How ASC leaders can maintain staff amid shortage, according to MedHQ's COO

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The medical sector is experiencing a labor shortage, and many analysts predict it will only get worse as the Baby Boomer generation ages out of the workforce. Rita Hernandez Figi, COO of healthcare human resources management firm MedHQ, told Becker's ASC Review about some of the strategies leaders should know to maintain staffing in the face of the shortage.

Note: This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Question: What resources or strategies can ASC leaders leverage to overcome the worker shortage?

Ms. Figi: I can't tout enough how important it is to bring name recognition into the market. Don't underestimate recruiting either. Recruiting takes time. You need to be recruiting all the time. This isn't just when you have an opening. You should be out there talking about your surgery center and the good that you bring to the community.

Rely on referrals. … Talk to your current employees. Do they know anyone? 

[Know] your nursing schools. [Know] the schools that produce your medical assistants or your surgical techs in the area. Who's doing the certifying? Stay in touch with those schools. Those people can also be good leads to a pipeline of candidates. 

There's also the opportunity to do externships with some of these schools, especially when it comes to medical assistants and surgical techs and the like. These are your future employees. So don't be afraid of assisting someone who may need some hours for certification, because in the long run, that could also be a good pipeline for your organization. 

When you talk to a candidate, the timing may not be right for them right now — stay in touch with these people. You never know whether they'll have a referral for you in the future, or they themselves may come into a circumstance that changes. 

And once you recruit someone, let's not forget that finding someone is only part of the challenge. When you find someone, you need to make sure you stay engaged with that candidate throughout the entire process. Many times it's a couple of weeks before someone starts; with the labor shortage being what it is today, don't be surprised if somebody else hires your candidates away from you before day one.

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