How do we best support our clients’ needs? If you’re in staffing, you’ve likely asked yourself this question many times. As a 30-year veteran in healthcare staffing, mostly serving the long-term and senior care industry, I certainly have. In most cases, the answer has been ensuring we provide clients with the clinicians they need to fill staffing gaps as quickly and reliably as possible.
Today, that challenge is greater than ever. The national nursing shortage has been a serious issue for years, and it’s only worsened since the start of the pandemic. Nurses are burnt out, and many are leaving the profession. As an industry in the business of helping healthcare facilities secure the staff they need for quality care, it’s crucial to understand what clinicians are looking for so we can keep more of them on the job.
We recently conducted a survey of 501 clinicians working for Gale Healthcare Solutions — an online staffing platform for nurses — to see what they value when looking for work. What we learned can shape new workforce management strategies in 2023 for healthcare and for other sectors that provide staffing services.
Gig-style work as the new normal. Per diem nursing isn’t just a side gig. For many clinicians, it’s become a primary source of income. Conducted in October 2022, our survey showed 65% of Gale nurses only work temporary shifts. While they choose this more flexible option, 45% of respondents work the equivalent of a full-time schedule exclusively through temporary jobs. Nurses want to work, but they want more control over how they do so. Platform-based staffing answers that need and can help keep more in the profession. Indeed, 26% of our respondents said they would quit without temporary work options.
Make every day pay day. This survey found temporary nurses now rate quick pay as one of the top factors they seek when considering per diem work. In fact, 90% of nurses who work full time and also accept extra work through our platform cite earning extra pay quickly as their top motivator for working additional temporary shifts. The vast majority — 89% — of all respondents said they have a strong preference for being paid immediately after their shift or the same day they work rather than waiting for a traditional weekly or biweekly pay schedule. Nurses are looking for opportunities to earn cash quickly, and platform-based companies that offer this will be in the best position to attract and retain nursing staff.
Control is crucial. Having control over their own schedule is another reason many workers today choose temporary work, and healthcare is no exception. 87% of Gale survey respondents said control over their schedule is the leading reason they opt to work for a temporary staffing platform rather than working for a facility full time. Of nurses who work a full-time healthcare job and also work extra shifts with Gale Healthcare, 59% said they are asked to work an extra shift at least weekly by their full-time employer. This finding demonstrates the dire state of understaffing in many healthcare facilities and why so many nurses are looking for options that give them more control over their work lives.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the nursing shortage, but this survey provides valuable insight for all of us in the healthcare staffing sector to better understand what clinicians value in their work life. What we learn from our temporary clinicians can help inform workforce management strategies for healthcare and other industries facing staffing challenges.
By offering fast pay and quick, easy scheduling to workers, platform-based staffing companies can keep pace with the trends of a gig-style workforce and be in a stronger position to meet their clients’ needs.