Health Care Staffing Frequently Asked Questions for Staffing Clients

  • Health care organizations are tapping into the flexible workforce to keep fully staffed during busy times. They are turning to staffing to grow their businesses; address seasonal labor fluctuations, acuity needs, and the opening and closing of units; provide for unanticipated vacancies; and assist with fluctuations in census or business project management; software conversions; and other critical challenges.

    Whether it is a temporary job lasting a few months or several years—or a permanent job placement—staffing companies allow businesses to adjust their workforces to meet their changing needs.

  • Staffing companies are experts at recruiting. A staffing firm has the expertise to find the best candidate (or candidates) for client needs and affords companies the flexibility to address skills shortages or fluctuating demand. Staffing firms also handle unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, and tax issues for their temporary and contract workers.

  • Health care sector staffing firms offer a wide variety of services, including, but not limited to, recruitment of viable candidates for open positions, technology-on-demand to review credentials of candidates and employees, tracking of continuing education, license verification, skills validation, clinical assessment testing, certifications, and background checks and other screenings.

  • The types of positions that health care staffing firms fill are exceedingly wide, and range from per diem and daily staffing, longer-term contracts, temporary-to-permanent, and direct-hire placements in a wide variety of medical working environments. The specific positions include nursing professionals (registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and licensed practical nurses), therapists, (physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory), advanced medical professionals, medical technologists, certified nursing assistants, dietitians, social workers, home health care workers, medical records, billing, and coding personnel, case managers, and discharge planners.

  • Positions in high demand include specialized registered nurses and advanced practice specialties, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physicians, therapists, pharmacists, and medical staff with experience in specific health information technology systems (coders, billers, and health information and case managers). Allied health care professionals also are needed, such as registered dietitians, medical technologists, and patient care associates.

    Many staffing firms recruit nationally and can help clients find the best candidate—especially in areas that are observing specific skill shortages. Staffing firms are trusted partners to find the best talent and have the knowledge to educate their clients on competitive wages and benefits based on skill shortages and other challenges.

  • Yes, many staffing firms allow clients to hire a temporary or contract employee as a permanent member of their teams. This process varies by staffing firm, but typically a placement fee is negotiated with the staffing firm to complete the hiring process.

  • Hospitals, acute care facilities, home health care companies, hospice agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, physician practices, outpatient surgery centers, clinics, correctional facilities, schools, pharmaceutical companies, health care software companies, wellness centers, rapid response organizations, government agencies, drug stores, and various health care affiliate organizations of all sizes use staffing services.

  • Day-to-day oversight of the employee varies for each specific staffing firm and negotiated arrangement, but is generally provided by the client’s on-site supervisor. Other responsibilities are managed by the staffing firm, including, but not limited to, payroll, insurance and other benefits, and workers’ compensation—alleviating human resource-related paperwork challenges, allowing the client to focus on its core business.

  • ASA members pledge to adhere to a code of ethics and best practices—most of which deal with employee and employer relations. Moreover, because ASA promotes legal, ethical, and professional practices for the staffing industry, its members are kept abreast of the latest developments in labor and employment laws and human resource best practices. One of the principal missions of ASA is to encourage high standards of ethical conduct in dealings with employees, clients, and competitors.

  • To find a staffing firm that specializes in the health care sector, visit the ASA member staffing firm directory on

  • Staffing companies employed an average of 3.3 million temporary and contract workers per week in 2015, and over the course of the year, staffing firms hired a total of 15.9 million temporary and contract employees. Approximately 9% of U.S. temporary and contract employees work in the health care sector.

  • Three words: flexible labor force. Companies are tapping into the flexible workforce to keep fully staffed during busy times.

  • Supplemental nurses are just as educated, slightly less experienced, and more diverse than permanent nurses, according to a 2013 study published in Health Affairs. Supplemental nurses also are more likely to hold nursing licenses in several states simultaneously. Another study, published in Health Services Research, examined the role of supplemental nurses during shortages in U.S. hospitals and concluded that hiring temporary nurses could alleviate shortages that could contribute to higher patient mortality.

    In addition, “[o]verall patient satisfaction with care and evaluations of quality of nurse communications are not affected by the employment of supplemental (temporary or contract) nurses compared to permanent nurses,” according to a 2014 study led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, published in the Journal of Nursing Administration.