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Using Agency Nurses to Fill RN Vacancies Within Specialized Hospice and Palliative Care

Journal title
Policy, politics & nursing practice
Publication year
Cozad, M. J.; Lindley, L. C.; Mixer, S. J.

The use of agency nurses offers flexibility in filling registered nurse (RN) openings during times of shortage, yet little is known about their use in specialized palliative care. In an effort to fill this knowledge gap, this study determined whether significant relationships existed between full-time and part-time RN vacancies and the use of agency RNs within specialized hospices that deliver perinatal end-of-life care to women and their families in the event of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or other neonatal complications resulting in death. This study used data from the 2007 National Home and Hospice Care Survey and multivariate regression methods to estimate the association between RN vacancies and agency RNs use. Approximately 13% of perinatal hospices in 2007 used agency nurses. Increases in full-time RN vacancies are associated with a significant increase in the use of agency RNs, while part-time RN vacancies are associated with a significant decrease in agency RNs. These results suggest that full-time agency RNs were used as a supplemental workforce to fill vacancies until the full-time position is recruited. However, for part-time vacancies, the responsibilities of those positions shifted onto existing staff and the position was not filled.

Research abstracts