Here's how to reduce your Nursing Home staffing cost bill by 30%

It is estimated that 65% of care homes in the UK are using temporary staff to cover vacant shifts.

Nursing home managers spend between £5bn- £7bn per year using staffing agencies to recruit temporary nurses.   But the process can be less than satisfactory for both parties and, more importantly, can affect standards of care.

The ‘arm’s length’ nature of recruitment agencies mean care and nursing home managers have no direct relationship with the worker.

For the temporary nurses , they can feel they are just a body to fill a gap rather than a hard-working professional being employed for their skills.

The current agency nurse solution is failing nurses and care homes.  Everyday nurses experience conflicting demands, difficult working conditions low morale which has led to the largest shortage of nurses since the War.  To help ease some of these demands, a new and innovative web platform called Florence has been launched to help connect nursing home shifts with pre-vetted engaged local nurses.

Florence allows RGNs to showcase themselves, their experience and skills and build a reputation.  They create a personal profile including their training, accreditation and feedback they’ve received from homes they’ve worked at previously.  Nurses can feedback on the homes too, so both parties are encouraged to make the working experience a positive one.

Homes managers can clearly see all of this information so they are fully aware of a nurse’s abilities by the time they arrive for a shift.  And because that nurse has been selected for their skills and experience, they are likely to be more engaged, motivated and have a greater sense of professional pride.

The Benefits

By cutting out the staffing agencies in the middle, Florence not only cuts out their extortionate fees, saving the home up to 30% of their monthly staffing costs but also homes are also encouraged to pass some of that saving back to the nurses in the form of higher wages. 

Feeling valued is key in being able to attract a member of staff and for them to accept subsequent shifts, which is what every home manager wants – continuity is key for a care setting where residents are faced with ‘strangers’ coming into their homes and where getting to know individuals is crucial for personalised care.  

Florence was created by a doctor (Dr Charles Armitage) who was dissatisfied by staffing agency system.  He found the whole shift booking process difficult and frustrating and was very concerned about how much the process was costing providers. 

This experience was the driver behind Dr Armitage  creating Florence app, a digital platform that bridges that gap - that allows homes to make more informed choices about the nurses they employ and that empowers temporary nursing staff by giving them the chance to showcase their skills and experience, and be seen as a valuable asset to a staff team.

Digital-contingent labour platforms like Florence are recommended as one way of reducing costs, managing fluctuating demand and attracting a wider skills base for the public sector and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t apply to the private care sector. 

And as the gig economy grows, disruptive technology will be the way forward for engaging with older, experienced staff as well as new starters.

With more nurses leaving the profession than joining it, the available pool of nursing staff is growing increasingly limited and with the approach of Brexit, this could diminish even further. 

Care and nursing homes are competing with the NHS for nursing staff so the more attractive you can make that working relationship, the greater edge you’ll have.  

About Bunie Anyaegbunam

Bunie is CMO at Florence, a web platform that connects private healthcare institutions with pre-vetted, self-employed registered nurses who are looking for extra shifts.