It has been over a year since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S., and vaccines are now being distributed widely, with 304 million doses administered across the country to date. Vaccine distribution is key to ending the pandemic, but the impact of the virus continues to be felt in nearly every industry, but especially in healthcare, with nurses on the front lines as our heroes treating patients and containing the spread of the infectious disease.
Healthcare caregivers are, and have been, operating 24/7 under stressful circumstances, working to prioritize patient care and the wellbeing of all employees. While the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases is on the decline, the lasting shifts continue to be apparent in healthcare organizations as they work to recruit and hire the best healthcare talent. According to Jobvite’s 2020 Recruiter Nation report, 26% of recruiters have reported hiring is happening rapidly at healthcare organizations, whereas 37% have reported headcount and hiring have both been reduced. These inconsistencies showcase the rapidly changing needs of individual healthcare organizations. While every hospital is different, there have been several hiring trends that have come to the forefront that nurses should be aware of.
Nursing candidates can leverage these opportunities in order to stand out within pools of talent. By keeping these trends top of mind, job seekers can more easily navigate the hiring process, scoring positions in their departments and facilities of choice.
Managing increased levels of stress and burnout
The workload, and in turn stress, for all healthcare workers continues to increase – with 48% of new nurses now leaving within the second year, according to the same Jobvite report. This turnover rate has risen due to the pandemic and can be attributed to the unprecedented stress that comes with it, as well as individual health concerns with nurses at an increased risk of exposure to the virus.
Nurses must keep this in mind while looking for a job, as it is crucial that an organization communicates their expectations and workload during the hiring phase and allows nurses to better balance their already busy schedules. Nurses are often working more than 12 hours a day, multiple times a week, creating a greater need for stress management techniques and an open communication with nursing leadership. Setting realistic expectations and being able to plan, will greatly reduce stress and help manage burnout.
The Focus on patient-centric care
There is a growing need for nurses that embody compassionate, patient-centric care. One executive surveyed had shared: “I’ve never had to terminate a doctor due to his medical skills. It’s only been due to issues related to bedside manner.” This is often the case with nurses, too. Approximately 70% of hospitals named employee engagement as their top priority for patient experience, so having the right, patient-centric nurses, is critical to the success of any healthcare facility.
Unlike many other professions, nurses must be both knowledgeable, friendly, and polite in every interaction, even in the face of staffing shortages or while handling difficult patients. This can seem like competing priorities. Because these qualities are being heavily sought after by employers, nursing candidates can use this knowledge to their advantage during job interviews to highlight examples of how they embody and excel in demonstrating these patient-focused qualities.
By sharing personal anecdotes based on previous professional and life experiences during interview opportunities, nurses are able to exhibit their values and dedication to service, relating to the employer’s individual mission and goals. Connecting with employer branding can enable nurses to find organizations that share the same standards, leading to a more successful and gratifying nursing career.
Great tools that help increase hiring of underrepresented workers
Having a diversity of talent that represents everyone, regardless of an individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, age, veteran status, or other identifying factors, builds a stronger and more inclusive work environment. Employing healthcare staff, particularly nurses, that can communicate with non-English speaking patients is critical. For example, discharging a patient who cannot understand the directions on how to take their prescriptions is not only inconvenient, but also life-dangering. Having staff who share similar cultural experiences with their patients is critical in building relationships, and ultimately providing the best quality care.
Many healthcare organizations are using tools such as the complimentary Job Description Grader by Jobvite, which ensures job descriptions are engaging and inclusive. Along with the current best practices in diversity and inclusion, this tool uses AI, analytics, and benchmarking to review job descriptions and make recommendations for more inclusive language to prevent unconscious bias. Nurses seeking jobs should be sure to highlight any diverse skills and unique attributes that would allow them to attract desired employers. Other solutions, such as Bias Blocker™ from Jobvite automatically hides identifiable information from a candidate’s resume before hiring manager review. Knowing tools like these exist in the marketplace should help all nurses feel confident that leading TA teams are taking steps to reduce bias and increase the hiring of underrepresented workers.
Navigating the job search despite the 24/7 work life
Patients don’t all get sick between 9-5, and because nurses work around the clock, it makes it difficult to connect and schedule job interviews. Many healthcare workers are on their feet all day and not at a computer job searching. Nursing candidates on-the-go can utilize capabilities to text with recruiters, easily scheduling interviews and completing applications on their phones.
Fortunately, interviewing trends are adapting with the surge of video conferencing amid COVID. While nurses are primarily working on-site, many in this industry are becoming increasingly comfortable communicating via video in today’s job market. In fact, many healthcare practitioners are also communicating with patients virtually with the expansion of telehealth nationwide. Therefore, it’s important that prospective nurses are able to effectively communicate both in-person and through a screen.
Acing a remote job interview involves establishing a quiet space and professional appearance. Nurses typically wear scrubs in their day-to-day work lives, but this is often not recommended for nursing job interviews, as business professional or business casual attire is preferred. Additionally, checking connectivity beforehand and practicing maintaining eye contact can lead to a favorable interview. Nurses shouldn’t forget to ask the interviewer questions, too! Knowing details about the training program, culture, and the specific unit can be beneficial when making a decision about which employer is the best fit.
The stakes for hiring the best nurses has never been higher. By being aware of these trends, nursing candidates can better understand the industry and optimize their chances of finding the right healthcare employer and position.