How to Hire the Best Nurses for Your Hospital
Nurses are vital to delivering great patient care. It should go without saying that a strong recruitment and retention strategy to find and keep the best nurses for your hospital is essential.
But we also know the reality. The nursing shortage is a real issue that puts strain on hospital resources. Sometimes a hospital simply needs to fill positions as quickly as possible, but Nurse Managers could have bigger problems 6 months down the road if those nurses aren’t a good fit.
We spent countless hours recruiting, screening, and interviewing nurses from all over the world and found 5 themes to help hospitals hire the best nurses.
Identify what skills are important for the nurse to already possess versus what your team is good at building.
At Shearwater we are hiring experienced nurses. These nurses often come from countries more poorly resourced than the U.S., but that doesn’t keep them from being successful in the U.S. We ensure the success of our nurses by focusing on two area of ability: 1) assessment skills and 2) critical thinking skills. Having a strategy to assess these skills throughout the interview process is essential.
Soft skills are just as important as (if not more than) technical skills.
All hospitals have a culture, and within each unit there is also a subculture. It’s important to make sure that new nurses have the personality, nursing goals, and adaptability to succeed, not just at your institution, but also within the specific unit.
Match hospital values to nurse values and career goals.
It may sound cliché, but nurses truly do have the desire to make patients their first priority and provide the best care possible. Hospitals and nurses succeed together when they share the same ideas of patient priority and providing the best care.
Nurses also tend to be driven to grow in their nursing careers. If a candidate focuses on growth, it’s important to know whether there are opportunities at your facility that will help the nurse meet these career goals. Provide nurses with a realistic idea of how they obtain those career goals at your institution.
Financially incentivize nurses to stay at your hospital long-term.
Sign-on bonuses are great, but if you can contractually provide that bonus over a few years instead of all up front, it’s more likely the nurses will stay instead of jumping to the next hospital with a tempting sign-on bonus.
Ultimately, it’s important for nurses to feel cared for and compensated. Keeping pay around the 85th percentile in your area, having recognition and education programs, and getting to know what’s important to your nurses are all items that keep most nurses from switching to a competitor who pays a few cents more an hour.
Consider using a professional recruitment and retention partner.
This probably isn’t the first article you’ve read on hiring nurses. Which means you know that it’s easy to read but often hard to implement. Hospitals will often turn to travel nurse agencies, but that’s not solving the root problem of retention. And it can often cause more confusion and chaos due to frequent turnover in staffing.
That’s why Shearwater Health offers a true long-term recruitment and retention strategy for hospitals using BSN-prepared nurses, who are fluent in English, entering the U.S. workforce with years of varied nursing experience from several countries around the world. These nurses are ready to live their American dream working at your hospital. We make the process as seamless as possible for our hospital partners.
Watch below to hear our VP of Clinical Services (and resident Nurse Practitioner), Melissa Lacy, explain our Nurse/Hospital Matching Process.