On-Demand Care: Is Temporary Nurse Staffing Beneficial?


In many regions of the UK, the healthcare industry is extremely understaffed – with high demand for short-notice recruitment, we will discuss is temporary nurse staffing beneficial.

Failure to fill gaps in a medical team can cause logistical issues, stress and even increased levels of risk to patients.

In order to tackle these issues, to streamline the hiring process and to keep hospitals, clinics, medical centres, care homes and other institutions and agencies operating safely and smoothly, many organisations within the industry are turning to “on-demand” solutions.

But what are these solutions? How are they operated – and what are the benefits and potential risks associated with them? In this article, we’ll explore the growing trend for on-demand healthcare staffing and answer is temporary nurse staffing beneficial.

How is on-demand care reshaping the traditional healthcare staffing model?

Back in 2016, Nuffield Health published a research report into the need to reshape the workforce in response to the needs of patients.

The authors of the report, Candace Imison, Sophie Castle-Clarke and Robert Watson, argued that the traditional healthcare model was “illness-based, provider-led” and therefore increasingly outdated.

They observed that the demand for a system that was “patient-led, preventative in focus and offers care closer to home” was continuously growing – and that major changes to the workforce would be required to effectively meet these demands.

Even today, preventative, patient-led care remains difficult to achieve, as it tends to require a full complement of correctly-trained and qualified staff. A UK parliamentary report from 2022 revealed a significant “workforce crisis”, and explained that “in the NHS, persistent understaffing poses a serious risk to staff and patient safety in routine and emergency care”.

The rise of on-demand care has occurred in response to this crisis, enabling urgent gaps in medical teams and departments to be filled effectively and in a timely manner – making prevention and patient-centred care a greater possibility.

It often enables specialist staff to be distributed more efficiently, so that they can make a difference where they are needed most.

While on-demand services have led to a rise in temporary, contracted or “agency” staff in place of permanent workers – particularly at support level – as a while, the recruiters leading this field have focused on providing highly trained workers that uphold best practice at all times. Where this is achieved, there is little to no difference in the quality of care provided.

What are the key challenges healthcare organisations face in navigating the nurse temporary staffing revolution?

As mentioned above, the growing reliance on temporary staff does not necessarily equate to a drop in service quality, as long as organisations and recruitment agencies undertake due diligence and properly invest in the process to make sure it is properly managed.

Failing to do so increases the risk of temporary staff being underqualified or inexperienced for the roles they are hired to fill. There is also the matter of trust – organisations need to be confident that agency staff will arrive prepared and on-time, and will be available when needed.

Many positions also require workers to be registered with certain bodies – and the majority cannot be taken up without relevant, up-to-date background checks.

Finally, a common requirement of care-focused companies seeking temporary workers is speed. In many cases, cover is needed at extremely short notice, so if recruiters are unable to meet that demand, the result could well be a drop in patient safety and the well-being of coworkers.

However, as the on-demand healthcare staffing industry gathers traction, leading recruitment organisations are developing well-managed, swift and effective staffing processes to prevent these issues.

What are the top 3 industries that employ registered nurses?

NHS England reported a record number of nurses and midwives working in the NHS in January 2024, thanks to a recent rise in the number of healthcare support workers – enabled by new approaches to recruitment.

The private sector is another huge employer, as are local authorities, with many nurses being deployed to care homes and other council-run care facilities.

When are registered nurses needed the most?

Registered nurses are always in high demand – in almost every healthcare facility or agency. Demand continues to significantly outstrip supply, particularly in NHS hospitals and care homes.

In what ways is technology playing a role in revolutionising nurse temporary staffing for on-demand care?

The most effective temporary staffing service providers across the UK use constantly updated databases of specialist workers.

These rosters are usually searchable using a wide range of terms and criteria, making it easy to find professionals with up-to-date qualifications that match an employer’s requirements exactly.

Companies such as Cucumber Recruitment, whose database of workers is over 5000-strong and spans the whole of the UK, also invest in our staff by providing regular online training opportunities. Our highly specialised range of accredited courses focus on areas such as:

• Challenging behaviour
• Childcare
• Dementia
• Dignity and respect
• End of life care
• Epilepsy
• Equality and diversity
• Health and safety
• Infection control
• Maybo conflict management
• Mental health – including the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty safeguards
• Moving and handling
• Person-centred care
• Safeguarding

We also offer the opportunity for individuals on their database to work towards the Care Certificate if this is something they have not yet achieved. By ensuring that staff are fully trained, and that their background checks remain up to date, the company does away with the risk of onboarding delays.

Cucumber also makes use of technology by allowing prospective clients to fill in an online form that allows them to precisely specify the type of staff they require, along with the dates on which those individuals will be required.

This significantly speeds up the hiring process, so that organisations can fill staffing gaps at very short notice.

Is it worth being an agency nurse?

There are many reasons why qualified nurses opt for temporary agency work. Arrangements of this kind offer greater variety and flexibility; nurses will work in a number of different departments with different teams, and can specify where and when they can work.

What’s more, the pay is regularly higher than it might be for a full-time or permanent nurse.

Are agency nurses a good investment for my company?

If you run a healthcare-focused organisation, you may find yourself asking “how much will agency nurses cost me?”. UK stats in 2022 revealed a cost to the employer of around £21,300 per agency nurse, according to nurse.co.uk.

However, recruitment specialists like Cucumber are able to offer highly flexible rates – personalising our services and fees to meet the needs of our clients and helping them avoid overspending.

How can nurses and healthcare professionals prepare for and thrive in the era of on-demand care and temporary staffing?

In order to make the most of a career in agency work, the best things that nurses and other medical specialists can do include keeping all of their training, qualifications, registrations and background checks entirely up to date.

It is also highly advisable to be as flexible and available as possible – as this will enable each worker to pick up more shifts, therefore earning greater amounts and improving their on-the-job experience.

However, it is important to balance this out with proper self-care. Nurses should try to avoid overwork and burnout, and ensure that they achieve a good amount of down-time.

Healthcare employers, on the other hand, should always be as clear and comprehensive as possible with the job descriptions and requirements they give to recruiters to make sure they are matched with the perfect agency worker for their needs.

Is temporary nurse staffing beneficial, and how can Cucumber Recruitment help?

High-quality temporary staffing agencies such as Cucumber are vital to on-demand recruitment in the healthcare sector.

We offer clear and transparent communication, discussing our client’s requirements in detail to make sure all needs are met. We then undertake searches of their personnel database to find the right candidates for a role. Finally, we link their clients to those candidates to make sure all staffing gaps are quickly and effectively filled.

For further information about healthcare staffing processes, please visit Cucumber’s website today. If you’re interested in our temporary nursing recruitment services, don’t hesitate to contact the team.

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