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The Best Ways to Recruit Top Nursing Staff

4 min readSeptember, 06 2023

A healthcare organization is only as good as its frontline caregivers. Skilled, compassionate nurses provide exceptional patient care and strengthen their organization’s reputation.

Developing a nursing recruitment plan requires knowing where to look for and how to entice potential candidates. Nurse leaders must develop and implement nursing recruitment and onboarding strategies that attract and retain the best candidates for their open roles.

Connect with Nursing Schools and Programs

The first step in recruiting nurses is knowing where to find the highly skilled talent you seek:

  • Build strong relationships with reputable nursing schools and programs near you.
  • Set up speaking engagements at schools and provide internship opportunities.
  • Identify nurse recruiting strategies you can leverage, such as webinars, seminars, and conferences where you can network with peers and prospective hires.

Engaging with potential nursing candidates helps you identify the right people for your organization and team.

Craft a Clear, Detailed Job Description

To attract the best nursing talent, it’s essential to clearly outline the required qualifications, job responsibilities, and experience level and describe your organization’s vision and how a specific role fits within that vision. Be sure to include the job’s essential functions and conduct a functional job analysis listing the physical demands each position requires. Doing this will help guide you if any accommodations are requested at the time of hire or when employees return to work after an illness or injury.

You’ll want to invite candidates to showcase specialized skills or certifications required or desired for a position. The more specific you are in your job description, the better your chance of drawing in the best-suited nurses for the position. Also, focusing on the impact of a specific role is a good way to inspire potential nurse candidates to become a part of your organization.

Showcase What Makes Your Organization Appealing

When developing a nursing recruitment plan, as with a job description, highlight the features of your organization that will entice and inspire candidates. Describe your company’s values, culture, diversity, and team dynamic. Be transparent about benefits such as compensation, health insurance, paid time off, sign-on bonuses, or relocation assistance, if available.

During the nurse recruitment process, highlight your commitment to personal growth and potential advancement opportunities. It’s also important to be transparent about potential challenges a new employee may encounter, such as current staffing issues and if overtime or weekend rotations are occasionally required. Also, make an action plan to address these issues. This level of honesty goes a long way toward establishing trust among your new hires. Remember that you’re looking for the ideal fit — and so are job seekers.

Establish a Structured Interview Procedure

Prepare to meet multiple candidates during the nurse recruiting interview process. To help home in on the best candidates, create a thorough review of résumés, applications, and cover letters. Note standout characteristics such as special qualifications, personality traits like confidence and resilience, and relevant experience. When meeting with your top candidates, assess their critical thinking and organizational skills, clinical knowledge, and ability to work cohesively with a team.

Stay Current on Technology

Demonstrating a forward-thinking work environment is an excellent way to attract top nursing talent. Leveraging technology is an innovative way to recruit nurses and enhance efficiency. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools and applicant tracking systems (ATS) can help to streamline the application and recruitment process.

Use Social Media to Broaden Your Search

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are excellent for broadcasting opportunities and reaching a wider talent pool. The content posted by your organization gives candidates a better sense of the core values at their potential new workplace. Likewise, reviewing potential candidates’ social media posts provides insight into their backgrounds. It can indicate personality traits, future goals, and achievements, which may be critical factors when narrowing down top candidates.

A group of medical professionals sitting around a table

Ask Your Staff for Insight

You trust, rely on, and appreciate your staff’s work ethic. They know the department’s inner workings and function as a unit daily. Who better to share insight on successful qualities and traits of a new team member than your current staff? Involve them whenever possible and get their honest feedback to ensure that any new addition will mesh with the team dynamic.

You Found the Ideal Nurse – Now Keep Them

After successfully navigating nurse recruitment challenges and securing your top candidate, the focus shifts from nurse recruitment to onboarding, training, and retention. Reinforcing the new hire’s responsibilities and opportunities helps them understand expectations and keeps them satisfied and engaged. Developing mentorship and career advancement programs are excellent ways to foster a work culture that promotes collaboration, positivity, and recognition.

Check out this Nurse Focus video: The Best Ways to Find and Retain the Best Staff.

Check in regularly to ensure your new hires are confident and engaged and address potential pain points. Keeping the lines of communication open builds a secure and trusting relationship, boosts your organization’s reputation, and strengthens its overall success. Most importantly, your proactive approach promotes a unified team that delivers exceptional patient care.


Images sourced from Getty Images

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