3 Best Practices to Level Up Nurse Recruitment

Caroline Chessia | March 2, 2022

Having a full  staff of nurses  is necessary if  you want to provide a positive  patient experienceNurses are arguably one of the greatest assets to a medical organization. Anyone who has spent time in a hospital bed will be able to tell you a story about how a nurse comforted them at a difficult time. Providing a positive patient experience is one of the main benefits of having a full staff of nurses, and in order to have a full staff, you first must focus on nurse recruitment.

Healthcare is more important than ever, but hospital staff numbers are declining. This is bad for everyone – for patients who need medical care, for doctors who need support, and for recruiting departments who are now swamped with too many open positions and not enough candidates to fill them. 

However, through our partnerships with healthcare organizations, we’ve learned that some organizations are finding the nursing shortage easier to handle. And, to be counted among the organizations doing nurse recruitment the right way you need to first learn what your nursing candidates value. But… why is there a shortage of nurses in the first place?

What is Causing the Nursing Shortage?

The nursing shortage first began back in 2012 but was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some nurses have retired, some have quit, and others have transitioned to being travel nurses, but here are 3 reasons most often cited by experts when talking about the lack of nursing candidates.

  1. Baby boomers are aging, causing more demand for professionals in the medical field. The population of people over the age of 65 saw a 73% increase in their population from 2011 – 2019, and those numbers continue to grow.
  2. Nurses are also aging and retiring. The average age of a United States nurse is 50, and the same goes for nurse educators. Without nurses to fill these slots over the next few years, the nursing shortage will continue to expand.
  3. Schools of Nursing can’t accept all qualified candidates. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), “U.S. nursing schools turned away 80,407 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2019 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and clinical preceptors, as well as budget constraints.” 

Top 3 Tips to Recruit Nurses

1. Nurse Recruitment Should Be Quick & Candidate-Friendly

Think about your standard recruiting process. How many points of contact do you have with a candidate to set up an initial interview? And then the follow-up interview? And then if the candidate has to reschedule any of these interviews? You could be looking at approximately 10 emails and phone calls back and forth for one candidate.

Nurses do not have time for this, and neither does your recruiting team, so streamlining recruitment is 100% necessary. Many organizations are already using an applicant tracking system (or ATS), but you should consider using an interview scheduler to expedite the process. 

Another way to save time is to screen your candidates via video instead of a phone screen. Pre-recorded video interviews are a great way to get to know your candidates and allow them to answer your questions on their time. Once you’ve screened your applicants, invite them to interview in person – make sure to introduce them to potential teammates and mentors as well as show them around the hospital.

2. Revise Salaries, Benefits, and Timetables

Look into your compensation and benefits packages to attract more nurses. Many nurses that aren’t tied to one area have started to work as traveling nurses during the pandemic due to the significant pay bump. Hospitals aren’t able to match these higher salaries but can attract nursing candidates in other ways, like providing competitive benefits. Low healthcare costs, an aggressive 401k match, and a generous holiday allowance could help your organization with nurse recruitment.

Nurses are also looking for flexibility. Scheduling timetables requires a lot of work, but if two nurses would like to swap – consider their request. Too often we become entrenched in doing things the way they have always been done, but more and more nurses are asking for a bit of flexibility and to have their wishes taken into consideration.

3. Expand Your Search Parameters

Nurses generally want to work in the community they live in, but the nursing shortage has hit rural communities the hardest, with only 16% of registered nurses living in these areas and serving over 50 million Americans. With so few nurses serving such a large population, you will likely have to expand your search in these areas to out-of-state candidates. 

Take a chance on recent graduates and set up a mentoring program in your hospital or healthcare organization. As long as your candidates have the schooling and right soft skills, the right training and mentoring track will transform them into great nurses.

Recruiting Nurses with interviewstream

The nursing shortage is an issue that affects all of us, and interviewstream is here to help with cost-effective strategies that will also increase speed and convenience in the hiring process. To hear more about how interviewstream can partner with your recruiting department to help you fill your nursing staff, contact one of our hiring experts today.

About The Author

Caroline Chessia is the Marketing Operations Specialist at interviewstream. She loves color-coordinated graphs, hiking in the mountains, and every dog she meets—especially the Golden Retrievers.

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