How To Adjust Medical Staffing When Patient Volumes Decrease

Medical staffing is a complicated issue to get right — especially when the Covid-19 pandemic was at its height and left a wake of people in the hospital. Yet, thanks to the abundance of resources available to help medical facilities find the best staff when times get tough, it’s a fleeting issue for most.

However, another one is on the horizon as that problem fades away.

The problem

The main issue that medical facilities have to deal with now is due to the decreasing Covid-19 patient volumes. While the decrease is undoubtedly a good thing, all things considered, it does leave these facilities a bit overstaffed, which can put a strain on the budget.

And there are much fewer resources on how those facilities should navigate the adjusting of their staff. That is, until now. Below, we’ll show how as a medical facility, adjusting your staff to suit lower patient numbers doesn’t have to be a confusing headache. But more so, we’ll show you that cutting staff isn’t your only option. There are plenty of other options to adjust medical staffing when patient volumes decrease.

Learn more about the downward trend we’re speaking of here.

The road map for medical facilities

As a medical facility, incorrectly adjusting your staff members can leave you in a problematic situation — either too many on the payroll eating away your budget or you cut them and have insufficient bodies to account for the number of patients.

And unfortunately, the typical methods of calculating the rise and fall of incoming patients largely go out of the window when we’re amid a pandemic. So, you need to exercise caution as you proceed. In other words, don’t adjust your numbers too soon.

With that said, here are a few ways that you can always allocate the right amount of staff to your facility.

1.    Use all of your staff to the correct extent.

It’s of the utmost importance to allow your staff to perform at their peak efficiency for the sake of patients and your budget. Perhaps the best way to ensure that you are always able to do that is by developing a formal staffing plan. One that will guarantee each patient is taken care of by the provider with the most appropriate skills.

What is a formal staffing plan?

A formal staffing plan is an operation and unit-specific scheduling strategy that supports the uniformity of care in each department. With a good staffing plan in place, medical facilities like yours can make sure that staffing choices consider the most significant factors in the facility.

Those significant factors most likely include patient understanding, the rate of admissions and discharges, plus the experience of each staff member under your leadership.

2.    Create a committee to oversee staffing.

You can see how complex medical staffing is by doing the research yourself. The ins and outs take a lot of time and effort to fully understand — certainly too much for one individual or even an unorganized group. And in reality, those ins and outs are subject to change as the state of the world does.

The most time and cost-efficient method to ensure that you’re not wasting your effort is to form an organized committee to oversee your staffing operations. A committee of that type will allow you to take a more organized and collaborative approach.

Many states even require medical facilities to have a staffing committee of their own, and it’s for a good reason. The committees often give critical input on scheduling procedures and staffing policies.

3.    Consult your staff.

Numbers have their place in medical facilities, but there’s no amount of raw data that can replace the intuition that an experienced staff member has readily available. A senior staff member can give you informed knowledge about the things that don’t show up on paper.

So, as you’re analyzing your options and judging the routes available to you, stop by a department and ask a senior staff member how they see scheduling issues. Even get their opinion on what can be done to improve the current system.

No single solution can solve all of your staffing worries

However, if you’re serious about establishing a committee, developing a plan, and lastly, asking your staff for their opinions, you can vastly improve a tired system. In turn, you can count on holding on to your budget and, most importantly, ensuring that each patient is thoroughly taken care of during their stay. And in any medical facility, that’s undoubtedly a win for the books.

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