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How to recruit and retain nurses


Skilled nurses are important assets to any care facility.

With the healthcare industry experiencing significant changes, many of which lead to care facilities attempting to do more with less, hiring the right registered nurses and successfully retaining their talent is particularly critical. 

Recruiting skilled nurses has become more difficult as today’s nurses become more highly specialized, in both care setting and experience. Often, nurses may not be actively looking for another opportunity, but will change teams for what they perceive as the right opportunity for them.

“If you look across all professions people want a pay check but most nurses want to do the best work of their life,” Dr. John Sullivan, a HR professor, corporate speaker and advisor told Glassdoor. “It’s not will you pay me. It’s do you have the best equipment, do you have the best doctors, do the nurses get the opportunity to make decisions and try new things.”

Because nurses often rank the working environment and experience higher than their pay when making an employment decision, employers need to ensure that they are putting their best foot forward in collateral promoting available opportunities. Focus on what qualities set apart your care facility from competitors, and the aspects that current employees most enjoy about working there. 

Nurses also heavily rely on word-of-mouth referrals for new positions. In that regard, it can be beneficial to post open positions in nurse locker rooms and lunch areas. Not only does this boost word-of-mouth references, it can lead to more internal applications for open positions. 

Of course, to ensure that new hires have a positive affect on facility HCAHPS ratings, it is important to add a healthcare aptitude test to the hiring process. This not only helps to ensure a rapid positive impact, it can save valuable resources by  avoiding interviewing and pursuing under qualified candidates.