Hospitals have had difficulty recruiting nurses due to the current shortage. The employment of registered nurses is expected to increase 15 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Registered nurses are ranked third for occupations with the most job growth.
In addition to the nursing shortage, the recession is in the past and more Americans have health insurance, creating a “resurgence of staff-level demand,” Rae Ellen Douglas of search firm Kaye Bassman International told Monster. The economic recovery has also made senior nurses more financially secure, increasing retirements.
These factors have placed more of an emphasis on how hospitals approach recruiting nurses. In a more competitive environment, the right recruiting and nurse retention strategies will dictate how employers can develop and maintain a strong workforce.
How to Recruit Nurses
Introduce an Employee Referral Program
An employee referral program helps both the organization and the current workforce. The organization is able to communicate current openings to more people through nurses’ connections, while nurses are able to play an active role in which nurses are considered (and possibly get rewarded for their input).
Sponsor a Conference or Seminar
Organizations that sponsor a conference or seminar reinforce their quality and credibility. These types of events often include nurses and other healthcare practitioners who can fit current openings or be aware of people who would be interested in open positions.
Provide a Competitive Salary and Benefits Package
Compensation is one of the most important pieces of attracting talent in many work environments. For a competitive market such as nurses, hospitals and employers need to take a close look at how salary and benefits compare to national and regional averages.
Offer a Signing Bonus
For example, Mission Health in Asheville, North Carolina, offers sign-on bonuses of $5,000 to $10,000 to nurses, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. New hires must commit to a minimum length of employment to qualify for the bonus amount. Along with referral bonuses for current employees and scholarships to help people interested in becoming certified nursing assistants, the organization hopes to fill hundreds of open nursing positions.
Promote Educational and Career Development Benefits
Focusing on professional development helps organizations cater to nurses who are looking to advance their careers. Offering professional development resources and tuition assistance can be a powerful way to attract nurses. Also, by developing current nurses, organizations don’t have to contend with other employers for top talent. “Everyone’s competing for experienced RNs that can be scarce in the market,” Jack Blake, senior director of talent acquisition for Scripps Health in San Diego, told Becker’s Hospital Review. “What we’ve decided is that we would rather grow our own staff by providing opportunities for less experienced RNs to develop their careers.”
Enlist the Help of the CEO
Having the CEO contact candidates to answer questions and invite them to join the team can demonstrate the culture of the organization. It also adds a personal touch to the process that can persuade candidates.
Start a Mentoring Program
A mentoring program is a creative solution to providing newer nurses with the experience they need, especially in departments like ER, OR and critical care where new graduates aren’t usually accepted. “I do have some clients who bring in brand new nurses to these departments – they have strong preceptor and mentoring programs,” Douglas said. “Sometimes what’s needed for more successful recruiting is not a different marketing strategy but a closer relationship between clinical leadership and HR.”
Enhancing Nursing Through Education
Current nurses can further their education to enhance the quality of patient care and pursue more advanced career opportunities. Alvernia University’s online RN to BSN degree prepares nurses for specialty and management roles. The program takes place in a convenient online learning environment that accommodates students’ work and personal schedules.