05 Jul Understanding the Challenges of Healthcare Staffing in Rural Areas
Nowhere in the U.S. has the shortage of healthcare professionals been more acute than for rural hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
Many medical facilities and practices outside of larger metropolitan areas are finding it difficult to provide needed patient care or to meet staffing requirements. This is in addition to the overall shortage of qualified medical professionals across the board.
Healthcare facilities will need to get creative with their recruitment and retention strategies. This blog addresses some methods for doing just that.
The Professionals Are Out There – You Just Need to Find Them
Successful recruitment and retention practices can minimize the number and duration of staff vacancies, which can, in turn, save money, improve the quality of care, and ensure that services are provided in the community.
Recruiting healthcare personnel to rural health centers involves identifying and recruiting suitable candidates to fill positions. In many cases, a staffing agency is called to work with the hiring company to find potential candidates, assess their qualifications, and provide incentives for them to move.
Use Existing Networks and Partnerships
Developing relationships with local hospitals, medical schools, and healthcare organizations can help broaden recruiting efforts. These connections can provide access to a larger pool of qualified healthcare workers, medical students, and other resources that can be leveraged in the recruiting process. Additionally, local recruitment efforts can help ensure that workers feel connected to the community they serve.
Help Rural Candidate’s Pay Student Loans
Rural health systems can bolster health workforce planning by creating collaborative loan repayment programs and partnerships with medical students and medical school graduates. Improving the economic incentives for working in a rural location is often an effective way to attract recently-graduated clinical staff – so by offering loan repayment programs or other forms of financial support, small town health organizations can benefit from young professionals eager to get on with their careers.
Offer Competitive Wages
Employee pay is always important, and offering competitive wages is essential for the recruitment and retention of the rural health workforce. Hospitals, clinics and practices should work to offer salaries comparable to those available in urban areas. Assuming that the cost of living will be lower in a rural environment vs. a metro area, offering a competitive wage can help make rural employment more attractive to clinical staff.
Make Locum Tenens an Option
Locum tenens work can be ideal for health professionals seeking a better work-life balance. For example, a rural locum assignment provides greater earnings, lower living expenses, and the chance to make a difference. For employers, offering locum tenens opportunities means quickly filling hiring gaps with a professional or professionals dedicated to providing high levels of patient care.
Locum tenens helps more people see a provider and receive care – offsetting the physician shortage in underserved rural communities. An experienced medical staffing organization can save hospital administrators time by taking care of all the details required to get a locum tenens provider in the door. Agencies typically handle the candidate’s credentialing process, contract negotiations, insurance, living arrangements and more.
Contact Annashae Today to Learn More
At Annashae we’re dedicated to the placement of highly-skilled clinical practitioners in short and long-term positions. As a nationwide medical staffing and consulting firm, we provide a range of services that enable our candidates to quickly find the career opportunity that fits their needs. For information on how you can further your clinical career, contact us today.