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What a Nurse Staffing Agency Does

  • October 5, 2021

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Vacancies in healthcare remain at an all-time high around the world. With the ongoing pandemic, the demand for someone to take care of patients being admitted into the emergency rooms has also risen. 

Many hospitals are weighing their options when it comes to staffing. There are factors like burnouts, absences because of the flu season, nursing retirements, and leaves that can take their toll on the other staff. 

In 2019, studies showed that the nurse staffing trends remain high when it comes to openings and job vacancies compared to others. This is why hospitals and clinics should consider a nurse staffing agency that can help them fill the job positions in no time. With the right agency, these healthcare institutions can remain confident that they are fully staffed even on the most critical days,

If you’re considering calling an agency, there are several factors that you should consider. Before knowing these factors, it’s best to have an understanding of why staffing shortage happens. Sometimes, some protests and strikes happen because there’s a huge gap in the ratio of nurses to patients. This can threaten the quality of the services and care given to them, and the employees have a considerable risk of being burned out if they are not careful.

More Patients Are Brought In

The rapid increase of patients because of the pandemic is one of the drivers of the nursing shortage. Even the opioid epidemic on top of the coronavirus led to the hospitalization of about 1.2 million people. The aging population of the baby boomers contributed to the demand for healthcare services because they have developed chronic conditions later in life.

Fewer Nurses

It’s estimated that about a million baby boomers are going to retire within the year 2030. This means that the millennials, Gen X, and new graduates will take their places. However, this may not be enough. Today, over 50,000 nurses retire every year, mainly contributing to the shortage that many hospitals and clinics experience. Some facilities are located in remote locations, and the executives may have trouble filling these in. More about the shortage cause in this article here.

A Need for a More Sustainable Solution

Various hospitals in the United States are changing their systems and techniques when faced with staff shortages. More of them rely more on agencies whenever the leaders feel the brunt of the absences and leaves. Some have developed a more comprehensive approach to address the problem once and for all. Here are some things that you need to know about the agencies.

How the Staffing Agencies Operate

The agency’s primary role is to provide nurse placements in clinics and hospitals that have trouble filling permanent or temporary vacancies. They are the ones securing contracts and sourcing nurses for the benefit of many healthcare facilities.

They may employ international nurses to balance the supply and demand in a country. Many hospitals may find it more expensive to procure international staff. However, these are easy with agencies that have networks and resources. They are the ones who sponsor the documents and the international work visa of the nurse while charging a flat fee to the facility.

The established ones are the ones that streamline their entire process for hospitals and other healthcare professionals. They will handle the ongoing education, housing, food, and different needs of the staff. These things are essential as the hospital will benefit much when they partner with an agency. 

Types of Placements

Pro Re Nata or Per Diem

Per diem means per day, and this is where a nurse can be on-call at any time of the day. The contracts may range from one day to one month or more. The role does not guarantee any hours for the nurse, and the per diem is ideal for hospitals that have received last-minute shift cancellation texts or a surge in patients. Get more info about per diem payments on this site:

Per diem is more flexible than PRN. The pro re nata means as needed, and they are required in order to meet the stipulations of a clinic about staffing to maintain employment. This would mean working on a holiday or during weekends. 

Travel Nurses

The travelers typically have short-term agreements, and they may range from two to five weeks. Sometimes, it could be longer, and they are going into many geographical locations to fill employment gaps. They are done on a case-to-case basis, and they can depend on the needs of the facility. 


Temp-to-perm is an ideal way for many hospitals to bridge the gap in their employment. When the nurse is in a temporary position, she can gauge whether she likes the geographic location and intends to go full-time once she wants to stay. At the same time, hospital executives who may have seen the temporary staff’s potential may offer her a more permanent position. The agency often streamlines the entire transition to make it easier for all parties involved.