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7 Tips For Hiring Nurses During The Nursing Talent Shortage

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If doctors are the hands and feet of a medical practice or hospital, then nurses are the backbone of it. That’s why choosing the right nursing professionals is critical whether your organization is large or small.

The challenge today, though, is finding high-quality nurses in the middle of the current nursing talent shortage. In fact, a number of hospitals and medical offices are finding themselves short-staffed due to the inability to find talented candidates.

If you run a practice or are in charge of recruiting talent at a regional hospital, here are seven tips for hiring nurses in 2018.

Let’s get started!

1. Figure out Who You Need When Hiring Nurses

Before you post an ad for a nurse on a site listing hospital jobs, you need to know what type of professional you need in your organization. You can determine this based on the new nurse’s job description and requirements as well as the educational background and experience needed for someone in this role.

Two factors are critical when assessing whether a nursing candidate is truly the right choice for your organization: attitude and aptitude.

Somebody with a proper attitude and aptitude can be trained. Meanwhile, someone with a poor attitude cannot be trained and thus may end up harming your organization more than it helps it.

In addition, pay close attention to a nursing candidate’s experience with dealing with stressful situations. You ideally want a nurse who has had a taste of working in a trauma unit or emergency room environment, where being able to think on your feet is paramount.

Speaking of environment, be sure to ask your nursing candidates why they want to work at your organization in particular.

Nurses who are accustomed to working with high volumes of patients in large hospital settings might not enjoy the environment of a smaller medical center. On the flip side, some of these nurses may actually prefer the breath of fresh air that a smaller hospital would bring.

Most importantly, you need nurses who are familiar with the types of patients you serve, are attentive to detail, are committed to growth and are adaptable.

2. Focus on Personalities

Don’t become so enamored with a certain nursing candidate’s experience and accolades that you ignore his or her personality.

Your new nurse needs to be able to fit in with your existing staff like a perfectly fitting puzzle piece. Otherwise, your nursing staff members will clash, and that may negatively impact the quality of the patient care your organization provides.

If you have multiple big personalities on your team, perhaps a more quiet and reserved person would be the perfect addition. Meanwhile, if you have several nurses who are generally serious minded, then a bubbly and lighthearted nurse may not fit in well with your team.

Yes, you want to add people to your team who bring unique perspectives to your organization.

But you don’t want to set your new nurses up for failure, either. Your new hires need to be able to complement your existing employees’ personalities and fill certain needs on your team.

3. Gauge Character

Be sure to ask a prospective nurse questions that will help you to determine his or her character as well. After all, having a collaborative and compassionate nurse on board is just as important as having a skilled and certified one on your team.

An example of a smart behavioral question to ask is how the nursing candidate handled a recent emergency situation or conflict involving a co-worker.

4. Allow Candidates to Ask Questions

When it comes to hiring nurses, you shouldn’t be the one asking all of the questions. Give a nursing candidate the chance to ask questions during the interview process, too.

The more you listen to a nursing applicant talk, the more you’ll realize whether or not he or she is truly a good fit for the nursing job.

For example, let’s say you notice that a candidate is asking multiple questions about certain skills he needs instead of asking you about what his future patient load could be. This is a sign that he likely needs more industry experience before joining your organization.

5. Sell Your Organization

Just as nursing candidates are trying to sell themselves during the job interview, you need to also be selling your organization.

Nurses generally wish to know what is expected of them on the job as well as what resources and tools are available for getting the job done. If you can reassure your candidates that your medical facility is high quality and is committed to helping them to succeed, you’ll remain high on their lists of potential employers.

6. Know What Millennials Want

Millennials are particularly interested in advancing their careers. So, if you want to hire a millennial nurse — a nurse in his or her 20s to early 30s today — you’ll need to offer professional development.

In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to also promote your organization’s career resources for those who may be interested in going back for graduate degrees, for example.

7. Take Your Time in Hiring Nurses

A common mistake when hiring nurses is trying to rush the process.

If you’re not completely sold on a specific nursing candidate, wait for the right one to come along. That’s better than making the wrong hire and then having to terminate and replace an ill-fitting employee. The wrong hiring decision can be costly in any job field, and the nursing field is no exception.

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