9 Nursing Recruitment Strategies: Guide to Attract Top Nurses

9 Must-Have Nursing Recruitment Strategies to Attract Nurses

With the rate of turnover skyrocketing — and the cost of finding and onboarding new nurses rapidly rising — it’s never been more important for healthcare employers to ensure the effectiveness of their nursing recruitment strategies. With that in mind, uncover the biggest challenges facing nurse recruitment today, and nine ways facilities can overcome them.

Today’s Biggest Challenges to Nurse Recruitment

As every leader in the healthcare space knows, nurse recruitment has rarely been tougher than in the past few years. That’s due to some longstanding challenges, such as a growing shortage of skilled workers that was intensified after the pandemic. Nursing schools are also facing staff shortages, jeopardizing the future supply of new nurses.

At the same time, demand for nurses is surging. The age of the average American is steadily rising, raising the proportion of people who regularly need care. From 2022 to 2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to grow by almost 50 percent.

In addition, as they get older, people are also living with more complex and challenging conditions than in the past. Experts project that those aged 50 and older with “at least one chronic disease” will grow by almost 100% from 2020 to 2050. They also project those with multiple conditions to increase by just over 91% during the same period.

These factors are also intensifying demand for certain specialists and skill sets. For instance, the escalating level of need in places like Texas, California, Florida, New York, and North Carolina makes it harder for employers to find nurses in other areas — and more expensive when they do.

To add, many employers face other pitfalls to nurse recruitment. For instance, those with old or outdated technology, recruitment strategies or staffing models may fail to attract a younger, career-minded workforce. As a result, in attempting to use yesterday’s nursing recruitment strategies in today’s world, some employers fail to understand their own operational needs and how it impacts their efforts. 

Today’s Nursing Recruitment Strategies

These challenges continue to create a measurable strain on healthcare facilities. For instance, they affect an organization’s ability to maintain quality care, and, by extension, their satisfaction scores and reimbursement. That directly affects revenue, which is also impacted by the ever-higher costs of nurse turnover.

With stakes this high, employers must work to re-align their efforts to correspond with the realities of today’s healthcare industry. Here’s a quick look at nine nursing recruitment strategies that can help them do just that.

#1: Update Compensation Models

Like it or not, pay is still a central feature to what attracts a nurse to a job. Offering up-to-date salaries is crucial, especially in competitive areas. While that’s not always easy to do, employers can consider other forms of compensation to attract in-demand nurses. For example, including better benefits, bigger signing bonuses, or extended time off should be included in their nursing recruitment strategies.

Pro Tip: Partnering with a contingency staffing provider enables employers to give core staff more time off.

#2: Offer More Flexible Scheduling

Giving nurses more control over their schedules — and the chance to adapt them to fit their other obligations, like family responsibilities — helps ensure a better work/life balance. By extension, this can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction, which doesn’t just help boost retention, but can attract new nurses, too.

Pro Tip: Employers with multiple locations can give nurses more choices to work in different shifts and settings.

#3: Build a Better Culture

Offering a better work/life balance is just one ingredient in the larger recipe of building a positive, engaging culture. Other factors include letting staff know that their contributions are valued. It also includes supporting self-care, teamwork, recognition, and open communication — all of which can help make one employer more attractive than another.

#4: Support Professional Development

Another way to improve culture is by offering plenty of chances for career advancement. Ambitious nurses — and especially those from younger generations — want jobs that serve as a springboard for new opportunities. Subsequently, employers can attract them by emphasizing professional skill development.

For instance, setting up residency and mentorship programs, sponsoring conference attendance and continuing education (CE) courses, and offering a robust (and well-communicated) internal promotion pipeline.

#5: Address Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is a growing concern for nurses, especially since the surge in tension and violence. But safety also extends to inter-team relationships — like bullying and toxic personalities — and an overall clinical environment. Employers can supercharge their nursing recruitment strategies by updating their policies on safety and bullying, making them central to the culture.

#6: Consider New Tech and Staffing Models

Staying up to date on technology can help engage staff and attract new nurses. Similarly, implementing more flexible staffing models like float pools and team-based care can help engage nurses by letting them focus on the aspects of their jobs that they like best.

Pro Tip: Discover the benefits of adapting new staffing models.

#7: Use Data to Better Understand Workforce Needs

Having a firm grasp of key workforce metrics (like time-to-fill, cost per hire, and many others) can help facilities level up their nursing recruitment strategies and understand their needs. As a result, tracking this data allows facility leaders to adjust their strategy to focus on hard-to-fill position. Leaders are also empowered to adjust other factors like compensation to correct any shortcomings.

Pro tip: A Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help healthcare employers identify this data and implement the solutions needed to address them.

#8: Consider Incentive and Referral Programs

Especially in the age of social media, nurses interact with one another and seek out advice more than ever. Employers can leverage this trend and boost nurse recruitment by creating referral programs that encourage friends and past colleagues of staff to apply for open positions. This recruitment strategy doesn’t just help ensure a pipeline of skilled workers, but can also engage and motivate core nursing staff.

Pro Tip: Leaders can also appoint ambassadors who work to share their culture and its benefits to the larger nursing community. This can be via social media, event attendance, recruitment partnerships, and more.

#9: Focus on Your Employer Brand

Your employer brand should be included when updating nursing recruitment strategies. However, offering an amazing professional development or referral program is one thing — making sure it’s well-known is another! Candidates should be aware of the flexible scheduling, great work/life balance, or whatever other particular benefit you offer.

This means cultivating a stronger employer brand and publicizing that messaging everyone candidates can see it. For example, in recruiter talking points, on social media, in job posts, and everywhere else you interact with job seekers.

Pro Tip: A strong recruitment brand depends largely on the quality of the recruiters themselves. You can learn more about what makes a great recruiter here.

Support your Nursing Recruitment Strategies with CareerStaff

Help ensure successful nursing recruitment today, and well into the future. Facilities trust CareerStaff for successful nursing recruitment strategies, from nationwide contingency workers to turnkey workforce management solutions.

Contact us today to find out how our Joint Commission-Certified solutions can recruit more qualified nurses for the facilities you manage, or submit a staffing request for nurses now.