Dos and Don’ts of Holiday Staffing in Healthcare

Updated: Nov 20

For many healthcare facilities, November and December tend to be the busiest time of the entire year. Between the holidays, the Coronavirus pandemic, and a stressed healthcare system, managing holiday staff and dealing with staffing emergencies remains one of the biggest challenges.


Understaffing can lead to:

  • Staff burnout

  • Lower patient satisfaction

  • Increased safety risks

  • Worse patient outcomes


To mitigate the issues that arise from understaffing, we put together these holiday staffing tips for healthcare facilities to help you have the smoothest and most successful holiday season possible.


Here is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to holiday staffing:


  • Do use staffing agencies. Whether you have last minute needs or want to fill consistent staffing gaps, staffing agencies (like Kindcare) can help you find qualified healthcare professionals during the busiest time of the year.

  • Do support your current staff. Engage with your employees in meaningful ways. Ask them how to support them on the floor and in their schedules. Let them know how appreciated they are!


  • Don’t wait until the last minute to get things done. Whether it be hiring, building schedules, setting deadlines, or planning activities, procrastinating can add stress to an already stressful time of year. Putting off these tasks can prevent you from being able to fill needs or provide a positive patient and employee experience.


  • Do communicate your needs clearly, thoroughly, and preemptively. Scheduling early can help you remain organized and prepared for staffing gaps when they arise. Working with a staffing agency and letting them know your schedule early can prevent these gaps before they happen.


  • Do take time to train employees. Proper training and clear expectations make a difference in efficiency, quality of care, and patient satisfaction. New hires and staffing agency employees are only as prepared as the training they have received in previous experiences- extra training is beneficial to holiday staffing success.


  • Don’t burn out your current employees with understaffing. Be flexible with scheduling and hire out for the additional help that will be needed.

  • Do make your holiday policies clear. Requests for time off during the holidays are inevitable. Make sure all of your employees know the expectations for holiday staffing and the policies that hold them in place. This way, there is no confusion when it comes to holiday coverage.

With careful planning and clear communication, holiday staffing can be less stressful. Preparedness is the fine line between understaffing and success. When you create an environment with adequate staffing ratios, your current staff, support staff, and patients will all be happy. You’ll have better satisfaction ratings, less scheduling conflicts, and a season that’s less hustle and bustle and more filled with holiday cheer.

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