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August 4, 2023

How to Overcome the Healthcare Staffing Struggle

Max Pinch
Healthcare Industry

When lives and livelihoods are on the line, every shift counts

From managing patient care to supporting providers and tackling administrative tasks, directors of nursing are in daily battles with the clock. Amid the chaos, there's one particular challenge that just won’t go away: 


The intricate juggling act of managing multiple labor pools and agency relationships often leaves frontline healthcare workers and hospital administrators stretched thin. Over time, scheduling processes fray, and unnecessary costs build up. If you're a director of nursing who can relate to this struggle, help is on the way. 

Today we’ll share what we’ve learned about agency vendor management and why you need to integrate it into your scheduling software. We’ll describe how both internal and external labor pools can and should be brought into one cohesive scheduling system. And how you can finally break through the fog of communication breakdowns, double bookings, and the absence of a well-executed staffing strategy. Most importantly, we’ll offer market-tested recommendations on how to reclaim your time for what truly matters and deliver the service your patients deserve. 

What it means to have integrated agency vendor management working for you

Administrative staff, Directors of Nursing, and others responsible for the clinical scheduling at your facility have the tall task of navigating healthcare staffing without a map. Piecing together staff from different labor pools and cobbling together full shifts has been like navigating in a dark and complex forest. With all of your staff working from a single schedule (including those you need from external sources) will be like finally being pulled into the light.

 A scheduling solution with integrated vendor management provides one place to see where you’re going, where you’ve been, and maybe even unlock some shortcuts to the most economical route to achieving your service and operational goals. Here are the three critical “sections” your healthcare staffing map must include:  

Section 1: Gain Higher Control

What does having control mean when it comes to healthcare staffing? For Kevala’s customers, it’s being able to make informed decisions based on detailed data. They can see who is working at their facility, who isn’t working, and who is available for future shifts, paving the way to optimization. 

With a scheduling solution that has integrated vendor management, you have one centralized scheduling platform for administrators and schedulers. Schedulers can establish custom staffing criteria and achieve greater control over their teams. After establishing this higher level of control, they’re able to achieve what the facility needs most. Cost savings, quality of care, and patient results. This previously elusive goal has become reality.   

Section 2: Streamline Communication and Collaboration

Now that visibility and control have been made available to those who need it, facility improvements can begin adding up. The next and most important is communication

Successful Directors of Nursing are relied upon for their communication skills. If they lack easy and accurate communication channels, performance suffers. Common repercussions are double bookings, budget misses, or burning out valued permanent employees. Kevala is working to ensure those problems are issues of the past. 

An integrated staff management platform enables consistent communication in a single platform. You now have the channels to share information with outside staffing agencies, internal staff, or your float teams in one place. Having a direct line of communication with each pool makes things how they are supposed to be: simple.

Integrated scheduling and communications improve relationships. Using a direct messaging tool to contact staffing partners, build rapport, and share updates and feedback helps reduce uncertainties and boosts morale. This is highly important in healthcare because as we all know, healthy relationships are what make staffing work. 

Section 3: Centralize Data and Reporting

So now that you have control and communication dialed in, how do you bring everything together?


Your vendor management and scheduling tool should offer you the insights to identify what’s working (and not working) so you can make informed improvements. If it doesn’t, you won’t be able to climb toward any sort of efficiency.

Visualizing actual data and graphs into your staffing practices is like putting glasses on for the first time. Everything becomes clear, and as a Director of Nursing or staffing coordinator, clarity is essential. 

What scheduling with integrated vendor management helps you do

These are the top three advantages our customers absolutely love.

  1. Maximize the Value of the Gig Workforce

A tool that optimizes your visibility, control, and communication with your agency partners has become essential for effective healthcare management. Whether it's internal or external, the gig workforce has permeated the healthcare industry and is being utilized at scale. Now that you have control, communication, and visibility into the gig workforce, you can capitalize on these valuable contributors. 

Now more than ever, nurses require flexibility. This is why syncing your staffing process with flexible labor is so essential in healthcare. A vendor management system integrated into your scheduling software will do just that. Seamless access and communication with such a valuable resource is how healthcare facilities will avoid falling behind. 

  1. Scale Up or Tighten Down

Demand for healthcare services is constantly shifting. Being able to scale up or down consistent with these changes in staffing demand is a vital efficiency every healthcare facility must have.  Today’s more sophisticated staffing strategies create options you may not have imagined possible. Let’s look into the benefits of scaling up and tightening down when it comes to external labor.

Scale Up - Bring in more outside staffing agencies

  • Increase census and service availability with access to a larger pool of staff
  • Keep your shifts full by having plenty of options
  • Make informed decisions by comparing rates, quality of staff, and other criteria that you decide yourself

Tighten Down - Condense the amount of outside agency use 

  • Prioritize select agency partners and build mutually beneficial relationships 
  • Use cost-effective or high-quality partners exclusively 
  • Minimize the use of outside agencies to reduce overall staffing costs

The ability to scale up or tighten down your use of external staffing partners is an example of the visibility and control integrated vendor management software provides.

  1. Unify Both Internal and External Labor Pools in a Single Scheduling Platform

Finally, Directors of Nursing everywhere don’t have to maneuver through a sea of varying communication channels. They can contact both internal and external providers in the same way. With vendor management software integrated into a healthcare scheduling system, all labor pools can be accessed to fill shifts in the same way. This gives Directors of Nursing  crucial time back and patients the specific care they need

This much-needed synchronization brings staffing strategies and tactics together. It equips schedulers to make decisions based on real data and analytics. The days of disconnected, aimless staffing practices can be moved to the rearview mirror. 

We’re tackling healthcare staffing head-on 

Navigating the fast-paced world of healthcare staffing doesn’t have to be an impossible feat. Schedulers have earned the right to technology that does more help than harm. A full scheduling solution with integrated agency vendor management is what can finally relieve healthcare schedulers of such a heavy burden.

The focus on patient care, as well as employee well-being and job satisfaction, must be a top priority. The best way for healthcare facilities to do this is through scheduling software that is built to make smarter, faster decisions. This comes in the form of Integrated agency vendor management software.

Find out how a scheduling platform with integrated vendor management can bring success to your healthcare organization

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