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An investigation by the Los Angeles Times has discovered that some temp firms that provide nurses to hospitals are taking shortcuts in the background screening process, and may be placing unqualified, incompetent and even convicted criminals as caregivers for patients. High-volume demand driven by the massive nursing shortage, scarce regulation and inadequate systems has resulted in woefully insufficient screening procedures.

The LA Times reports that some nursing registries and temp agencies have become a magnet for sub-par nurses who have revoked or restricted licenses and have racked up serious complaints (such as stealing drugs, ignoring patients, sleeping on the job and failing to perform ordered procedures). Nurses who could not be hired by a hospital can slip into a registry or temp firm without being subject to a background check. Even when firms fire inept or incompetent nurses, it’s often not difficult for them to be hired at less responsible firms that do not check their backgrounds.

Even hospitals that are most stringent about their own screening policies may not require that temp firms maintain similar background screening standards and may not conduct audits on the background check procedures of their staffing firm partners or on the quality of the nurses their registries have provided. The nursing shortage leaves hospitals, nursing homes and home health care providers with critical staffing needs, so it’s even more crucial that providers have policies in place that require all temp firms to conduct background checks that meet industry standards.

Read more about the Los Angeles Times’ findings in their article: Temp firms a magnet for unfit nurses.

To learn more about how to protect your organization from hiring sub-par nurses and discover the upcoming trends in background screening, view our complimentary webinar: 2010 Top 7 Trends in Health Care Screening

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