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Nursing is one of the top growing professions in the US, but you wouldn’t know it from recent employment numbers. Healthcare’s talent shortage is still raging across the country. While the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t start the shortage, it certainly hasn’t helped. Many organizations have lost record numbers of nurses in the past year, prompting some managers to look inward and focus on retention. But is fighting turnover really the answer to staffing problems? It might help healthcare rebuild from pandemic-era losses, but it won’t solve the underlying causes of the talent shortage. Updating your nurse recruiting, on the other hand, can.

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The Trouble With Turnover

While turnover is an issue for many healthcare organizations, its role in the talent shortage can be overstated. Turnover can become a bogeyman, covering up other issues that might be more pressing. In reality, turnover isn’t the sole (or even the most important) reason for healthcare talent shortages. 

Turnover in healthcare is common, but it’s not unique. In fact, turnover rates are just as high or even higher in industries like hospitality and foodservice. During the COVID-19 pandemic, even industries with historically high retention have seen their turnover rates increase. So why do we act like turnover is the greatest thorn in healthcare’s side? 

5 Nurse Recruiting Tips to Help Fix Healthcare’s Talent Shortage

To solve nurse recruiting, healthcare needs a bigger overhaul than fighting turnover. It needs more people—and that means transforming into an industry where more job seekers can imagine thriving.

1. Recruit Nurses From Other Industries

Healthcare isn’t just struggling because nurses leave their roles—it’s struggling because they leave the industry altogether. This goes beyond the usual understanding of “turnover,” and needs to be addressed in a different way. 

Healthcare won’t solve its nurse recruiting woes by sticking to the same limited pool of candidates. Post-acute employers may benefit from pulling candidates from acute settings, but overall, the industry needs a massive influx of new talent. Because of this, nurse recruiting strategies must target passive candidates and candidates from other industries. With bold marketing, recruiting efforts can double as awareness campaigns, educating job-seekers about the opportunities in healthcare. 

2. Train Your Own Staff

There is one way to actually create more qualified candidates, and that’s to train them yourself. Some candidates are interested in starting a healthcare career but may be dissuaded by entry requirements. 

It can get harder and harder to think about pivoting careers when you’re managing other responsibilities, like parenthood. There are many benefits to offering free in-house training, but a major one is that you’ll get more entry-level candidates from all walks of life. Couple that with internal advancement, and you’re really investing in your whole nursing staff.

3. Advertise Growth Opportunities During Nurse Recruiting

It’s true that internal growth creates deficits in some roles, but healthcare managers shouldn’t let this scare them. When people leave their positions, they’re leaving openings behind them, but they’re also showing their peers that healthcare is a promising career path. Speak with your employees about their goals so you can lay out clear expectations for promotions and plan ahead for recruiting needs.

Turnover isn’t always a bad sign. In industries like tech, high turnover signals that there are lots of opportunities, little unemployment, and more people moving through different positions. These are the kinds of growth opportunities that actually attract workers to a new industry. By giving pathways to growth you’re building a positive work culture, which is vital to boosting your nurse recruiting. 

4. Offer Benefits That Nurses Actually Need

Your nurses don’t all have the same needs, so it doesn’t make sense to offer them cookie-cutter benefits. If possible, use your benefits budget to offer nurses flexible benefits packages. You’ll be able to address more of the issues holding them back without overspending. 

Nursing is a woman-dominated profession, with an unusually high percentage of working mothers. Many nurses are the primary caregiver in their own family and they may struggle to balance responsibilities at work and home. By giving them the chance to say what kind of support they actually need, be that childcare, commuter benefits, schedule flexibility, or something else, you’re increasing the chances they’ll actually advance in your company.

5. Recruit Nurses from Underrepresented Demographics 

Nurses are primarily white and overwhelmingly female. To bring in the number of new candidates the industry needs, this pool must diversify. In addition to providing free training, healthcare managers can help make this happen by showing men and racially diverse candidates that this is an industry where they can thrive. Doing this will require a major push in education about healthcare careers. 

Experts say one way to attract men to healthcare is through marketing campaigns that target them specifically. Educating high school students about healthcare positions may also help young people, including young men, see nursing as a viable career option. 

Quicker Nurse Recruiting With Apploi

Apploi is on a mission to help healthcare recruit, hire, and manage talent more successfully. We give employers more control over their brand by making hiring simple and painless for both candidates and managers. 

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 talent management solution.

Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.