Cedars-Sinai’s Comprehensive Onboarding Program Maximizes Float Pool Capacity

March 7, 2023 | What's Working: Featured Case Studies , Workforce Solutions

The new program reduces fiscal burden for nursing leadership, increased traveler retention and provides continuity of care for patients.

Based on the study by Natasha Okonkwo, DNP, RN, SCRN and Charles Blakeley, MSN, RN, CCRN, TCRN


Cedars-Sinai Medical Center wanted to identify clinical competency needs and rapidly onboard travel nurses into medical, surgical, progressive and intensive care areas for float pool coverage.


Float Pool Travel Nurse Onboarding Course

Online modules, lectures, low-fidelity simulation-based training and skills tests

Online database REDCap expedited the documentation of participants’ progression


  • 77% Travel nurse contract extension rate
  • 483 Traveler extensions from Jan-June 2022
  • 96.2% Positive response to travel nurse post-onboarding survey


The COVID-19 pandemic created a significant staffing shortage as hospitals struggled to make space for incoming patients. Since the beginning of the pandemic, hospital staffing demands have risen by 245%, and staff turnover has increased to 30%. In order to effectively care for the volume of incoming patients, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center relied on travel nurses to fill the staffing gaps and provide necessary coverage within its float pool.

With the large volume of travelers brought on to treat a novel disease, nursing leadership, nurse professional development practitioners (NPDs) and the simulation department developed a program that rapidly onboarded float pool travel nurses. The program contained online modules, lectures, low-fidelity simulation-based training and skills validation that were trackable online.

As a result of the new float pool onboarding program, the number of contract extensions increased to 77% compared to the 38% prior to the development of the program. Additionally, 96.2% of respondents stated that they felt “very confident” or “confident” and “supported in providing safe and quality patient care” in the post-onboarding survey questionnaire. The float pool onboarding course was an instrumental tool for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center during the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel nurses felt prepared and confident to deliver safe and quality patient care in an unfamiliar environment resulting in a 77% contract extension rate. During a time when the demand for travel nurses far exceeded the staff available, Cedars-Sinai was able to provide continuity of care for patients as well as save time and money on the recruitment and onboarding of new travel nurses.

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