Ten recruiting strategies to attract nurses
With the shortage of available nurses, creating personalized marketing strategies that focus on their needs will attract and retain new hires.
It is becoming more and more difficult to attract and hire nurses. Nurses account for the largest profession in the healthcare sector, yet the increasing demand for nurses is making the current shortage even more challenging for recruiters. With over 200,000 new RN positions being created each year up to the year 2026, there is not enough in the job pool to fill these positions.
There are numerous factors contributing to the huge gap between supply and demand for nurses.
- One factor is the size of the aging population which will double by 2060, increasing the need for more nurses.
- The aging population also impacts the availability of nurses since many of them are baby boomers and are retiring. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 62% of registered nurses age 54 and over are expected to retire within the next three years.
- Last year, nursing schools had to decline 75,000 qualified applications submitted due to inadequate staffing, teaching facilities, clinical sites and funds to run the programs. This decreases the number of graduating nurses able to join the workforce.
- Another factor is that less nurses are starting their careers in hospitals. The American Journal of Nursing states that there are more nurses working as managers and enrolled in formal educational programs.
- There is an increase on preventive care and growing rates of chronic illnesses that require the care of nurses.
How can you recruit nurses in an environment where there are so many uncontrollable factors? Deepening the shortage further, almost half of the nurses have considered leaving their profession. To attract more qualified candidates, it is important you implement specific strategies that have a direct positive impact on things that matters to most nurses. Use effective marketing outlets that communicate your personalized message, while emphasizing your differentiators, in order to stand out from the thousands of job posts. You will be able to connect with quality nurses to fulfill available positions and receive a continuous flow of candidates through your doors.
The following are 10 specific strategies that will make your recruitment efforts more effective:
- Advertise in various outlets – Engaging in email marketing, sponsoring at continuing education programs and conferences, placing website advertisements, and advertising in medical journals both in print and online need to continue to be the outlets to recruit nurses.
- Career advancement – By offering career advancement opportunities, you show that you are making an investment to advance the careers of your nurses. Offering new-graduate residency programs and transition-to-practice programs enable you to attract and hire new graduates into various specialties. This also helps in filling positions in specialties which are difficult to fill such as neonatal ICU. Stanford Children’s Health and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital have implemented similar programs. The result is almost 100% retention and a low 7% turn over, compared to 16.8% nurse turn over overall.
- Make it about work life balance and not just about the job – Focus on what the ideal candidate needs rather than what you want. For example, highlight the tools nurses will have access to such as support staff, top medical equipment, and continuing education. Offer counseling to help nurses deal with on the job stress, including the emotional strain of losing patients. You can also promote self-care for all nurses and integrate it in the workplace by offering programs and benefits that are easily available.
- Compensate accordingly – Understand that there is a shortage of quality nurses out in the market, so be prepared to compensate accordingly and offer a comprehensive compensation package. Offering tuition reimbursement and loan repayment programs are attractive perks for nurses.
- Offer flexible schedules – Many nurses burn out due to long working hours. Offering a flexible schedule will attract more nurses to work in hospitals since they will be able to balance personal time and work time. If you have multiple locations, you can also offer nurses more choices when choosing shifts to work at various locations. It also breaks up the repetitiveness of the job and offers a constant change of scenery.
- Utilize social media – Be active on social media outlets Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to reach both passive and active candidates by adding a career tab on your company page that links to your career site for easy access. Use videos and photos to display testimonials that highlight the work environment.
- Create nurse ambassadors – Make your best nurses brand ambassadors. It is those nurses who make up the culture of the organization. Allowing them to voice their positive views on your various marketing outlets will show candidates what a typical work day is like. Utilize their testimonials in your writing and create videos in your marketing strategies to create an emotional connection with a peer.
- Make them feel like they are a part of something – Foster a sense of community across all departments. Many nurses are attracted to working for leading institutions for recognition, support, and a sense of being a part of a place where they have a voice. It important you allow nurses to be engaged in the decision-making processes and offer praise when warranted.
- Make your brand personable and relatable – Instead of sending out generic messages to a pool of candidates, be more personal in your communications strategy by stating why they would be a good fit and how their experience is specific to what the job entails. Get top executives involved in the overall branding strategy to humanize the organization to attract experienced nurses. 47% of recruiters say they share or contribute to employer branding with marketing. “Because social media has intertwined company reputation with the customer experience, consumer-facing communications are increasingly important in shaping the employer brand,” says Richard Mosley, VP of Strategy and Advisory at Universum.
- Safety – On the job injuries and workplace violence against nurses is a huge concern. Creating processes to prevent harm to nurses and implement training for prevention shows that you care about the welfare of nurses.
It is more important than ever to be creative in your recruitment efforts to hire more nurses and be responsive to the needs of your valuable human capital. Focusing on the needs of the candidate such as a supportive work environment, incentives, and sense of community combined with a strong brand and marketing message will have a significant impact on the quantity and quality of nurses you recruit.