Workplace Trends
June 12, 2023

The Future of Healthcare Staffing: Embracing the Gig Economy

Over 1 million new registered nurses will be needed by 2030 to meet healthcare demands in the US. To fill these labor shortage gaps, hospitals and medical centers are turning to the gig economy.  

The healthcare industry has embraced the gig economy to source talent. Using ‘Uber for nurses’ apps such as ShiftKey, hospitals are hiring healthcare workers as independent contractors to cover vacancies. It’s an effective short-term fix for a deeper issue, and it’s working

Benefits of the gig economy for healthcare companies 

There are significant benefits for healthcare companies, including access to a larger labor pool and the ability to adjust staffing needs quickly and easily.

Staffing shortages are a real problem for hospitals: they’ve been repeatedly identified as the top patient safety concern in recent years. High turnover combined with fewer nurses has led to an increased likelihood of errors in the workplace, in turn leading to higher morbidity rates—and these problems are just the tip of the iceberg. From increased administrative demands to elevated staff burnout, the repercussions of the Great Resignation have been felt across the industry. 

Benefits of the gig economy for nurses 

In search of a better work-life balance and mental well-being, many nurses are leaving full-time employment and turning to gig work. Others also turn to the gig economy to supplement their income with short-term nursing jobs. With a gig marketplace, nurses can work a schedule that suits their commitments and lifestyle. Especially in an industry that’s notorious for its levels of staff burnout, nurses gain more autonomy over when and where they work. Marketplaces can help a nurse who is also a parent pick up work that meets their schedule, increasing factors ranging from worker satisfaction to quality of patient care. 

Another advantage of the gig economy for nurses is payment flexibility. Instant payments are an increasingly sought-after perk for both W-2 and 1099 healthcare workers. With instant shift payments and fee-free EWA for employees, workers have access to meaningful perks that impact their lives.

Key to sourcing—and retaining—talent: faster pay

Overall, the gig economy and flexible staffing solutions have provided some desperately-needed relief from the impacts of the nursing shortage. While it has not resolved the ongoing shortage entirely, it’s transforming the healthcare industry in multiple ways, from providing nurses greater autonomy to helping hospitals fill shifts more easily. 

A key component to addressing the shortage is staff satisfaction, for both employees and contractors. There are multiple methods to boost worker happiness levels but fast payments are an often overlooked element. If you’re looking to keep your healthcare professionals happy by increasing their autonomy over earnings, Branch can provide a quick, easy, and free solution. 

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