Top 8 nurse recruitment challenges in 2018

The scarcity of qualified nurses compounded with the wave of baby boomer retirements pose several challenges for hospitals in nurse recruitment. Going into 2018, CNOs express their challenges when recruiting top talent to their facilities.

High Demand, Low Supply of Nurse Graduates
By 2030, the U.S. will have over one million nurse job openings. However, current graduation trends will not be able to fill those jobs. U.S. nursing schools turned away 64,067 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2016 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget constraints. Switch gears from recruiting new grads to marketing toward seasoned RNs by offering flexible shifts.

Competitive Pay
Increasing salaries make it difficult to recruit competitively due to declining hospital budgets. Emphasize add-on benefits with salary to make your facility’s pay packages more attractive to compete with other recruiters.

Establishing Night Shift Leaders
The experience gap that nurse retirees leave behind can seem stressful to fill, especially during the less desirable night shifts. A strong preceptor program is recommended to train newer nurses with less experience. It can seem time-consuming and cost-prohibitive at first, but it’s essential in establishing your next generation of night shift leaders.

Lack of Strong Relationships
Nowadays building meaningful relationships between the nurse manager and the nurses are exceedingly difficult due to understaffing and increased work hours. Promoting a shared governance program to bring your staff closer will build the foundation for stronger relationships without compensating time devoted to patient care.

Difficulty Attracting Millennial Nurses
CNOs are often finding that there is a gap between clinical hours in school versus nursing shifts. The consensus was that graduates are not prepared for the clinical demands of 12+ hour shifts and that there is a lack of value for longevity with new nurses. To combat this effect, conduct peer panel interviews and focus on personal connections with the interviewee to recognize whether the candidate will stay for the long haul.

Knowledge Deficit of Recruiters
Recruiters can only be so knowledgeable on each position they screen for. As the gatekeepers for a facility’s employment, they have a lot of autonomy, which can be negative if they aren’t communicating with the nurse managers through the screening process. Although nurse managers have little room for more responsibilities, simple communication in the nurse recruitment process will increase the chances of better hires.

Consistent Leadership Turnover
Most people don’t think that this is a factor in nurse recruitment challenges. However, constant leadership turnover slows down the hiring process. Since C-Suite positions have the responsibility of approving organization initiatives, they affect the time it takes to approve new nursing positions.

Increasing Specialty Degrees for Nurses
Nurse specialties are continuously taking more responsibilities away from a registered nurse. The RN position is becoming more hands off which makes a specialty degree more desirable and challenging to an RN. To keep RNs engaged in their position, emphasize culture, create recognition programs and offer professional development opportunities within your organization.

With the new year ahead, it’s important to keep these challenges in mind as you plan for your staffing needs.

About Avant Healthcare Professionals:
Need nurses? Avant Healthcare Professionals ( is the premier staffing specialist for internationally educated registered nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Avant helps clients improve the continuity of their care, fill hard-to-find specialties, and increase patient satisfaction, revenue and HCAHPS scores. Avant is a Joint Commission accredited staffing agency and founding member of the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR).

About the Author:
Shari Dingle (Sandifer) Costantini, RN, MBA, founder and CEO of Avant Healthcare Professionals, is a renowned expert in the healthcare industry, with 29 years of experience in strategic leadership, nursing and international nurse staffing. As a registered nurse and accomplished business owner in healthcare staffing, she offers a unique perspective and keen insights into a wide range of issues affecting medical staff today, and is an authoritative source on issues concerning international workers.

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