The nursing shortage in the United States is nothing new. In
the years before COVID, nationwide increased need for nurses (due in part to aging
patient populations) coincided with a large percentage of the nursing workforce
nearing retirement age themselves. Through the pandemic, many of these
clinicians chose to exit the workforce, leaving healthcare organizations scrambling
to keep a full nursing staff.
Nurse burn-out is also not a new concept, but one that has been heavily highlighted throughout post-pandemic nursing shortages. Nursing recruitment should look different than it did even a few years ago, because what today's nurses experience in the workplace is different. Your practice is competing with many other organizations for a smaller pool of candidates.
To stand out as an attractive employer in this hiring climate, it's imperative your practice demonstrate they understand what top nursing candidates are looking for.
Healthy Work/Life Balance
Nurses who survived more than two years of the pandemic often experienced critical patient-to-staff ratios, and unsustainable schedules. These clinicians have put patient care above their own physical and emotional health for years - frequently, part of today's burn-out phenomenon. At the end of the day, nursing is a job. Your employees should know you prioritize their family and home life.
If your practice offers flexible scheduling, this is a benefit to promote during the recruiting process.
If your practice is currently recruiting, it's important to note compensation isn't always the number one thing nurses are looking for. Someone looking for a less stressful position may even seek a lateral or slightly lower move financially.
While your practice may not be able to pay the highest salary, be sure to highlight your complete compensation package. Do you offer loan forgiveness programs, signing bonuses or desirable paid-time-off packages? "Benefits" mean more than take home paychecks. Make sure potential candidates are aware of your total benefits.
Training and Onboarding
If you don't have a nurse residency program, establish a robust onboarding program that pairs new nurses with more experienced nurses. Building a support system for new hires demonstrates your commitment to their long-term success. Supporting new clinical staff not only improves patient care, but also help with staff retention.
Peer-to Peer Recommendations
Consider having a few members of your nursing staff create short video testimonials that describe why they chose to work in your practice. You can post these clips to your social media accounts, as well as the recruiting section of your site. Listen to these videos - what benefits or aspects of your practice are important to your most valued staff members? Use this information to inform which areas of your practice to focus on when developing new programs for employees
Workplace violence in the healthcare industry was an issue long before COVID, but incidents have dramatically increased over the past two years. Your practice needs resources that promote physical and emotional safety. Have a clear process for reporting workplace violence, de-escalation training for staff and resources to help employees cope with incidents. Having safety plans in place is just another way your organization's culture can support your clinical staff. Be sure to talk about these protocols during the interview process.
Your well-crafted recruiting message will go to waste if it never reaches your intended audience. As more nurses retire and the industry brings in younger staff, the preferred media platforms and messaging that will reach your ideas candidates are changing.
Take the time to learn where nursing candidates spend their time and get their information. Then meet them there!
Recruiting qualified nurses in this environment can seem like a daunting task. Partners like CMG Health Marketing can help you navigate challenges and stand out in a crowd. Reach out today to learn more.