Recruiting Nurses

Few would argue that there is a significant shortage in the nursing workforce, and the severity will only worsen. According to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, there were 126,000 unfilled nursing positions in 2014. By 2020, the shortage will reach roughly 400,000 positions. Nurses entering the workforce have a position of leverage allowing them to negotiate for higher wages, more benefits, and more lucrative job prospects. Negotiating, however, may not be as large of a concern as it has been in previous years with hospitals now offering large incentives to recruit staff.

Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida offers to pay two years of nursing education in exchange for a two-year commitment. Mercy Hospital in Miami, Florida offers even more. Retention bonuses, student loan forgiveness programs, commuter benefits, and mortgage payments are just to name a few. They also offer a “backup care” program that aids employees in finding alternative care for either a sick child or aging parent, 24-hours a day. Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama gives flat-screen TVs to new hires. They also implement a web-based “bid-shift” program where nurses can earn points for each extra shift they work. These points can go towards everything from washing their cars, to ordering flowers and picking up dry-cleaning.

Millennial nurses, in particular, are a unique population to recruit for. Millennials will require more structured entry programs, including post-graduate residencies, on-the-job mentoring and guidance, and frequent feedback and learning opportunities. Characteristics of Millennials that may differ from other generations include:

  • Growing up with technology
  • Structured and supervised childhoods with very little unscheduled time
  • Unusual respect for authority and acceptance of order
  • Belief in bargaining power

Ultimately healthcare organizations will need to become more innovative in their recruitment strategies of nurses. What used to be the recruiting function will now have to evolve into the talent acquisition function. Retention will also become a major player in providing care for patients. Education and experience are no longer enough to qualify a candidate, but the candidate also needs to display empathy and a strong sense of responsibility or motivation.


4 thoughts on “Recruiting Nurses

  1. Reducing stress and fatigue are important to controlling nurse burnout, which is highly common.I agree with all the methods you mention that nursing schools and healthcare organizations alike are implementing to recruit and retain nurses. Besides student loan forgiveness programs and retention benefits, other programs help prevent burnout by integrating wellness programs within workplace. Some examples of this are stress management programs and meditation such as that provided by Arizona Hospital. It teaches its nurses to recognize and reduce stress at its source. This is effective because it reduces nurse burnout and especially nurse administrator burnout.

    Nursing executive are known to have an especially difficult job, one that many feel unprepared for because they come from a clinical background but are faced with managerial and leadership tasks. The best way to help combat this is on the job leadership training. However, turnover among these workers is also high because many nurses go into the field hoping to feel accomplished in their work because they see the reward of treating patients. However, if mindsets can change so that nurse managers feel that their executive work is service to their patients, they are more likely to stay in the field and put forth their best.


  2. You have a very valid point, healthcare organizations will need to become more innovative in their recruitment strategies of nurses. Tri-Council, an alliance consisting of four independent nursing organizations each “focused on leadership for education, practice, and research” has recognized the growing concerns centered around the nursing shortage. As a result, they have made recommendations that can help healthcare organizations address the nursing shortage as well as other nursing workforce issues.

    One recommendation that Tri-Council has made involves education. Tri-Council believes that the education systems that educate and train our nurses should develop a series of career progression initiatives to help move nursing students and graduates through their studies more effectively and quickly as well as expose those students to a variety of options available to them that are beyond the entry-level roles. Another recommendation made by Tri-Council is creating an environment for nurses that fosters the establishment of staff development programs and lifelong learning initiatives for continued competence.

    These are just a few recommendations made by Tri-Council. On the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website there are many more recommendations that I believe may be very helpful for both education institutions as well as healthcare organizations.


    American Association of Colleges of Nursing | Strategies to Reverse the New Nursing Shortage. Retrieved 27 April 2016, from

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Becca, you make many great points in your entry. According to Hospitals & Health Networks, millennials will make up the majority of the healthcare workforce by 2025. It it important to start looking at how to recruit and retain this workforce now, as I agree that there are many differences in this generation and utilizing innovative and creative HR techniques will be essential. Things like flexible work hours, more collaboration and use of social media are important factors to look at now and in the future.


  4. As millennials, I wonder if you think that they will embrace performance improvement to a greater extent than their older co-workers? What other benefits might they find attractive?


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