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Add hiring new grads to your recruitment list

BY: Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN on January 2, 2019

It’s no secret the pendulum swings both ways when it comes to recruiting new nurse grads because as the job market changes, so do hiring practices.

As you move through budget preparation and recruitment program planning this year, you need to know which way the pendulum is swinging regarding hiring new grads.

Are you tuned into the current group think from HR and talent acquisition experts on the topic and ready to move into 2019 with the latest and best facts?

Pros and cons of hiring new grads

The conundrum new graduates always have faced is a familiar one — they can’t get jobs because they have no experience, and they have no experience because they can’t get jobs.hiring new grads

I don’t know if everyone in nurse hiring roles will agree, but I always thought it was sort of sad to hear HR, recruitment or administration say, “No, we’re not hiring new grads. We’re looking for experienced nurses only.”

What if that had been the hiring practice at all organizations? How would any of us have gotten our starts in nursing? If no one ever hired new grads it’s not likely we’d have the seasoned, talented, experienced nurses we have now, many of whom have had long careers and soon will be retiring and creating vacancies that might well be filled by new grads.

According to an American Mobile article, “the current economic climate has kept more experienced nurses in the workforce and made securing a nursing job a little more competitive, so new nurse graduates need to be prepared, poised and in position when beginning the job search.”

The Undercover Recruiter also has some good advice on the great things new grads can bring to an organization, describing them as “blank canvasses” who are enthusiastic, flexible, tech-savvy and able to provide a fresh perspective and reduce salary costs.

Creativity is key to combating recruitment problems even during a nursing shortage, according to a Lorman article offering 15 tips for recruiting nursing staff. Several of the tips cover how to get new nurse grads by:

An important takeaway from these articles is too many organizations are facing care quality issues because of nurse shortages, but the new nurse grad can help.

Shortages are cyclical and geographic. They don’t happen at the same time or in the same places, and we can deal with them not only by finding new and better ways to hire and engage new nurses, but also by ensuring we hold onto these new nurses as the older generation leaves the profession.

Authors of the January 2018 Journal of Nursing Regulation article, “Advancing New Nurse Graduate Education Through Implementation of Statewide, Standardized Nurse Residency Programs,” agree.

“Contributing to the shortages is the excessive loss by hospitals of newly licensed RNs,” the authors of the January 2018 Journal of Nursing Regulation article wrote. “Almost one in five [newly licensed RNs] leave their place of employment during their first year of practice, and one in three leave within two years.”

job application process

Go beyond the hiring

Recruiters are a very important part of a new grad’s journey to landing that first all-important job and staying with the organization.

If you’re part of a facility that will include new nurse grads in your hiring goals, here are some things you may want to explore as you conduct new grad interviews:

  1. Explore the research they did before the interview, such as what they know about your organization.
  2. Listen carefully to the questions they ask about the facility, jobs available and career path.
  3. Ask questions or present scenarios to see how they think on their feet.
  4. See if they prefer working solo or in a group to determine if they will add value to their teams.
  5. Find out about their work ethic by asking how they worked through any difficulties they encountered in their nursing program.
  6. Counsel them on the value of a first job for gaining experience, even if it’s not their dream job.

New grads bring value to the profession

Remember new grads can be savvy job seekers. Many have done their homework on the job market and are more than willing to work less desired shifts and patient units. They may know what positions they can be offered and are ready to accept them.

If you’re not able to offer them a position right now, you can be a mentor to them.

Use your time with them to show they can learn from a first job, whatever that job may be. Let them know it doesn’t need to be their forever career path, but just a first step.

Remind them to stay forward-looking and focused on lifelong learning, be it with continuing education or an advanced degree. They have long careers ahead of them.

And, don’t forget to welcome them warmly to our wonderful profession!

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Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN

Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, is a former senior vice president and chief nurse executive at OnCourse Learning, where she led nursing programs and initiatives. She continues to write and act as a consultant for Nurse.com. Before joining the company in 1998, Williamson was employed by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York, where she held a number of leadership positions in nursing and hospital administration, including chief nurse at two of the system’s member hospitals. She holds a BSN and an MSN in administration, and is a graduate fellow of the Johnson & Johnson University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Nurse Executives program. She also is a board member and past president of the New Jersey League for Nursing, a constituent league of the National League for Nursing.