Skip to main content

Rural nursing facilities face unique challenges. With relatively low patient volume and isolated locations, it can be difficult for rural healthcare businesses to stay open and operate at full capacity. Take into account that a record number of hospitals have closed during the pandemic, and you begin to see how the challenges facing rural nursing have only increased. 

Despite these challenges, it could not be more important for your rural healthcare business to thrive. One in five Americans live in a rural area. For these residents, local healthcare businesses offer both care and important career opportunities.

Here are 6 tips on how to recruit nurses in rural areas successfully.

1. Partner With University Programs

Recruiting nurses is a competitive game, but that doesn’t mean every qualified nurse is having an easy time landing a job. Recent graduates can struggle to find a position—and employers who need more staff would be wise to connect with them directly. 

Reach out to nursing programs in your region and see if you can participate in job fairs, or even send a speaker to a class. This strategy is especially powerful if you can offer advancement opportunities like additional training or mentorship programs. Many nursing students also graduate with suffocating debt. Offering assistance with student loans can be one of the many uncommon benefits that attract workers to rural nursing facilities like yours.

2. Show Them What Their Life Could Be Like

While you’re recruiting for rural nursing positions, you’ll likely encounter candidates who have never lived in a remote area before. It may be difficult for these candidates to imagine what life would be like in this setting. This can be a challenge for you, but it can also be an opportunity. After all, you have the chance to help shape their impression of your community.

During the interview, spend some time selling your location. Maybe your business is located somewhere affordable, beautiful, peaceful, or tight-knit. Find your local quirks and tout them proudly. At this step in the recruiting process, you might also engage with your candidates’ family members, suggesting local attractions they could check out together. Help candidates get to know the community with restaurant vouchers and recommendations of local sights. 

3. Focus on How They’ll Make a Difference 

One of the great things about recruiting in nursing is that many of your candidates are driven by a genuine passion for their profession. Nurses may be uniquely interested in understanding your mission and how their work fits into it. 

To this end, illustrate your need for healthcare staff. Show candidates exactly how they’ll fit into your mission and what kind of difference your facility makes in your rural community. Appeal to applicants’ sense of purpose, and allow them the pride of taking a job at a business where their work is incredibly meaningful. 

New call-to-action4. Offer Unbeatable Quality of Life With Flexible Benefits

If you can, offer your employees flexible benefits that will actually improve their quality of life. These might include greater choice in the shifts that employees take, shorter shifts, daycare, commuter reimbursements, or even a stipend to cover their first month of rent.  

Make it clear that if your candidates accept a job at your business, they will be well supported and set up to live a full and happy life. In the past few years, a record number of workers have quit their jobs to pursue work that is more supportive and emotionally satisfying. Americans are craving work-life balance and the opportunity to make a difference. As a rural nursing employer, you can help satisfy both of these needs. 

5. Strengthen Your Travel Nursing Programs

If you have staffing gaps that you need to fill, you may end up hiring travel nurses. To make the most of a travel nurse’s tenure, you should spend some time getting them situated and prepared. 

If possible, it can pay off to put travel nurses on your payroll. Do what you can to integrate them both financially and socially. It’s always possible that travel nurses will stick around. Naturally, it pays off to invest in them and help make their time at your business pleasant.

6. Use Technology Adjusted to Rural Recruiting Needs

Recruiting in rural nursing is an exercise in balance. An effective process will benefit your candidate sourcing, talent engagement, employer branding, and speed-of-hire, all at once. One of the best ways to handle this balancing act is by being smart about the software tools you use.

There are pieces of rural nursing hiring that your technology should be able to handle—and handle well. Use a candidate sourcing platform that distributes jobs automatically, and to the right places. Look for software solutions that integrate many aspects of talent management. If you can screen candidates, manage applications, and send onboarding packets from the same platform, you’ll reduce your time-to-hire by avoiding problems that arise when all this work is done in silos.

Recruiting for Rural Nursing With Apploi

Apploi is on a mission to help healthcare recruit, hire, and manage talent more successfully. We help employers control their brand and engage applicants through unlimited communication, branded career pages, instant job post distribution, and a painless application experience.

Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end solution.

Pritma Chattha, DNP MHA RN

Pritma is a Yale-educated nurse executive with 18 years of experience advocating for patients at the bedside and in the boardroom. She currently serves as the Head of Healthcare Innovation at Apploi—healthcare's leading recruitment and credentialing platform. Over the last decade, Pritma has honed her expertise as a health informaticist, building and improving electronic health records and credentialing platforms. She is the immediate former Executive Director of Electronic Quality and Safety for Alberta Health Services, the largest health system in Canada. Pritma enjoys rethinking healthcare processes to provide safer, better, and more accessible healthcare.