hold back their questions and make errors. By making friends, nurses create the sense of community and teamwork that’s so vital for your business’s success.

A positive social environment will also help your permanent staff feel comfortable, secure, and valued while temporary staff share their workplace. The presence of temporary workers can feel threatening to full-time employees, especially if travel nurses are earning substantially more. Try to cut down on potential resentment by celebrating your permanent staff and supporting social bonds through events, buddy programs, and a warm culture. 

Facility Rankings and Medicare Reimbursement

There are a couple of reasons to put temporary workers on your payroll. For one thing, being on payrolls offers better stability for your workers. But from the perspective of HR and management, you’re also setting yourself up for an easier time with facility rankings and Medicare reimbursement. 

By keeping travel LPNs and RNs on your payroll as long as possible, you’ll look better on your  PBJ reporting, which may result in a higher state ranking for your facility. You also may be able to access Medicare reimbursements by providing better staff stability. In the end, that gives you more funding, more freedom, and a better reputation with patients and investors. 

Employee Harmony and Higher Retention Rates

Harmony between coworkers is important for both your business and your employees’ satisfaction. And this satisfaction isn’t just anecdotal. It’s actually vital for your retention rate. Globally, 92% of employees say that their daily experience at work is one of their top priorities in a job. And other workers are a huge part of daily experience. 

In long-term care, your staffing success depends on your culture and team atmosphere. You need a welcoming environment to make sure nurses and other workers are happy enough to stick around. Cooperation happens when employees get along, understand the value of everyone’s work, and feel united by a shared goal. That’s easier to accomplish with permanent employees than temporary ones—but that’s exactly why you should spend time folding travel nurses into your culture and engaging them in your mission. 

Better Healthcare Staffing With Apploi

Whether you’re hiring for permanent or temporary roles, Apploi is here to simplify your healthcare staffing. We help employers source candidates, streamline hiring, and onboard new recruits. We know that there aren’t enough licenses out there to fill every opening in healthcare, so we focus on helping our customers find the best candidates, ahead of the competition. 

Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end talent management solution.

Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.