Hospital staffing is always a challenge, but it's even more so in rural or remote areas. When recruiting for nursing positions, you are likely to get far fewer applicants than large hospitals in big cities. Nurses may be hesitant to move to your area because they fear they will be isolated or unable to find housing. Luckily, there are specific steps you can take to mitigate these concerns and attract highly qualified nurses to your rural hospital. Here are three tips for this unique situation:
Work with a Hospital Staffing Service
The best thing you can do in this situation is to work with a professional hospital staffing service, such as SOS Healthcare Staffing. They will have access to much wider and more polished marketing efforts, ensuring your nursing job listings reach a much broader audience. They will also screen nurses for you, saving you considerable time and ensuring that the nurses who interview with you are qualified, are genuinely interested, and have passed a background check. The candidates you reach will be a better fit and you will be able to focus on other aspects of running a hospital.
Provide a Supportive Environment
Creating a supportive environment for both long-term and traveling nurses is key for both attracting and retaining the best candidates. Keep in mind that nurses who come to your hospital from another town or state may feel isolated and lonely. Nurture relationships by creating mentorships or preceptorships for new nurses. Encourage your staff to have get-togethers and mixers both at the hospital and outside of it. You may also want to set up meetings with nurses and other rural hospitals in the area, especially if your own staff is very small.
Play to Your Strengths
When recruiting and interviewing nurses, be sure to emphasize the good points of working at a rural hospital. Explain how meaningful it is to work with an underserved population, and have current nurses speak to this as well. Mention other desirable features, such as proximity to nature and scenery, a more laidback schedule, and an affordable cost of living. Many small, rural hospitals have a very welcoming, family-like atmosphere, which is very reassuring to new nurses, especially those just starting their careers or traveling a long way from home to work with you.
While staffing in rural hospitals does present unique challenges, following these tips and working with the right staffing company will ensure your nurse staffing needs are met.