The need for skilled nurses has been growing for years. As baby boomers retire and their need for healthcare increases, baby boomer nurses will also be retiring and leaving a large number of vacancies in the coming years. According to the AMN Healthcare 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses, the number of nurses who were planning to retire in less than a year went up from 16% in 2015 to 27% in 2017.
Colleges and universities are starting to make headway in the gap to attract new talent to the profession. In January 2018, the University of Maine reported an 11% increase in nursing school enrollment.
Hiring the right candidate can be a challenge for any profession but it is even more challenging in healthcare. You need to hire someone who is not qualified through education but also someone who is compassionate and willing to put your patient's needs first.
Criminal background checks, reference checks, and recruiting from local colleges and universities are three of the most important factors in hiring nursing students at your hospital.
Verify The Criminal History of Each Candidate
Background and criminal history checks are standard and commonplace in most professions, but they are vital to the nursing profession. Nurses and nursing students are trusted with not only the care of vulnerable patients but with secure HIPPA protected information on patients that need to be treated with discretion. Although a criminal history is not necessarily reasoning to bar someone from employment, it may help to weed out those who could potentially compromise the integrity of your institution.
Check All References on An Application
The standard of care in your hospital relies heavily on vetting your staff for their character and integrity. Checking references gives you a concept of the work ethic, aptitude, and commitment of a nursing student. Applications should include space for 3 references. Although it is best to check all three, some references may not be immediately available and may not return your call. Obtaining two or more solid references can give you added confidence in the candidates that you consider hiring.
Hiring From Local Colleges Can Provide a Competitive Advantage
Attending or hosting career fairs at the colleges and universities in your hospital's area can give your hospital a competitive advantage in hiring skilled nurses. Meeting students at career fairs give you a chance to meet potential hires in person. Also, having close ties with the local nursing program professors can give you the added benefit of getting direct referrals for nursing students. If a highly respected nursing professor vouches for a potential hire, especially one that you or your associates may be affiliated with, it can give you the edge in selecting top talent.
Your patients put their trust in your nurses to help them when they are at their most vulnerable. A thorough reference check, criminal history check, and making a concerted effort to hire local nurses can be a strong foundation to hiring potential and new hires nursing student hires.