How to Recruit Nurses: 7 Ways to Improve Your Employer Brand

how to recruit nurses

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing staffing shortages were commonplace in the healthcare industry, putting strain on healthcare recruiters and making it difficult to know how to recruit nurses. In fact, there are over 200,000 new RN positions created every year, yet the job pool isn’t big enough to fill all of them. So, what’s causing the gap between supply and demand?1

  • An aging population that’s expected to double by 2060, which means a huge increase in patients.2
  • Many nurses are reaching retirement age.3
  • Enrollment in nursing schools isn’t growing fast enough to meet industry needs.4
  • Insufficient staffing is negatively impacting job satisfaction, causing many nurses to leave the profession.5

With the staffing shortages making it harder than ever to fill RN positions, what can nursing recruiters do to attract healthcare talent?

The answer: Build a strong employer brand that will attract nursing candidates. Here are the 7 most important things you can do for your brand to attract and recruit registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, advanced practice nurses, and certified nursing assistants.

Looking for resources to optimize your healthcare recruitment? Check these out:

#1: Offer Exceptional Benefits

Unique Benefits That Will Attract Nursing Candidates

Debt Relief Incentives

Gym Membership Discounts

Generous Family Leave

Because of nursing shortages, the healthcare industry is extremely competitive when it comes to attracting healthcare workers. As a result, most organizations offer good benefits. For example, 88% of nurses have access to medical care benefits, 63% have dental and vision care, and 91% get retirement benefits, such as 401(k) matching.6

To get the edge over your competitors and recruit additional nurses to your healthcare organization, here’s what you need to do:

  • Remain innovative when creating your benefits package. For example, debt relief is important to nursing candidates, especially millennials. Hospitals should explore different types of financial incentives, such as monthly stipends for nurses who are still training. Many nurses are reaching retirement age.
  • Emphasize the primary benefits of your health system, including medical and dental insurance, as well as the more unique ones, such as gym membership discounts and family leave.Insufficient staffing is negatively impacting job satisfaction, causing many nurses to leave the profession.
  • Develop healthcare recruitment marketing materials that highlight your benefits in an engaging and easy-to-understand way. In addition to using bullet points to showcase the benefits package, utilize images and design to show nursing candidates how they’ll benefit.

#2: Emphasize Workplace Safety

A common concern of nursing candidates is workplace violence and on-the-job injuries. In fact, there are over 35,000 nursing injuries every year, many of which are severe enough to lead to missed workdays.7

If you’re wondering how to recruit nurses, start by emphasizing workplace safety and implementing changes that protect RNs. This will show them that your hospital cares about the welfare of staff. For example, make sure nurses have proper safety equipment, including masks, eye protection, and gloves. To prevent workplace violence, install security cameras throughout the facility, and hire security staff to deal with aggressive patients.

Musculoskeletal injuries are more common among nurses than construction workers.8 These often occur while nurses are bending over patients, transferring and lifting patients, and performing procedures. To prevent these types of injuries, hospitals should:

  • Provide nurses with handling and mobility equipment.
  • Train staff on how to lift properly.
  • Avoid understaffing situations so nurses always have extra assistance.

#3: Build a Strong Workplace Culture

How to Emphasize Your Strong Workplace Culture to Nurses

Workplace culture is becoming more important than ever for attracting and recruiting registered nurses, nurse practitioners, APNs, LPNs, and CNAs. Nursing candidates want to know that they’ll be joining a supportive team where their input will be valued. Here are some best practices for improving and highlighting your health system’s culture:

  • When communicating with candidates, highlight the workplace culture using examples and personal stories.
  • Reward nurses who offer solutions to management about workplace issues.
  • Encourage nurses to interact and collaborate with new hires by incorporating team-building exercises into orientation and hosting regular social events.
  • Emphasize your organization’s mission to candidates. Nurses want to know that they’re working toward something that’s greater than themselves, such as providing high-quality, affordable healthcare to members of their community.
  • Developing your employer brand is a crucial part of workplace culture. Take advantage of healthcare recruitment marketing to educate nursing candidates about your brand. A smart strategy will utilize comprehensive nursing data, best-in class employer-branded materials, and omni-channel marketing that’s continuously optimized.

#4: Utilize Faith-Based Messaging

If your hospital is faith-based, it operates under a mission statement that’s guided by spiritual principles. Many nurses want to work for a health system that matches their values, so include faith-based messaging in your employer-branded marketing materials and when speaking to candidates.

#5: Promote Competitive Compensation & Bonuses

Nursing shortages make it crucial to differentiate yourself from competitors. How can you do that? Highlight your competitive compensation and other financial incentives, such as yearly bonuses. In particular, sign-on bonuses are a powerful tool for attracting passive nursing candidates. If your health system is offering one, highlight that in your emails, calls, and other outreach.

#6: Highlight Educational & Career Advancement Opportunities

While an attractive benefits package is important, today’s nurses also expect opportunities to advance their careers and learn. Emphasize these throughout the recruitment process. For example, your health system may offer:

#7: Underscore Work/Life Balance

The State of Work/Life Balance in Today’s Nursing Environment


Have Experienced


Feel Fatigued
From Their Work


Are Mentally &
Physically Exhausted

Shortages in the healthcare industry mean that nurses routinely take on 12 hour shifts and are often overworked, leading them to look for a new employer or even a new career path. In fact, 98% of nurses say their work is mentally and physically exhausting, 85% feel fatigued from their work, and 63% have experienced burnout.9 It’s no wonder that a poor work-life balance is the number one reason nurses leave the field.10

Showcasing your health system’s commitment to work/life balance can quickly set you apart from competitors and help you recruit nurses in rural areas or cities. For example, many candidates are looking for hospital’s that offer flexible scheduling, a collaborative staffing model, and opportunities for self-care.

Next Steps: How to Become a Successful Nursing Recruiter

As your employer brand improves, you’ll become a more effective nursing recruiter, and it’ll be easier to find registered nurses, nurse practitioners, APNs, LPNs, and CNAs for difficult-to-fill positions, such as:

  • Operating room nurses
  • Emergency nurses
  • Critical care nurses
  • OBGYN nurses
  • Neonatal nurses
  • Oncology nurses
  • Acute care nurses
  • Labor & delivery nurses
  • Geriatric nurses
  • Dialysis nurses
  • Ambulatory care nurses

However, your employer brand is only half the story. You need to get the word out about your organization and broadcast your messaging to nurses in your area and across the country. That’s where healthcare recruitment marketing comes in. A successful strategy requires comprehensive data and omni-channel campaigns to attract active and passive nursing candidates and reduce time to hire.

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