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Online tool helps hospitals place staff in appropriate roles during COVID-19 pandemic


April 16, 2020

By Jennifer Thew, RN

To meet the critical need for nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals and health systems are seeking new hires and contingent staff members to supplement their workforce.

One challenge during this time is placing employees in roles that match their skills. To better facilitate the matching process, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) has launched a self-assessment tool, currently free to all facilities, to help match new hires and contingent workers with the most needed roles.

The goal of the tool is to help administrators evaluate the competence of this new workforce and assign healthcare professionals to the appropriate patient assignments or tasks that are based on their individual level of practice, according to an AMSN news release.

“Within the health care industry, this is an unprecedented time for hospital administrators and human resources,” Terri Hinkley, EdD, MBA, BScN, RN, CAE, AMSN CEO, says in a news release. “To help fill in their frontlines, they are looking to retired RNs, nurses from other specialties, and even students to support. Oftentimes these staff will be assigned to medical-surgical units. This self-assessment tool will help those making these staffing additions much easier, as administrators will find out where their contingent staffers’ strengths lie and what knowledge they have in med-surg, so they can assign them accordingly.”

The tool asks individual contingent nurses to complete a 20-minute online self-assessment survey, which they are asked to print or email and submit to the appropriate manager. According to Hinkley, institutions should make decisions that align with their own internal policies and procedures.

The competencies used in the self-evaluation survey are based on an extensive literature review, evaluation of current medical-surgical nursing role descriptions, and the practice of medical-surgical nurses from a variety of geographic, institution and practice settings, says AMSN.

The organization worked with a national task force of medical-surgical nurses and consultants on measurable competencies for nurses at all experience levels to develop the tool.

While the self-evaluation survey tool is free of charge during the pandemic, AMSN is asking those who use it to provide feedback on how the tool worked so it can be further refined and developed for future use.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders

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