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Chances are, you’ve already felt the sting of the CNA shortage. At one point in 2021, there were six CNAs leaving the field for every one CNA entering it—and even more positions are expected to open by 2030

If you feel like hiring CNAs is an ongoing battle, you’re not alone. But there’s one crucial thing that skilled nursing facilities can do to combat the CNA shortage now: recruit from non-medical fields. 

Why Hire CNAs From Non-Medical Fields?

When you hire from other fields, your potential candidate pool increases dramatically, since you’re reaching beyond candidates who are actively seeking CNA positions. 

And now is the perfect time to expand your search. In 2021, the Pew Research Center discovered that almost two thirds of unemployed adults were interested in switching not just jobs, but careers entirely.

Attracting candidates from other fields comes with unique challenges. Though your candidate pool increases, so does your list of competing employers. To succeed, you need a hiring strategy that actively encourages candidates from other fields to apply. 

How to Recruit CNAs From Other Fields 

1. Focus Your Job Description on Transferable Skills 

You don’t want your job descriptions to immediately dissuade candidates without medical experience from applying. 

If you’re targeting non-medical workers, make it clear from the start that you’re not looking for prior medical experience. Instead, focus on transferable skills, such as empathy, communication, and efficiency. Be sure to mention any in-house available training that could help get new workers up to speed. Learn more about writing job descriptions

2. Connect With Local High Schools and Community Colleges 

Sometimes, candidates may not even be aware that they possess the skills to go into healthcare – especially immediately after graduating. After all, there’s a whole world of jobs out there. It’s your job to show students that they have a future as a CNA. 

Connecting with local high schools and community colleges is a great way to find new talent. Encourage students to volunteer if they’re curious about working at a skilled nursing facility. Let them know that training options are available, and be sure to mention any part time opportunities that would be perfect for students looking for supplemental income. 

Working as a CNA is also great experience for those looking to get into nursing schools or other medical professions. Make sure candidates know that CNA experience can make them stand out as they apply to further opportunities.  

3. Beef Up Your Volunteer Program

Volunteers are an important part of the skilled nursing facility ecosystem. In fact, research shows that they improve resident health. You can also use your volunteer program to introduce potential candidates to your company and field—without asking volunteers for a huge time commitment. 

There’s really no losing, since a robust, professional volunteer program will increase your profile in the community. Advertise your volunteer program widely, and provide different entry points and tasks. Some volunteers might be interested in administrative work, while others want to work closely with patients. When you have a variety of volunteer tasks, you’ll also attract a diverse array of people, including future CNAs

Types of Volunteers

  • Administrative volunteers. Volunteers who work in the office (or even remotely)to assist with administrative tasks. 
  • Event volunteers – Volunteers who help with planning and executing enrichment events for residents. 
  • Companion volunteers. Volunteers who spend quality time with residents, helping them with tasks, playing games, reading, or just listening. 
  • Bedside vigil volunteers. If your skilled nursing facility also offers hospice services, bedside vigil volunteers can help residents and their family find comfort and company at the end of their lives. 
  • And many more. A volunteer program is yours to create and personalize. What unique niches can volunteers fill in your facilities?

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4. Offer In-House Training

With in-house training, you can control the quality of training your CNAs receive. You can also acquire candidates from other fields by not limiting yourself to those with pre-existing CNA certifications. 

Free training also helps you build a diverse workforce, looping in applicants you may not have otherwise encountered. 

As with any recruiting effort, in-house training needs advertisement to thrive. You can use job boards and analog advertising to spread the word. Fliers, fundraisers, billboards, and car wraps are great traditional methods to combine with your digital recruitment. 

Still on the fence about in-house training? Learn more

5. Create an Active Social Media Presence 

If you want to  recruit workers from other fields, social media can be a great tool. 

Advertise your open positions, and explain why you’re looking for people from both medical and non-medical roles. Consider using your platform to educate and inform about what it’s really like to work in modern healthcare. 

If you’re targeting candidates who aren’t from medical fields, make sure your content is accessible and interesting to all. Intersperse general content – such as medical facts or fun jokes—with job related content.  

Learn more about social media integrations

Better Hiring With Apploi

Apploi can help you streamline communication, effectively distribute jobs, and improve your recruitment strategies for all your open assisted living positions. 

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