COVID-19 changed the employment world for nurses and other healthcare industry team members, seemingly overnight. However, what has not changed is a critical, long-term need to attract the best nursing talent.
Nurse Appreciation Week is May 6-12, and the World Health Organization named 2020 The Year of the Nurse and Midwife. These designations and honors have come at a very important time. Nurses today are bravely caring for patients battling COVID-19, and risking contracting it themselves. In many cases, they do not have adequate protective equipment. Or, in a dramatic flip side, they are facing reduced hours, furloughs and layoffs.
But, when we talent marketing pros take a long-term view, the demand for the best nursing and healthcare talent remains.
Nursing talent demand, pre-pandemic
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for nurses grew year-over-year. In the 12 months leading up to the crisis, healthcare employment jobs grew by 374,000.
Talent acquisition teams at all kinds of healthcare organizations prioritized nursing talent recruitment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the RN workforce was expected to grow 12 percent between 2018 and 2028, making it one of the fastest growing occupations. Nurses had a wide variety of opportunities to consider in their job search.
But, the dual crises of the pandemic and its resulting economic downturn quickly changed the healthcare career landscape. Now, nurses could be working grueling shifts as heroes on the frontlines of COVID-19, or they could be one of thousands of workers furloughed or laid off. In March, health care jobs were hit harder than any other sector except the restaurant industry. For fear of contagion, non-emergency and elective procedures have been postponed. And thus, healthcare spending has dropped to levels that are greatly impacting the overall economic downturn.
Lack of healthcare cannot be sustained
However, once social distancing restrictions are loosened and Americans return to their healthcare providers for treatments and appointments, the tables can turn yet again. Hospitals and providers will need to quickly refill empty skilled nursing and healthcare worker positions. And, staff who felt that their employers’ care during the pandemic fell short may be looking for new positions.
In such a volatile hiring environment, how can healthcare organizations attract the best candidates?
No surprise, it’s through culture.
Giving culture clarity
Showing prospective nurses what’s important and unique to your healthcare environment is one way to attract the right nursing talent for your organization. Whether your environment prides itself on being faith-based, patient-centered, or focused on treating the whole-person, you can only demonstrate what that really means through the lived experiences and stories of your team members.
Over the past year, pre-pandemic, we at Stories Inc. uncovered stories from healthcare practitioners. We found these stories to be some of the best culture content around. With rich patient and team stories to draw from, nurses naturally have a job that lends itself to creating content that resonates with prospective candidates.
Here are three examples of how healthcare organizations are sharing their unique culture with prospective nurses.
Children’s Mercy Kansas City
“We don’t treat just the child. We treat the family.”
Children’s Mercy creates a culture that stands out through the love the nursing staff has for their patients and families. We uncovered story after story that showed the impact nurses are having not only on their young patients, but also on entire families.
Vanessa found a way to use her language skills to help parents who speak Spanish. Nurses like Vanessa contribute above and beyond at Children’s Mercy by becoming certified as a bilingual staff member – helping care teams better communicate with patients and families who may not speak English.
I’m bilingual. Children’s Mercy has a program called Qualified Bilingual Staff and I was able to become certified. I had a family that came up from the PICU. The parents spoke very little English. When I walked in that night to get report, the parents saw me and their faces just lit up. They were like, “Oh, my gosh, you speak Spanish!” I love being that bridge to the language barrier.Vanessa, Staff Nurse, Children’s Mercy Kansas City
“AdventHealth is a company that really encourages body, mind, and spirit.”
As a faith-based, non-profit healthcare organization, AdventHealth team members are dedicated to treating the whole person. Nurses are encouraged to spend extra time with patients to help them recover physically, but also emotionally. And they have a spiritual ambassador program where team members have the opportunity to support patients in a unique way through prayer and spiritual conversation.
This whole-person approach extends beyond patients. As Danielle says, “For a nurse looking to work somewhere, it’s a perfect place to come because we’re here to support you, we’re here to help you grow, help you succeed. And to help you learn to love the career you chose.”
Ochsner Health System
“Passion and compassion.”
Nurses at Ochsner Health System are passionate about patient care through both the big and small moments.
Carrie saw that the young daughter of a very sick patient needed to be taken care of too. A simple snack relieved her parents and connected her to a family who needed a little extra bedside support.
After giving the little girl her snack, Carrie says, “Her dad looked at me and said, ‘You are a blessing.’”
Unique cultures, unique content
Recruitment marketing content for the same role doesn’t need to be the same. Your unique culture can be highlighted through employee stories to help your organization stand out, even when recruiting for roles with similar job descriptions.
And nurses, thank you for going above and beyond to care for patients and their families. We have been honored to tell your stories!