Nurse outside looking at phone

Amidst the Great Resignation across the US, the nursing shortage continues to grow and strain healthcare workers and hospital resources. More and more Americans, and especially nurses, are exiting the traditional workforce to gain more control over their schedules and achieve work-life balance through gig economy jobs. Last year alone, the number of independent workers increased 34% – that's over 13 million new gig workers in the US.

With the growing demand for healthcare facilities to achieve and maintain suitable staffing levels, leveraging the gig economy may be just what they need for long-term staffing stability.

What Is a Gig Economy?

A Gig Economy is a labor market that largely consists of short-term contracts, part-time, freelance work, or "gig work". In simple terms, it’s flexible, temporary work as opposed to full-time, permanent employment. It often results in low-cost, high-efficiency services. There’s a wide range of positions that can fall under the category of a gig job. The work can range from Uber driving or delivery to freelance graphic design projects—but it can also mean serving as an on-demand healthcare professional.

The Gig Workforce in Healthcare

To be able to get a side gig or fully embrace gig work to make a living, gig workers must often be technologically savvy. In most cases, gig positions require the worker to support or service a client through an online platform. In healthcare, that can mean nurses using a nurse staffing app to find shift work in their area that meets their scheduling needs and aligns with their credentials.

But not all nurse staffing apps are created equal. Many apps classify gig workers as 1099 contractors, which can mean greater risk and legal liability for the facility where they pick up shifts. However, when it comes to the healthcare industry in the gig economy, companies like ShiftMed hire fully credentialed, gig-working healthcare professionals as W-2 employees. This means nurses receive the benefits they deserve while protecting facilities from legal liability and administrative burden.

Leveraging Gig Economy Jobs in Healthcare

To leverage the gig economy in healthcare, finding a workforce partner that delivers reliable, cost-efficient labor at scale is crucial. With a reliable, local pool of high-quality, credentialed nurses available to fill hard-to-fill shifts, care facilities and hospitals alike will reap the rewards in savings. From reducing surge pricing to alleviating the reliance on travel nurse contracts, tapping into the gig economy will set facilities up to meet HPPD goals and maintain optimum staffing levels.

In many cases, a workforce marketplace for nurses in the gig economy will help health systems, public hospitals, and long-term or post-acute care facilities with:

Nursing Recruitment

Save on recruitment efforts by tapping into a workforce marketplace that has a substantial network of healthcare professionals who are pre-vetted for licensure, I-9 employment, and clinical knowledge and safety.

Employee Retention

Keep health workers engaged and motivated with a partner that brings innovative and meaningful benefits and partnerships to the workforce ecosystem like education ladders, Uber Health rides, healthcare, and more.

Rebalancing Labor Portfolio

Fill shifts faster and easier than ever with predictive analytics that takes the guesswork out of staffing and helps rebalance FTEs with outside labor pools to avoid premium/travel caregiver options.

Reducing Overall Labor Expense

Reduce overall expenses and still engage and attract your workforce to achieve sustainable staffing levels with low, fixed margins for local external staff, no buyout fees, and more.

Reliable and Accountable Healthcare Staffing

ShiftMed provides health systems, hospitals, and post-acute facilities with the tools to achieve stability in their staffing pools and achieve full control of labor costs. Leveraging the gig economy in healthcare doesn't feel risky when working with ShiftMed because we:

  • Hire health workers for the long term and provide meaningful benefits to keep them retained and engaged.

  • Our nurses are hired as W-2 workers, which means all the risk is on us when it comes to workers comp, overtime, and unemployment insurance.

  • We handle all the recruitment and credentialing for streamlined onboarding to quickly fill facilities with the highest quality of nurses.

  • To ease the burden of multi-system scheduling, we integrate with scheduling software to automate, streamline, and synchronize the staffing process.

With ShiftMed’s fully-credentialed, W-2 health workers, we reliably serve as the backbone for a long-term, cost-efficient staffing ecosystem.