Having trouble filling nursing roles at your organization? 9 nursing staffing tips

Blog, Recruitment | 31 May 2019

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing projects an additional 203,700 nurses will be required by 2026.

With a high demand for nurses, US healthcare organizations are challenged with finding quality nurses to fill gaps. The number of nurses working is shrinking and the challenge only gets greater with an aging population of registered nurses taking invaluable experience with them as they retire. Organizations across the country are competing for the same high-quality talent.

Overall, nursing is a tough role. Providing quality, around-the-clock care is difficult. Nurses are feeling the pressure and experiencing high levels of burnout and leaving their roles: with turnover rates sitting between 8.8% and 37%.

Healthcare organizations are finding that their current approaches to sourcing talent aren’t as effective as they need to be. They have to get creative. Here are 9 tips to get nursing staffing right:

1. Leverage the power of social media

Connecting with nurses through social media is a great way to engage with nurses who are either actively or passively seeking roles. Platforms like Facebook have a large number of healthcare professionals as users. Social media recruiting specialists Work4 report that nearly 1.5 million US nurses use Facebook. With smartphone users checking Facebook on average 14 times per day, there’s a high chance of attracting attention. Developing advertising campaigns that are specifically targeted to location, connections and interests is a great way to reach out to passive candidates.

2. Use referrals and incorporate incentives

Nurses are highly likely to be connected with other great nurses, either through internship training, as ex-colleagues, or even in their personal friendship circles. It pays to encourage referrals to help attract top nursing talent. Incentivizing referrals with monetary rewards could also be a great way to prompt people to reach out to nurses within their social spheres.

3. Utilize internal job posting boards

Your internal job posting boards are more powerful than you think. Leverage every opportunity to promote your job boards through newsletters and internal communications to help spread the word.

4. Attend nursing careers fairs

Some organizations attend nursing careers fairs, where they can connect with upcoming graduates (and potentially recruit for roles).

5. Offer a fully-optimized careers site

If you plan to attend careers fairs, ensure that your careers site reflects your employer brand.
PageUp research shows 19% of all job applications were submitted via a mobile device, so it’s also important to ensure that your careers site is mobile-optimized to provide a seamless candidate experience.

6. Encourage graduate program enrolment

In 2010, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) introduced NursingCAS, allowing graduate nurses to apply for multiple courses to upskill and add to their qualifications. Healthcare organizations should encourage people to enrol at participating schools to help them advance their careers – and put themselves in a better position for a nursing role.

7. Offer signing bonuses

Organizations are using upfront signing bonuses to attract nurses: with some figures sitting around $25,000 (as offered by Pikeville Medical Center in eastern Kentucky).

8. Encourage paid, on-the-job training

It’s important to give people the opportunity to develop. Providing nurses with paid, on-the-job-training will help them realise their future potential with your organization. And ultimately, this could sway their decision to work for you over a competitor. An Irving-based hospital took a creative approach by giving employees and volunteers the chance to upskill to earn free associate degrees in nursing. Their strategy worked. The organization trained over 300 nurses and retained 80% of its nursing staff.

9. Build talent pools

Healthcare organizations should also consider the value of building internal talent pools using a CRM system. A talent pool is where ‘silver medallist’ candidates (who didn’t earn that gold the first time around) are nurtured until an appropriate role is available. HR teams can utilize their CRM system to send regular communications and keep people informed about the organization’s developments. When the need arises to fill roles, they are able to access top talent right at their fingertips.

By using a combination of these nine tips, forward-thinking healthcare organizations can build effective strategies to help attract, fill roles and retain nurses for the future.

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