To recruit nurses, some hospitals dangle a Hawaiian vacation—but there are easier tactics, too

Nursing shortage is fueled by retiring nurses, aging patients

A nursing shortage is forcing some hospitals to think outside the box when it comes to recruitment, Jodie Jackson writes for the Columbia Tribune.

The shortage is fueled by an aging population, an increase in clinicians reaching retirement age, and an increase in patients with chronic conditions.

At the same time, competition for RNs is fiercer than ever. "Organizations need different types of roles than they did in the past and there are new competitors in the market," Advisory Board Consultant Micha'le Simmons tells the Daily Briefing. "Health systems aren't just competing with the hospital down the street. They are competing with CVS and Walmart."

That makes having a sound RN recruitment strategy all the more important, Simmons says.


Some hospitals are turning to generous incentive programs to recruit RNs. At Boone Hospital, a full-time RN with at least six months of experience gets a $5,000 signing bonus, while RNs with five or more years of experience receive $10,000, the Tribune reports.

Some organizations are offering referral bonuses, too. At University of Missouri Health Care, staff members receive thousands of dollars for recruiting RNs to its neurosciences, internal medicine, and psychiatric ICUs and become eligible to win raffle prizes, such as an all-expenses-paid tropical vacation to Hawaii.

"I've seen many, many approaches to the various nursing shortages," says Peter Callan, the university's director of national acquisition. "We just chose to be innovative."

New pipelines

Other organizations are focusing on creating pipelines for nursing students to enter the workforce. Central Methodist University has an accelerated bachelor of nursing program and encourages recent graduates to work at CMU's hospital, the Tribune reports. Other hospitals are creating nursing residency programs.

Meanwhile, Boone Hospital recently staged a nursing career fair to recruit more ICU nurses, offering attendees tours of the hospital and opportunities to talk with nurses and hiring managers.

"They were actually interviewing people on the spot," says Monica Smith, Boone's VP of patient care services and CNO. The hospital aims to hire five more ICU nurses from its upcoming nursing fair, which Smith says is a "lofty goal" (Jackson, Colombia Tribune, 6/18).

Easier approaches

While recruitment fairs can pay off, they also require an upfront investment of time and resources. Advisory Board's Simmons recommends alternative, less-resource-heavy ways to guide nurses into your organization. For instance, a chat function on an application website allows prospective applicants to message recruiters immediately about a position and ask any clarifying questions. It also helps recruiters guide applicants toward the right opportunity for their skill set.

How a six-minute video helps Children's Mercy hire the right team

And it's less time-intensive for recruiters. "A recruiter can multitask and chat with people while carrying out usual duties at their desk," Simmons adds.

It's also important not to forget about candidates who don't get one job but could be a great fit for another, Simmons says. "You may have three great candidates for a position but only one role to fill," she says. "The hiring manager can follow-up with the two RNs who weren't hired and funnel them elsewhere in the organization. Don't waste great talent, especially during a staffing shortage."

For more information on how to update your recruiting playbook for 2016, join Simmons for HR Advancement Center's three-part webconference series.

In Part 1 on Tuesday, October 4, you'll learn why yesterday's recruitment strategies aren't working, pinpoint the shortcomings in your application process, and identify strategies to engage applicants before they apply.

In Part 2 on Tuesday, October 18, you'll learn two essential strategies for improving hiring manager and recruiter effectiveness, so that your recruiters identify—and your hiring managers win—stand-out candidates.

Finally, in Part 3 on Tuesday, November 1, you'll learn specific strategies for courting the most coveted talent: candidates who are already employed at other organizations.

Register for the webconferences

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