As the nursing shortage continues to grow in the United States, hospitals tend to compete for the same talent pool of nurses: hospital A persuades a nurse to leave hospital B, and a short time later hospital C recruits the nurse from hospital A. It is like reshuffling a deck of cards. To help stabilize the recruitment situation, specialized staffing companies recruit nurses from international markets, opening up a talent pool that is otherwise inaccessible to hospitals. These international nurses have a reputation for making an immediate impact by increasing patient satisfaction and lowering costs through the mitigation of turnover and temporary contract labor.
Without the role of international staffing firms, international nurses are less accessible to hospitals because of the complexity of ensuring candidates’ experience translates to US requirements and the byzantine regulations to navigate in order to secure visas. These two factors make it unfavorably risky for hospitals to pursue these candidates on their own since their business model is focused on caring for patients. But specialized staffing firms with the legal and clinical expertise to navigate international nursing enable hospitals to include international nurses in their portfolio.
In addition to the challenge of getting international nurses to the US, staffing firms provide hospitals with a risk management advantage: hospitals typically do not invest significant sums in recruiting a nurse. Therefore, the staffing firm owns the risk in the event that the nurse does not follow through with the process, whether that is due to a change in life circumstances for the nurse, a problem getting a visa, or due to an unexpected regulatory change that delays issuance’s of visas for a period of time. Because the staffing firm is at risk, hospitals can trust that they only invest in international nurses that arrive.
Furthermore, at the end of the nurse’s contract, there is no obligation to hire them on as a full-time employee if the need for that position has diminished. By utilizing staffing firms, healthcare companies have a quick and effective solution for the short term while they determine a long-term plan. Yet, the candidate may also be a solution for the long term as well and can be offered a full-time position at the end of the contract.
Utilizing staffing firms is also cost effective for healthcare companies. Because the nurse is an employee of the staffing firm, the hospitals do not have the pay high fixed costs for recruitment, employee healthcare benefits, or employee vacation time. All those costs are paid for by the staffing firm. Additionally, hospitals do not have to offer bonuses to bribe current employees to work undesirable shifts. Agency nurses are willing to work the hard to fill roles.
Hospitals have a number of benefits to using international nurses from a staffing firm that specializes in international recruitment. Not only do they gain access to a new population of qualified nurses, but they face minimal risk in taking them on, and have an economic advantage in pursuing it.