Bellon D, Mleziva K. Stopping travel nurses in their track: A strategy for nursing retention - flexible staffing services. Quality Improvement poster presented at Nursing Passion: Re-Igniting the Art & Science, Advocate Aurora Health Nursing & Research Conference 2022; November 9, 2022; virtual.
Quality Improvement poster presented at Nursing Passion: Re-Igniting the Art & Science, Advocate Aurora Health Nursing & Research Conference 2022; November 9, 2022; virtual.
Background: The pandemic created many changes in healthcare including a critical shortage of bedside nurses. While some left the nursing profession completely, many others left organizations in pursuit of lucrative travel opportunities giving them a sense of control (Hansen, 2022) and leaving large staffing gaps in their wake. Long after the pandemic has ended, healthcare will be challenged with a nursing shortage that projected to last decades. Creative staffing solutions are needed to address this problem. Travel nursing has existed for decades, but large health systems have only recently started creating their own pools of travel nurses as a strategy for retention (Plank, 2019, DeForest, 2022).
Local problem: In 2020, our system saw an overall voluntary nursing turnover of direct patient care at 9.58%. In 2021, this increased to 15.62% and in 2022 it increased to the highest rate yet of 16.03%.
Method: System Nursing Leaders and Talent Acquisition partnered to address these high turnover rates developing an internal agency program, Flexible Staffing Services, mirroring practices currently in place across the nation. Nurses that were known to be leaving or had already left for travel were offered a travel opportunity within the boundaries of our healthcare system serving 27 acute care hospitals throughout Illinois and Wisconsin.
Results/Conclusions: From program inception in September 2021 through May 2022, we retained over 100 nurses and continue to grow. The program not only retained talent, but over three million dollars were saved by utilizing internal agency instead of external travelers. Year-end projections are estimated to be approximately 12 million. Our next steps include determining the business need for various service lines and introducing new roles into our program. We are still “building the plane as we fly it”.