The rise of startup companies, expanded technologies that make working remotely accessible and a proliferation of freelance or short-term opportunities have significantly transformed the way people work across the United States. The flexibility of this so-called “gig economy” offers many benefits for both employers and employees across many industries, but applying these innovations to the healthcare industry can be challenging due to the hands-on nature of the field. Nomad Health is hoping to change that.
Nomad is an online platform that enables healthcare professionals and hospitals to connect to fill short-term freelance positions, known as locum tenens, without the traditional “middleman” recruiter. In addition to creating a more efficient and cost-effective way for hospitals to hire qualified staff, the platform is hoping to help address the nursing shortage by allowing nurses to find flexible jobs more easily. We recently spoke with Alexi G. Nazem, MD, MBA, co-founder and CEO of Nomad Health, about the platform and its potential benefits for nurses.
Nursing Notes (NN): How has the nursing shortage impacted the healthcare system?
Alexi: One of the most critical challenges facing the healthcare system today is the nursing shortage. It is expected that by 2022, there will be a shortage of 1.2 million nurses. This is driven by an aging Baby Boomer population and a rising burden of chronic disease.
NN: Why is addressing the nursing shortage important?
Alexi: Ultimately, patients will be the ones who are affected most, so it is more important than ever for the healthcare community to figure out how to expand the capabilities of the workforce to ensure that we can meet the needs of every patient. We’ve made it our mission at Nomad Health to use modern technology to do just that.
NN: What sparked the idea for the Nomad platform?
Alexi: There is no easy way to survey all available job opportunities, and even once you find a job you’re interested in, the process of getting vetted – from licensing and credentialing to getting trained and onboarded – is often inefficient and mired in paperwork and phone calls. This is especially true when looking for freelance work. Nomad completely digitizes the entire hiring process. This saves substantial time and money for clinicians and employers alike, which ultimately helps ensure continuation of great patient care.
NN: How does your career search platform differ from others like it?
Alexi: By cutting out intermediary agency brokers, Nomad empowers clinicians and employers to find each other and interact directly and transparently. Nomad gives nurses and doctors free access to all job information, including actual pay rates, dates, and locations. The normally cumbersome process of using paper, phone, and fax is digitized, meaning that applications, malpractice insurance, licensing, credentialing, and even payments are all handled online and seamlessly through Nomad.
NN: How does this digital solution help address the nursing shortage?
Alexi: In the context of today’s critical nursing shortage, it’s more important than ever to reducing the burdens of administration so we can all focus on what matters most: taking care of patients. By digitizing the hiring process and removing middleman brokers, it is significantly faster to find and hire great travel nurses to meet urgent patient demands. This also drives significant cost savings for hospitals and clinics by removing recruiter fees - a savings which ultimately get passed back to nurses and patients in need.
NN: How do nurses benefit from using the Nomad platform?
Alexi: Most importantly, Nomad gives nurses a simple way to join the travel nursing workforce and work as freelancers. Nomad provides complete transparency about job details, including actual pay rates, dates, facility names, and more. For any questions about jobs, nurses can now directly message with the medical employer online to help clarify and negotiate pay rates.
NN: Does Nomad Health have plans to expand its services for nurses in the future?
Alexi: Absolutely. Right now, our freelance travel nursing positions are primarily in Texas, which is one of the 25 Nurse Licensure Compact states. This means if you are licensed in one of these 25 states, you already have a multistate license to work in Texas. And this is just the beginning. Nomad will continue expanding to more states across the U.S. all throughout 2017 and 2018.