Nursing Recruiting and Retention Strategies for 2015

Nursing Recruiting and Retention Strategies for 2015
Senior Director of Marketing

National Nurses Week, May 6-12, is a great time to focus on nurse recruiting, retention and other issues healthcare HR must navigate when managing these special caregivers. With healthcare organizations expected to hire more than a million nurses before 2022 to meet growing demand and replace retirees, ensuring their recruiting and retention strategies are in top form will help them get the nurses they need.

Tailor Your Recruiting for Nurses

Nurses can be more difficult to recruit than other providers because of the level of care they provide, says Mason Traveil, head of human resources for HomeHero, which provides home health care. “Not only are you looking for someone who has the clinical experience, but also someone who has great bedside manner and a lot of patience,” he says. “These qualities are intangible and impossible to glean from a resume. It takes a takes a lot of emotional intelligence to find that out.”

As healthcare providers hire younger nurses to replace retirees, it’s important that they establish career paths and opportunities for advancement for new hires, says Rae Ellen Douglas, managing partner of nursing at Kaye Bassman International. Nurses always want to get better and develop with the profession, and hiring organizations need to show nurses that they are ready to provide educational and development opportunities throughout their career there.

Even interviewing can be a little different when hiring nurses, Douglas says. Many nurses tend to be humble, and interviewers have to work a little harder to get them to talk about their strengths, she says. “Nurses may see it as bragging rather than what they’re able to do,” she says.

Build Relationships, Internally and Externally

Strong leadership makes a big difference in retention efforts, Douglas says. Leaders who are approachable and willing to develop nurses and who inspire trust from employees can go a long way in holding on to high performers.

Recognition and award programs can supplement these efforts, but they can’t replace them. “All the programs in the world are quickly diminished if the nurses don’t believe in the leadership or the mission and vision of the department or hospital,” she says. “Retaining nurses starts with excellence in leadership.”

Externally, hiring organizations should create relationships with nursing organizations, publications and schools in the area, Traveil says. Doing so can inspire people to come to work for the organization.

Keep Bullying in Check

While bullying among staff members has been a long-standing issue in healthcare, a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that nurses who face high levels of verbal abuse from their co-workers are more likely to intend to leave the organization. The study also found that the most common form of verbal abuse was more subtle, such as condescension, rather than direct, such as yelling or insulting. This passive-aggressive bullying can also include gossiping and backstabbing, and it can be difficult to call out, says Nick Angelis, MSN, CRNA, and co-founder of Behave Wellness.

Douglas says healthcare leadership must establish high expectations and have the courage to hold employees to them. Cracking down on bullying does no good if you don’t have a policy, she says, and having a policy is useless if no one follows through on it. “Setting examples through solid leadership and adherence to those policies is critical,” she says.

As healthcare HR leaders prepare to hire nurses in the coming years, they should carefully examine their recruiting, retaining, hiring and anti-bullying efforts to ensure they’re ready to bring high-potential and top-performing nurses into their organizations.

PreCheck Background Screening Resource Kit