SKilled nursing talent walks patient out of hospital in wheelchair

In the realm of workforce shortages, none are as keenly felt as in the healthcare industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a staggering 2.1 million job openings in healthcare, a number projected to reach 3.2 million by 2026. Compounding the challenge, a recent survey by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing indicates that almost 900,000 registered nurses plan to leave the workforce by 2027, exacerbating the strain on patient care. 

A recent survey by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing indicates that almost 900,000 registered nurses plan to leave the workforce by 2027, exacerbating the strain on patient care.

As the aging baby boomer population increases, and millennials begin their families, healthcare organizations, including health systems and skilled nursing facilities, face a surge in demand for skilled nurses. However, the scarcity of qualified nursing professionals means that these organizations find themselves competing fiercely for the same limited resources.  

Here are five tips for attracting top-skilled nursing talent to your healthcare organization.  

1. Establish a Strong Employer Brand 

How the public perceives you plays a critical role in employee recruitment. People want to work for organizations where they will be respected, fairly compensated, and have a good work/life balance and enjoyable work experiences.  

Think of your employer brand as an extension of your organization’s overall brand – it is the reputation you have in the market for how you treat your employees. Your employer brand is the story you want told about your employment philosophy and the strengths you have as an employer.   

With so many job openings across healthcare, it’s important to approach your employee brand with the same energy your marketing team devotes to building your overall brand. This includes getting creative with your job postings to ensure they tell your unique story. Most companies say they offer competitive compensation and benefits packages. Dig deeper to find things that make your benefits package stand out – and then showcase them in the market.  

For example, if you offer mental health benefits or access to an employee assistance program, a feature that messaging in your job postings. If you have a clear path for training and have a track record for promoting from within, share those details. These are the types of things job seekers notice in a sea of ads that only talk about competitive benefits packages.  

Build your employer brand by focusing on the benefits you are proud of with language that says things like: 

  • More than half of our nurse leadership team were promoted from within. 

  • Your mental health matters. Our benefits program includes access to mental health services for you and your families. 

  • We work hard at building a collaborative culture where all levels of the organization work together to improve processes to ensure we provide the best patient care. 

  • We pay salaries weekly, giving you quick access to the compensation you have earned. 

  • We promoted ____ nurses this year. Join our team to see where your career can take you. 

Your employer brand is strongly tied to your talent brand, which is the story your employees tell about working at your organization. Tap into your current talent to help build your employer brand by featuring employee testimonials. Job seekers are more likely to listen to the experiences of other people who work in the roles you are trying to fill than corporate messaging.

2. Embrace Social Media  

In today's competitive job market, social media is a critical channel for recruiting top nursing talent. According to a recent survey, 79% of job seekers use social media when searching for their next role, and 94% of recruiters use it to find candidates.

According to a recent survey, 79% of job seekers use social media when searching for their next role.

To attract skilled nurses to your healthcare organization, follow these steps: 

  • Share your key benefits and employee testimonials regularly on your social media pages. 

  • Use engaging multimedia, such as pictures and videos, to grab job seekers' attention. 

  • Make it easy for potential candidates to learn more or apply by providing a seamless link to your application portal. 

  • Utilize social media tools to target specific audiences, like nursing school students, for entry-level talent recruitment. 

Expand your reach and showcase your employer brand through social media. Your current employees can be valuable advocates, so leverage their experiences and referrals to attract the best nursing talent. 

3. Offer Incentives and Rewards 

Sign-on bonuses aren’t just for CEOs or technology talent. In today’s tight healthcare job market, you can stand out from other employers by offering incentives such as sign-on bonuses or longevity milestones (i.e., bonuses paid out after one year of service). 

Robust rewards programs go a long way in making employees feel appreciated. It could be as simple as offering gift cards to a nurse of the month or other fun rewards for great work. These are things that you can include on your job postings to help showcase that you value your employees.  

Referral bonuses are also a great way to attract talent. It’s estimated that up to 80% of jobs are found through networking. Job seekers trust people they know and are more likely to apply for a position if they hear first-hand from a trusted colleague what it’s really like to work there. Your current employees are your biggest recruiting asset. By incentivizing them with referral bonuses, they are more likely to share their experiences to help encourage friends and associates to apply for your open positions.  

4. Grow Talent from Within  

People want to work for a place that offers opportunities for growth and development, but the true benefit of training programs lies with the employer. Who better to take on leadership roles than the people who know your organization best because they already work there?  

Instead of recruiting for your mid- or upper-level positions, nurture your employees with training programs and other support, such as tuition reimbursement programs that allow them to grow into those positions. Motivated people will stay with you if you give them the opportunity to advance.  

Tapping into your existing talent can also help you improve efficiencies and patient care. This group is extremely knowledgeable about your operations. Give them the opportunity to be part of the solution of creating a better workplace, which also feeds into your employer's brand story.  

5. Use Technology  

The workforce has fundamentally changed in recent years, with skilled talent placing more emphasis on work/life balance. Many people are choosing not to have a traditional employee/employer relationship but instead work per diem shifts, which gives them more control over their schedules. These are skilled resources who want to work and pick up shifts, but at a time and place that fits into their schedule.  

Add technology apps like the ShiftMed nursing app to your recruitment toolbox to help find top talent to fill open shifts, build a nurse float pool, and recruit skilled nurses who may want to experience your environment as a shift worker first before signing on to full-time employment.  

ShiftMed hires licensed RNs, LPNs, CNAs, STNAs, and CHWs who have the nursing credentials to deliver safe, quality care to patients in variety healthcare settings, including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, long-term care facilities, and hospitals. See how it works. 

Because of the critical role skilled nurses play, healthcare organizations need to invest in recruitment and build a multi-faceted approach to finding and retaining top talent. Using these five tips will help you build your skilled nursing team to ensure you offer consistent quality of care.