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fi rst person I think will say yes.” This was not surprising. Many staffi ng administrators don’t have visibility to make better staffi ng decisions, but they have immediate needs to ensure safe staffi ng levels. The right technology can provide staffi ng offi ces a real- time, enterprise view of their nursing workforce, which can help staffing offices better understand who has the right skills, time and bandwidth to

Robin Stimac is industry strategy director, human capital management, Lawson Healthcare. For more information on Lawson Healthcare solutions:

pick up an extra shift without incurring overtime or having to turn to expensive agency staff. Another healthcare organization, and Lawson customer, Samaritan Health Services, was given a no-agency directive in 2009, which was especially diffi cult to achieve since they had spent $13 million on agency staffi ng the previous year. Still, they took a strategic approach with a project called the Inter-Facility Staffi ng Program. This program needed to meet several objectives, including decreasing agency costs and ensuring that nurses in the community could keep working.

The program allowed internal nursing staff to fl oat across the fi ve hospitals within their health system. To help the

program succeed, Samaritan Health Services used the shift-bidding technology within their Lawson solution and encouraged their nursing staff to bid on open shifts and earn additional income. This was also a great benefi t to the health system because their own nursing staff had prior knowledge of the charting system, how the hospitals operated. They didn’t have to spend additional time training outside staff on their policies and procedures. The Inter-Facility Staffi ng Program has been a huge suc- cess for Samaritan Health Services, helping them reduce external agency spend by $10 million in one year. The program also helped to keep nurses in the community employed, even through the recent economic downturn. This has resulted in more satisfi ed nurses, staffi ng coordina- tors and patients.

There are many ways to combat the nursing shortage, but most of them are not long-term solutions. To truly resolve the issues that stem from the nursing shortage, it is criti- cally important for healthcare organizations to provide staff with the right technology to maximize resources and skilled labor. It is possible to make the most of internal resources before relying on overtime or agency usage. With the right approach, nurse satisfaction will grow and patient care will improve.



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