In the news: Temp nursing agencies a haven for unfit nurses

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, December 22, 2009

The Los Angeles Times published an exposé this month about temporary nursing firms that fail to perform thorough background checks on nurses they hire to fill the temporary staffing needs of hospitals in California.

The article contains shocking tales of nurses with criminal records, suspended licenses in other states, or serious allegations of unprofessional conduct who nonetheless are hired by temporary agencies and sent to work at California hospitals. When unsuspecting hospitals have problems with nurses and instruct agencies to not send that individual again, the nurses are often simply placed with another facility. Nurses fired by one agency can be easily hired by another.

The article was a warning to hospitals who turn to temporary agencies to help fill both long- and short-term staff shortages. The temporary nursing industry is a $4 billion behemoth, and agencies run the gamut from firms with strict background checks that provide hospitals with well-qualified and vetted staff to those that hire nurses without even conducting an interview.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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