Nurse scheduling and nurse staffing are complex jobs. And they are becoming increasingly overwhelming for staffing companies and managers, directors, and schedulers at critical care facilities and long-term care facilities.  

Unprecedented COVID-19 healthcare demands have forced many nurses or certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in charge of patients to call and cancel their shift, leaving facilities understaffed. 

Yet regulations dictate nursing homes and long-term care facilities must have minimum staff levels present on every shift for sufficient patient care. But, sometimes, workers can be unreachable or unavailable. 

Recruiting staff from a flexing, mobile pool 

More than 100 thousand Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19. More than a third of hospitals in some areas of the country are running out of beds. 

So, what are some of the most critical factors affecting staff availability and accessibility as the entire healthcare profession seeks to meet surging COVID-19 nursing demands and keep ahead of patients’ spectrum of healthcare needs: 

  • At the beginning of the pandemic, many hospitals were overstaffed, and budgets were stretched. But changing disease epicenters and staffing demands have played havoc with staffing plans.

    Some hospitals now need nurses in operating rooms and procedural suites and are working through backlogs of elective or non-emergency surgeries. 

  • Nurses are an increasingly mobile, tech-savvy workforce and incentivized to leave full-time positions and move from one COVID-19 hot spot to another.  

  • Rural and urban hospitals—and clean and COVID-19 hospitals—all have different demands. While some nurses specialize in COVID-19 care, the overwhelming patient volume means everyone must pitch in. Many nurses work in a mix of clean and COVID-19 hospitals.  

  • Some staffing companies will make referrals to agencies that help nurses secure temporary housing, or the nurses opt to locate housing themselves using a Facebook group or other app.  

  • Some ICU nurses care for as many as eight patients simultaneously, and even asymptomatic, coronavirus-positive healthcare workers sometimes continue seeing patients.  

  • California’s ICU usage now exceeds 85%, after new stay-at-home restrictions begin. 

  • Recruitment of quality staff remains essential, and hospitals offer high-paying contracts to lure nurses into the traveling nurse workforce, which has increased dramatically over 2020.  

  • Quality of life and flexibility are more critical than ever for caregivers, so it’s essential to increase their options.  

ShiftMed connects managers, schedulers, and directors with hundreds of credentialed healthcare professionals, offers prospective hires with multiple shift options, verifies and delivers electronic credentials in advance, and removes time-consuming steps. With 300,000 healthcare professionals in our network, we know caregivers.