The float pool is a popular tool among hospitals looking to make maximum use of nursing staff. Float pools work so well that hospitals are branching out. Rather than limiting them just to nursing staff, float pools are being used to address all sorts of contingent staffing needs that range from advanced practice clinicians to allied staff.
The only downside to expanding the float pool is that size brings complexity. The more shifts and specialities a float pool include the more complex it is to manage. That is where the healthcare managed service provider (MSP) comes in. A good MSP can prove invaluable in managing a growing float pool.
If you are not familiar with float pools, they are pretty basic. Afloat pool is a pool of workers available to work a variety of shifts in many different locations. They float from one assignment to the next as needed. The float pool is good for workers because it allows them to control their own schedules. It is good for administrators because it offers yet another avenue to meet short-term staffing needs.
Maximizing Permanent Staff
Hospitals choose to implement float pools for a variety of reasons. At the top of the list is a desire to maximize permanent staff. Remember that leaving shifts unfilled is less than desirable inasmuch as it has a direct impact on patient care. Thus, permanent staff are often required to work extra shifts to fill scheduling gaps.
The float pool addresses staffing shortages by giving administrators access to short-term workers capable of taking shifts at a moment’s notice. With a large enough pool of workers, there is less need to require permanent staff to put in extra shifts. However, a large pool can be difficult to manage. That takes us back to the MSP.
Service and Technology
An MSPs main priority is to create and implement a program for managing staffing needs. MSPs can operate independently from staffing agencies or as an additional service offered by an agency. Vista Select is a good illustration. Vista Select is an MSP program offered by the Vista staffing organization.
MSPs do what they do via a combination of service and technology. The MSP program itself is a service that works with administrators, recruiters, and HR managers to make sure staffing holes are filled. One of the ways this is accomplished is through a vendor management system (VMS), a piece of software that keeps track of everything.
The technology portion is truly the crux of the MSP-hospital relationship. How successfully a float pool is managed relies on that relationship. The success of that relationship rides on the vendor management system that supports it.
For purposes of illustration, consider the fundamental principles of licensing and credentialing. Any temporary staff that comes to a hospital via its float pool must be properly licensed at minimum. Credentials might also be required. A VMS should store licensing and credentialing information on every worker participating in the float pool. That information is easily checked for accuracy whenever there is a concern, giving the hospital every opportunity to make sure pool workers are up to date with their licensing.
Afloat pool represents a flexible and scalable way to meet staffing needs in the modern era. Float pools have worked well enough for nurse staffing that hospitals are now beginning to branch out into other areas. All of this is good. But to make the best use of the float pool concept, hospitals are also turning to managed service providers and vendor management systems. Bringing them all together leads to very good solutions.