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How to Make Your Hospital Attractive to Nurses

by Lindsay Wilcox

Attracting nurses to your facilityWhether you work at a small rural hospital or a large urban one, hiring the right people is crucial to your facility’s success.

It leads to lower turnover rates, better care for your patients, and a happier environment for all employees, including those who take travel nursing jobs.

But how do you create a facility that appeals to nurses, who make up the majority of your workforce? Here are six tips for attracting the best health professionals this year:

Be friendly but professional

When you’re interviewing potential employees, greet them warmly with a handshake and make sure they feel welcome. It’s always nice to offer a bottle of water and ask whether they found your facility or encountered traffic. Avoid looking at your watch during the interview or appearing distracted, and ask the nurse follow-up questions to show that you’re interested in what she has to say.

Dress as neatly as possible (and ask your staff to do the same)

Conducting interviews in scrubs is perfectly fine if that’s what you wear to work every day. It’ll make a nurse interviewing there feel more comfortable, since she’s used to that uniform as well. However, coming into an interview with messy hair and stains on your clothes makes a poor first impression. Bring an extra pair of scrubs along so you can change before meeting a new candidate. Take some time in the bathroom to freshen up if you need to.

Ask the other nurses working that day to put their best foot forward as well so you present your facility in the best light possible.

Offer competitive wages and opportunities for growth

Do you know what local hospitals and doctors’ offices are paying their nurses? Chances are you’re not the only facility your candidates have applied to — which means they know how much their friends are earning and are looking for similar wages. Do a competitive analysis of regional hospital salaries to get averages. You’ll know whether you’re offering enough pay to entice new employees to stay.

Nurses who interview with you are also interested in growing professionally. Do you promote employees who work hard and have tenure at the hospital? Are there leadership opportunities for those who want them? Offer specific examples of nurses who have worked into new positions if you have them.

Provide adequate paid time off

Some hospitals give their nurses less than a week of paid time off (PTO) each year. This quickly leads to employee burnout and frustrated nurses who look for work elsewhere. Keep your staff happy, motivated and healthy by implementing a generous PTO accrual policy (6 hours PTO for every 80 hours worked as an example) — and encouraging your nurses to use their vacation days.

Give all candidates a tour of the facility

It’s a simple gesture, but leaders sometimes forget to give nurses tours of the hospital when the interview ends. This allows the interviewee to get a feel for the company culture, introduce himself to potential coworkers and see how the facility is run. Make sure to answer any questions the nurse might have and let him see the department he would work in. This is also a chance for you to talk about improvements or benefits you’re most proud of.

Wait before extending an offer

If you’re impressed with the nurse you just interviewed, conclude on a positive note and let him or her know you’ll be in touch. Then wait at least 24 hours before calling with an offer. It can be tempting, especially if you’re short-staffed or know you’ll be facing a hard flu season, to hurry the hiring process, but you’ll regret being too hasty.

Offering a nurse a job immediately will make her question why you’re so desperate for new employees. She may be curious about your turnover rate or wonder whether she really wants to work there.

Waiting 24 hours gives you more time to offer a competitive salary and benefits package. As you think it over, you might also realize that another candidate is better for the job.

Whether you have just a few spots to fill or plan to hire dozens of staff members this year, these tips can help you ensure the right candidates apply — and that they’re satisfied enough to stay at your hospital for years to come.

About Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a healthcare writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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