Local hospitals using contract nurses to fill spots amid staffing shortages


The nationwide nursing shortage has led hospitals, including those in Baton Rouge, to look for ways to fill shifts while offering their existing workforce flexibility.

Baton Rouge General used contract nurses prior to the pandemic, says Katie Johnston, communications manager, but had to rely on them more heavily at various times over the past two years.

The hospital also used health care staffing organization AMI to bring in a small group of agency nurses at its Mid City campus, Johnston says. AMI also provided BRG with over 100 medical professionals during the delta surge in August, as part of an agreement with the state.

Woman’s Hospital also used contract nurses prior to the pandemic, says Caroline Isemann, communications supervisor, bringing on more as needed. The hospital uses agencies that its HR team works with to find those workers.

Nationally, apps and technology that connect hospitals to potential workers have become more popular during the pandemic, including connectRN and TrustedHealth, Axios reports. 

The nursing workforce was facing a shortage of more than 200,000 professionals before the Great Resignation, and as many began to retire or call out sick, some hospitals turned to high-cost travel nurses. But there are often workers available locally, and the apps work to connect local professionals with health care systems.

Nurses are ultimately empowered by becoming independent contractors, says Will Patterson, CEO of CareRev, a health care staffing platform, and people want to work for themselves in the industry. Read the full story.