6 Considerations for hiring PRN Staff

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Hiring for a PRN position is no different than a normal full time or part time position. Typically, PRNs will fill in at multiple sites and do not have standard hours. They may be used to fill minimum staffing requirements when the number of patients is higher than expected or cover for staff who are out on vacation.
Hospitals or clinics may have multiple PRN pools for different areas. Some examples include: Rad Tech, Nursing, Office Staff, or Locums Tenens.

Here are 6 considerations for hiring a PRN employee:

1) Follow the hiring process for full time employees.

Many organizations make the mistake of not following the same process for hiring PRNs as they do for full time employees. As tempting as it is to short cut your hiring process, you are only doing yourself a disservice if you are not fully vetting each employee.
When working, a PRN represents your organization the same as any employee; they should be held to the same standards. In some cases, they may have even higher standards because they can fill in at multiple locations. By following the same process, you can ensure that you meet all legal and regulatory requirements.

2) Attend training prior to being added to the pool.

As important as computer systems are to the daily function of almost everyone in your organization, it makes sense that all employees are fully trained before starting to use those systems. In some cases, employees will not receive access until after they complete training.
Workflows may be different at each location; you need to make sure the candidate has been trained to handle those differences.

3) Validate appropriate credentials.

Depending on the role of the PRN staff, there can be many types of credentialing that you are required to verify and maintain. Some examples include: RN License, LPN License, BLS/ALS Certifications, HIPAA Training and many others)
You should verify that the licenses are valid and have a system for tracking the expiration dates on these credentials. Expiration dates have a way of sneaking up on you.

4) PRN on-boarding expenses should be overhead.

In most organizations, PRN staff expense is allocated directly to the department they work. If the PRN staff will be used in multiple departments, the expense of training and hiring a candidate needs to be considered a general overhead expense. This action leads to a larger pool of PRN staff, which can greatly reduce the frustration of trying to find someone who can work on a specific day.

5) Determine the PRN pool size that works for you.

An employee in the PRN poll is not always available to work; however, they frequently require a certain number of hours or a semi-regular schedule to make it worth staying in your pool. Having the right size is critical to keeping good employees available when you need them. Start by asking your candidates about their ideal work schedule and work with them to determine how this schedule can work within your needs.

6) Set clear expectations.

Being in a PRN position means there is no set schedule when they will be working. They may be used to fill gaps in coverage for a few hours or scheduled full time for weeks. The staff needs to understand how often they are required to be available to work and the typical notice they will receive. Having both clear and fair expectations will ensure everyone is happy with the arrangement.

The conclusion every hiring manager comes to is that it is best to hire your PRN pool before you need them. Having a fully trained and qualified staff available can give you peace of mind.

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