Charting a Steady Course: How Specialized Recruiters Help Healthcare Slash Contract Reliance in 2024

The storm clouds of pandemic-induced staffing shortages may be parting, but choppy waters still lie ahead for healthcare facilities relying heavily on contract labor. While temporary nurses serve a crucial role, their inflated costs and inconsistent availability can destabilize budgets and impact patient care. In 2024, navigating these turbulent waters necessitates a shift towards building a stable, in-house nursing workforce. This blog post dives into the current permanent placement nurse recruiting trends and explores how partnering with a specialized direct hire recruiting firm can be your anchor in this journey.

Travel Nurse Wages Soar Beyond Permanent Staff Nurses

Nominal average weekly earnings

Permanent  staff nurses (Light Blue)

Travel  nurses (Dark Blue)

Both data sources include wages of full-time registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, and licensed vocational nurses. CPS occupation codes: 3255, 3256, 3258, 3500. Part-time workers (less than 35 hours/week) are excluded. // For 2019, only July-December data on travel nurses is available, so average of both groups comes from 6-month period. For 2023, average for both groups is based on January-March data.

Chart: Emma Curchin  Source: For permanent staff nurse data: CPS-ORG. For travel nurse data: Vivian Health’s Travel Nurse Monthly Wage Report. 

The Costly Tide of Contract Reliance:

The reliance on contract nurses has soared, driven by factors like burnout, skill shortages, and pandemic pressures. However, this solution often comes with inflated costs, as agencies charge hefty markups. The average hourly rate for travel nurses is 50%+  higher than the average permanent staff nurse rate.  In 2023 a traveler cost a health system, on average, over $68,000 more annually.   Moreover, inconsistent contract durations and skills can disrupt patient care continuity and negatively impact staff morale and company culture.

Embracing Stability: Permanent Placement Trends in 2024:

Building a dedicated, permanent nursing workforce offers long-term cost savings, better continuity of care, and improved staff morale. However, achieving this requires understanding the current recruiting landscape:

  • Fierce Competition: The demand for nurses remains high, with qualified candidates having numerous options.
  • Specialization Reigns: The need for nurses with specific skillsets (critical care, geriatrics, etc.) is rising.
  • Workplace Transparency Matters: Candidates prioritize clarity about culture, work-life balance, and mental health support.
  • Tech-Savvy Recruiting: AI-powered tools and social media platforms are reshaping the recruitment process.
  • Hybrid Horizons: Flexibility is key, with hybrid and remote options becoming increasingly sought-after.

The Specialized Permant Placement Direct Hire Recruiting Firm as trusted partner:

Navigating these complex trends alone can be challenging. Partnering with a specialized perm placement, direct hire recruiting firm brings several advantages:

  • Targeted Expertise: Recruiters with deep healthcare industry knowledge and access to specialized talent pools.
  • Streamlined Process: Expertise in using technology and optimizing recruitment processes for efficiency.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Saves on agency markups and promotes long-term cost savings.
  • Employer Branding: Craft compelling messaging to attract and retain top talent.
  • Compliance Expertise: Ensures smooth onboarding and minimizes regulatory risks.
  • Immense Cost Savings: In 2023 a traveler cost a health system, on average, over $68,000 more annually than an RN on a full time W2 position.  Factoring in a $15,000 to $17,000 permanent placement fee, health systems can save over $50K per travel RN position they replace with as permanent placement direct hire RN added to their team.  Further, this is not just a one-time savings – as the travel costs reoccur year over year, while the perm placement fee is a one-time cost. 

Beyond 2024: Building a Sustainable Future:

Investing in direct hire recruitment offers numerous benefits beyond immediate cost savings:

  • Improved Patient Care: Stable staffing leads to better continuity of care and patient outcomes.
  • Enhanced Staff Morale: A dedicated team fosters collaboration and a positive work environment.
  • Reduced Burnout: Lower dependency on contract staff combats burnout and improves retention.
  • Talent Development: Invest in skills and career advancement for a stronger future workforce.
  • Choosing the Right Partner:

When selecting a Permant Placement Direct Hire recruiting firm to partner with, consider factors like:

  • Specialization:  Is the firm you are partnered with truly a perm placement specialists.  There are a lot of temp, travel, and per diem recruiting firms who claim to provide permanent placement direct hire services.  The reality is, their goal is to capture and expand the temp, travel, and per diem services they provide to systems. 
  • Industry and niche expertise: Ensure they understand your specific needs and the healthcare landscape.
  • Proven track record: Look for a firm with a successful history of placing permanent nurses in your region.
  • Data-driven approach: They should leverage data and analytics to inform their strategies.
  • Transparency and communication: Clear communication and collaboration are crucial.
  • Technology adoption: They should utilize technology to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

By understanding the latest recruiting trends and partnering with a specialized firm, healthcare organizations can navigate the choppy waters of contract reliance and chart a course towards a stable, cost-effective, and fulfilling nursing workforce. Embrace direct hire recruitment in 2024 – it’s your anchor to a smoother, more sustainable future.

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