Converting Traveling Clinicians to Permanent Staff

Client, Healthcare Staffing

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout the last two years, many full-time staff nurses and clinicians made the change to traveling assignments, often working with agencies to find the right hospital and situation. Beyond their professional and personal interest in urgently helping patients, there were significant incentives to travel. Today, that supply/demand curve has changed. More nurses are seeking full-time staff positions. For hospitals and health systems, one solution could be to convert their existing travelers into permanent staff positions.

Now, the incentive to staff is stability, according to Kevin Walsh, Vice President of Client Success.  “As crisis rates are coming down, and traveling staff are going to be looking to return to a more stable full-time work,” he said.

Clinical and Cultural Fit

Pandemic changes may be changing the labor market some, but one truth remains: there are still too few nurses, and an abundance of open roles. To fill these roles, it makes sense for health systems to start with the travelers already in their hospitals. These valuable traveling staff are  known  and familiar with their unit already.

At Medical Solutions, travelers are screened by our clinical team not only for their professional qualifications and expertise, but also for the cultural fit within a hospital or community. They are already working alongside permanent staff, delivering quality care to patients. They know the systems and habits of a unit, as well as its best qualities.

Two Types of Candidates

Quality travelers fit and stick. At Medical Solutions, 96% of travelers are rated by clients as re-hirable following their assignment. Many sign multiple assignment extensions with a system. Hospitals seeking to attract travelers to permanent roles may envision two archetypes. Think of them as “the renewal” or “the returner.”

A “renewal” traveler may be someone who sought out an opportunity, looking to move to a new area and used travel nursing to do so. For example, they moved from one state to another to get closer to their family. For them, community and workplace culture matter. Managers and leaders can have an impact on making them feel welcome and connected. Building relationships will go a long way when an offer is extended.

The “returner” is different. This may be someone who left their home area for a travel assignment mid-pandemic, intending to return home for a permanent role in the future. For them, stability and seniority matter. Their concern is the security of their job and status when they return.

“A hospital we talked to has been successful in bringing back full-time staff with signing bonuses, and – more importantly – reinstating their seniority. This has been a way for them to bring back quality workers,” Walsh said. “It’s attractive to the clinician because they do not want to have to ‘start over.’ The hospital is getting someone they know and are already comfortable with.”

Work With Your Agency

Converting a traveling nurse or clinician to a permanent role can work well for both the clinician and the hospital. It is best to follow the correct procedures when doing so. If a staffing agency is involved with that employee, they likely have policies for such a transition. If a hospital or system is upfront and clear about its plan for a transition, the agency can help it go more smoothly.

Step one is to find out from your staffing partner if they allow this kind of conversion and what the process looks like. If their policies allow the transition, they can assist you in the process. Travelers have strong relationships with their recruiters and are well equipped to have conversations with the clinician and determine their level of interest. If there are questions about the opportunity, recruiters can serve as a very helpful negotiator between the hospital and the nurse or clinician.

Curious to learn more about how the right partner can help you with both your short-term and long-term strategic hiring plans? Reach out to our team of experts and start a conversation about your healthcare staffing needs.

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