What is Supplemental Nurse Staffing?

Supplemental nurse staffing is fundamental in sustaining the employee demands of hospitals, healthcare institutions, and community clinics.

Supplemental nurses temporarily fill vacant positions when a healthcare facility is low on staffing.

As a result, they provide necessary assistance to healthcare departments and institutions requiring supplemental aid.

Types of Supplemental Nursing Staff

The supplemental nursing staff primarily comprises registered nurses who temporarily fill open nursing positions.

It includes float pool nurses, PRN nurses, per diem nurses, seasonal nurses, travel nurses, and other temporary staff.

Supplemental Team:

  • Float nurses
  • Per diem nurses
  • PRN nurses
  • Seasonal nurses
  • Travel nurses

Some occupations, like travel nursing, allow healthcare professionals to operate across the United States.

Travel nurses work on temporary assignments at hospitals and healthcare facilities for specific periods.

During their assignments, they may specialize in a particular department, such as critical care, general nursing, or pediatrics.

It enables them to operate in diverse disciplines and helps shortage-staffed departments receive adequate support.

Other occupations, like per diem nurses, work on call or pick up supplemental shifts at different locations.

These healthcare specialists typically work locally, allowing hospitals and healthcare facilities to fill empty positions quickly.

Each discipline offers unique skills and capabilities to keep healthcare facilities operating smoothly and efficiently.

Supplemental Staffing Responsibilities

The supplemental nursing staff comprises registered nurses who support healthcare departments requiring extra staff.

As a result, these professionals perform the same responsibilities as permanent, full-time registered nurses.

It includes monitoring patients, updating medical records, administering medications, assisting with treatments and procedures, and providing bedside care.

Supplemental staff also educate patients about their conditions, provide emotional support, answer questions, supervise LPNs and CNAs, and assist physicians and other specialists.

Supplemental Nurse Duties:

  • Assess patient’s medical condition (observe and interpret symptoms)
  • Evaluate patients throughout the rehabilitation process
  • Administer medications and treatments
  • Educate patients about their injury, illness, and ailments
  • Provide emotional support to patients and families
  • Collaborate with nurses and doctors/physicians to develop care plans
  • Update medical records and documentation
  • Supervise LPNs, CNAs, and nursing assistants
  • Assist patients in the ICU, ED, critical care, trauma unit, and other sensitive environments
  • Feed, bathe, and clean patients unable to care for themselves
  • Remove Stitches
  • Perform various bedside duties
  • Assist with additional hospital/healthcare facility needs

Where Does Supplemental Nursing Staff Work?

Supplemental nurses work in various healthcare environments to accommodate the needs of their employers.

It includes physician offices, walk-in clinics, intensive care units, hospitals, and other services requiring supplemental aid.

Each healthcare institution has unique requirements, employee needs, and work demands.

As a result, supplemental nursing staff may have different responsibilities based on their employer.

Occupational Settings:

  • Colleges
  • Community centers
  • Doctor offices
  • Emergency rooms
  • Geriatric care centers
  • Health care facilities
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Intensive care units
  • Laboratories
  • Nursing homes
  • Nurse practitioner offices
  • Psychiatric care facilities
  • Research centers
  • School districts
  • Universities
  • Walk-in clinics

As previously mentioned, supplemental nursing is comparable to travel nursing.

Notably, it comprises float nurses, PRN nurses, per diem nurses, seasonal nurses, travel nurses, and other temporary staff.

These specialists help healthcare facilities fill vacant positions or meet the demands of a nursing shortage.

A supplemental nurse may operate at several healthcare institutions in a given year or assist a single employer who owns multiple hospitals/facilities.

Occupational Requirements

Supplemental nurses provide their services to healthcare facilities that don’t have adequate staffing time to provide extensive training to new employees.

As a result, supplemental staff must quickly adapt to varying situations and be open to meeting new people and coworkers.

They must also be highly educated and understand nursing practice and procedures.

Supplemental nurses must perform all of the duties of a standard registered nurse within a short time.

Therefore, adapting quickly and developing relationships are vital components of supplemental nursing.

Supplemental nurses need to be comfortable working with unfamiliar staff and vice versa.

Therefore, excellent communication is essential in nursing and patient care.

How to Become a Supplemental Nurse

The path to becoming a supplement nurse is relatively straightforward.

Nevertheless, aspiring nurses must develop their skills, expertise, and mindset to work effectively in this career.

This section focuses on the steps necessary to become a supplemental nurse.

It includes attending a nursing program, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, and obtaining work experience.

1. Attend a Nursing Program

Individuals who want to become supplemental nurses must attend a nursing program at a college or university.

To gain acceptance, students must complete the nursing school prerequisites and maintain an excellent GPA.

After completing the prerequisites, nursing school candidates will need to determine which degree they want to pursue.

Most schools offer a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

The two-year program is fantastic for students who want to enter the field and earn money quickly.

It also enables graduates to begin developing career experience for advanced positions.

Nevertheless, many non-entry-level nursing positions prefer or require registered nurses with a BSN.

It ensures that registered nurses have adequate knowledge, training, and competency to operate effectively.

As a result, you may want to continue pursuing a BSN, even if you begin working after acquiring your ADN.

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN exam

After nursing school, students must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

The NCLEX-RN exam tests students’ competencies to operate effectively as registered nurses.

It also enables students to obtain their licensure to work as licensed registered nurses.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) administers the examination.

3. Obtain Work Experience

After obtaining licensure, you’ll want to get sufficient hands-on experience helping patients in direct care at a hospital or healthcare facility.

Most healthcare institutions look for nurses with proper training and work experience for supplemental nursing positions.

As a result, you may need up to three years of work experience before working as a supplemental nurse.

Some supplemental healthcare staff due get hired after a year of experience.

Nevertheless, acquiring as much hands-on training, education, and direct care experience as possible is highly beneficial.

It enables you to perform more competently, request higher pay, manage more responsibilities and provide better care.

Is an ADN or BSN Degree Better?

Obtaining a BSN isn’t always necessary to get a supplemental nurse job.

However, pursuing a BSN is beneficial because it provides sufficient education and training to pursue various specialties.

Registered nurses with an ADN are often limited in the medical assistance they can provide patients due to less training.

It may also be wise to take additional certification courses while working as a registered nurse.

It shows the employer that the applicant is serious about work and is prepared to handle any situation.

Additional Resources: