News & Opinions

Finding nurses is a costly exercise.
05 December 2007

A hospital can spend R1.5m or more every month on agency fees for nurses. So says Ken Ford, founder of SA's first public and private Internet-based nursing agency. For hospitals, finding nurses on demand for specific shifts has become increasingly costly and difficult. There's the cost of trained managerial hospital staff, who often spend hours on the phone to identify an available nurse through their own contact sources. That's because nurses who are working aren't available to answer their cellphones because they're busy taking care of patients. Off-shift nurses are often sleeping, and so aren't answering their phones.

So care institutions rely on agencies to help find nurses. The trouble is that the approximately 130 nursing agencies around the country are regionally based,
and have a relatively small number of nurses to choose from, so hospitals have to call several agencies before they find the right kind of skill.
The trouble is that nurses are usually registered with more than one agency. So the agency may contact a nurse for work,
only to find that another agency has already booked her at another hospital.

Then there's the cost of the agency to consider.
For somebody to make a decision to hire an agency nurse, the manager needs to get authorisation from hospital management to ensure the hospital remains within its budget.
All of these phone calls, agency commissions and managerial time add up quickly and start costing the hospitals a packet.
The whole system is inefficient.

But with Cyber Nurse all those costs are reduced dramatically.
Firstly, Cyber Nurse has over 12,000 nurses on its books -- probably the largest database of nurses in the country.
This makes finding a nurse for a shift almost certain.Secondly, Cyber Nurse charges substantially less than other agencies because of its economies of scale.
Finally, the days of spending hours on the phone are over. Now, finding and booking a nurse is almost as easy as doing a Google search.

Using the Cyber Nurse system you search for nurses that meet the requirements for a particular shift. The system comes up with several options that meet your criteria.
To book them, you tick the boxes next to their descriptions. This sends the nurses and SMS that tells them your shift is available.

If they can make it, they reply with a "Yes." You get a confirmation from the system, and the nurse gets a confirmation SMS.
The whole process takes minutes instead of hours, and translates into a saving of millions of rand a year.
It costs nothing to join the system, so hospitals can use it as much -- or as little -- as their budget allows.
And Cyber Nurse offers discounts to groups of hospitals who decide to standardise on its platform.