How to Prepare Healthcare Talent for Assignments During an Outbreak

Whether they’re assigned to a hospital, medical group or senior living community, staffing talent faces uniquely steep challenges in a pandemic like COVID-19. We’ve assembled eight tips to help agencies ensure that their talent succeeds and stays safe on client sites through this trying period for the healthcare and staffing industries:

1. Put yourself in the place of talent when they first walk into a healthcare facility or senior residence during a global outbreak. Even the most experienced clinicians may feel anxious and will need agency support to ensure that they are properly onboarded and oriented to special safety protocols, personal protective equipment and the like.

2. Acknowledge the seriousness of this pandemic and make it clear that you’re conducting business accordingly. Consider holding a webinar – at a couple of different times to accommodate workers on different shifts – to bring staffing talent together to convey important information and answer questions that some workers may be reticent to ask.

3. Educate your agency’s internal staff about what’s required during uncertain times. According to a survey by National Nurses United, only 44% of nurses report that their employer has provided information about novel coronavirus and how to recognize and respond to possible cases. Providing your internal staff with pertinent information will help ensure your staffing talent’s safety.

4. Create an information center on your own web site or app that links to key resources such as CDC’s COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Professionals. Talent will feel more confident with knowledge of government and industry standards regarding unfamiliar clinical situations. If you don’t have the resources, you can take advantage of the free courses HealthcareSource is providing through August 31st, including acknowledgement courses that consist of critical COVID-19 information.

RELATED CONTENT: SIA’s Coronavirus Resource Center

5. Provide talent with special training in safety protocols. You can do this now or at least before any frontline healthcare workers report for a new assignment. Training provided before an assignment begins will provide reassurance to talent and value to client providers.

6. Recognize that COVID-19 is especially dangerous to residents of senior living communities. Many experienced senior living workers will be unfamiliar with the measures required to keep seniors as safe as possible during this outbreak. Ensure that your agency or the client fills this gap.

7. Prepare ahead for how you will handle a worker who develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 while on assignment. Let your staffing talent know what to say to their immediate supervisor and how to contact you immediately in case they suspect they’re infected. Make sure they have health insurance in place – whether through your agency or another means – to cover the cost of diagnosis and treatment.

8. Check in with talent frequently. Inquire about their health, what protective measures are present or absent in their workplace, and what you can do for them to reduce stress and help them do their jobs.

In my next post, I will address how to help clients onboard during outbreaks such as coronavirus. And on Thursday, March 26, HealthcareSource is conducting a webinar: Healthcare Hiring in a Crisis: Strategies, Tactics and Tools

Manny Gagliardi

Manny Gagliardi
Manny Gagliardi is managing director of HealthcareSource.

Manny Gagliardi

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