In September 2019, more than 6,500 nurses across California, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois walked out of hospitals and declared a strike. In recent months, other nursing strikes occurred – or were threatened – around the U.S.
In virtually all cases, nurses were urging hospitals and health care facilities to expand staff. The main crux is that the lack of sufficient staffing forces nurses to work longer hours, putting patients at risk.
Nurse staffing is an issue that is becoming increasingly contentious in hospitals and healthcare facilities across the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that education and healthcare workers were most likely to go on strike.
These strikes can disrupt and even halt hospital and healthcare facility operations. This means as a hospital administrator, hiring manager, or HR professional, it’s essential to have a hiring contingency plan ready in the event of a nursing staff walkout. Here are some ways to help get you through a strike situation without compromising patient care:
Listen to Your Nurses About Staffing
Strikes are often the last resort for nurses – they don’t want patient care or healthcare operations to be disrupted any more than hospital administrators. That’s why it’s essential to understand that if a nursing union is calling for your hospital to hire more nurses amid staffing shortages, it’s a signal that quality of nursing care and patient safety might be jeopardized. By keeping communication open before the potential of a strike becomes a reality, hospital administrators can potentially collaborate with nurses on appropriate staffing matters before they start walking a picket line.
Have a Plan Before a Strike
In a strike situation, replacing striking nurses with temporary or replacement nurses can ensure that patient care is not negatively affected. Have a contingency hiring strategy in place before a strike happens. This includes a staffing matrix, an estimate of costs based on potential strike scenarios, and a detailed plan for orienting and training replacement staff before a strike.
Incorporate a Mass Notification System
Notifying doctors, surgeons, and staff that nursing personnel will be missing during a strike is essential for patient safety. Every hospital department depends on nurse coverage, and changes in staffing must be communicated. Technology can be a powerful tool for maintaining hospital operations during a nurse strike, and this can be accomplished using a mass notification technology system. The multiple methods of contact can include mobile, landline, short message service (SMS), pagers, email, and social media. This ensures that information – such as needing to fill a staffing shortage quickly – can be communicated as soon as possible.
Hospitals have a responsibility to supply patients with safe and uninterrupted healthcare, even if a nurse strike should occur. As a local firm, HireGround can help you plan for a future that may include a nursing walkout. We have the hospital and healthcare hiring expertise to find San Diego-area direct hires quickly, temporary or temp-to-hire nurses with the specific skills and experience you need. Contact us today!