Nursing Staffing Background Check Best Practices

background check

Say you’re a nursing staffing company that provides licensed healthcare professionals to big hospitals and other healthcare practices. You hire a few nurses you think will do a great job caring for patients and collaborating with doctors and other hospital staff. Everything seems to be going perfectly until one of your employees is caught stealing prescription drugs. Turns out, that employee has been dealing with drug addiction for the last four years. What could you have done to prevent this scenario? Perform a background check.

Best practices for nurse staffing background checks:

If you’re a nursing staffing agency, the first step providing top care professionals to medical facilities is running background checks for nurses. Background checks are vital to ensure the safety of patients and staff members alike. Failure to run regular background checks could result in lawsuits, injury, or major damage to a medical facility’s reputation and credibility. In the nursing staffing industry, you want to make sure you’re hiring topnotch professionals in the field. As such, it is extremely important to review an individual based on their current and past experiences.

Thorough checks include anything from fingerprinting, to child abuse registry checks, to education reports.  Additionally, your nursing staffing agency will want to follow up regularly to ensure your employees are always on the right track. Where do you start?

Be Informed About Background Check Procedures

The first step to performing successful background checks is making sure that you and your team are fully informed about each procedure. Before you start any sort of screening, see what your state’s requirements are for nurses. In fact, not all states mandate background checks for nurses. Therefore, it’s important to know criminal record check criteria based on your location. For more information on the states that do not require these screening practices, take a look at PreCheck’s article.

Once you are fully aware of your state’s criteria, you’ll want to make sure your employees are also informed about the procedure. When performing these tests, disclosure is vital. Not only will you save time, but you will also be able to address any problem before it becomes serious. Your employees should know what your staffing company expects of them before they are hired. Additionally, your employees’ references should be fully aware that they will be contacted in the future to verify any claimed work experience or ethic. Neither your employee nor their references should be surprised that any portion of the screening process is taking place.

Establish an All-Inclusive Screening Program

Your background check procedure should do the following:

  • Verify a license to practice
  • Verify education
  • Check for any criminal background or disciplinary charges (incl. child abuse and sex offender charges)
  • Confirm identity
  • Run drug tests
  • Check health inclusion lists
  • Contact previous employers and validate employment history

Performing your background checks extensively and regularly will assure that your nursing staffing industry stays in good standing and hires the most qualified professionals. The screening practices above are necessary to prevent potentially troublesome individuals from entering the medical field. They will also serve as a solid foundation for documenting the credentials of your entire staff.

Set Up a Random Drug Testing Program

Unfortunately, some workers in the healthcare industry abuse drugs they have access to at work. To ensure this doesn’t happen, it is important to regularly check up with your employees’ condition and prevent any sort of substance abuse beforehand. Your staff should undergo drug testing before they are hired. But, you should also follow up this pre-screening with random drug tests throughout their employment. Like the other checks, your employees should be fully aware that their position obligates random drug testing and that it is your right as an employer to perform these tests.

Conduct Post Hire Background Checks

In addition to following up with drug test results, it may also be useful to conduct background checks after an employee has been hired. While only a few nursing staffing companies perform these post-hire checks, they are a good way to protect your company’s liability. Re-screening your current nursing staff allows you to continually update the information you already have in your system. Let’s say a nursing employee receives a DUI, for example. Your nursing staffing company should be aware of this charge in case it poses a problem down the line. Think about it this way: anything can happen at any time. So, stay updated. While the recommended amount of time between checks varies, it is best to follow up every 2-5 years.

Having a solid background check system is important for the success of your nursing staffing company. You want to be able to hire and provide top health professionals to hospitals and be confident with your choices. To guarantee the safety of your staff and their patients, make sure that you are up to date with your background check practices. In the long run, doing so will save you a lot of trouble and mitigate the risk of a lawsuit. Review your nursing staffing company’s system and adjust accordingly. Undoubtedly, your clients will appreciate the dedication and attentiveness you put toward providing them, superior employees.

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