Everything you can do to improve the process for recruiting nurses gives your organization a competitive advantage, resulting in its ability to provide better care. It all starts with healthcare recruiters working closely with hiring managers to develop a strong requisition when the position first opens.

Communication Is Critical

Regular check-ins between recruiters and hiring managers is good practice, in general. But it’s even more critical when developing reqs for open nurse roles, so you can include the necessary information to attract the best possible candidates.

“Individual unit position postings are so fluid that it requires very frequent discussions to ensure the goals of new postings are understood,” explains Katie Hickey, OhioHealth learning manager. As such, it’s important for recruiters and hiring managers to discuss evolving needs and skill requirements to get ahead of the demand.

Aligning on talent requirements can be difficult, as many team members’ input is needed to create a well-rounded req. Hickey explains how her organization facilitates better communication between teams to achieve better results: “We use a system forecasting tool that enables both managers and recruiters to see current postings, as well as predict future postings several months out,” Hickey says. “This has helped to close the communication gap between talent acquisition and nursing managers.”

Clarity Is Key

Understanding exactly what clinical and behavioral requirements are needed from your potential nurse candidates is key to developing a successful requisition. Start by nailing down the specifics of each opening by asking probing questions, such as:

  • What are the minimum role requirements and what are the ideals? An inventory of minimum requirements establishes the baseline skills and experience necessary. But it’s equally important to understand ideals, according to Anthony Hudson, a traveling nurse recruiter. “Knowing what is truly preferred in terms of years of experience, certifications, licenses, type of experience, start date, and type of shift” makes the req more accurate, he says.
  • What medical technologies are used in the role? More than half of RNs and LPNs/VNs use telemedicine technology in their work, according to research from The National Council of State Boards of Nursing. If your nurses are expected to use special equipment or other technology, make sure that’s spelled out in the req. Include version numbers for software or devices that update regularly so you attract candidates with the right knowledge.
  • What are important aspects of your culture and operations? Include information about organizational culture and the specific expectations on your unit rather than relying on generic descriptions of, for instance, a cardiac care unit. Note how many beds are in the unit and what the expected patient load will be, as well.
  • What skills matter for your patient population? Detail additional capabilities related to specific types of patients. “We don’t have dedicated eldercare units, but our nurses care for these patients throughout the system,” Hickey says. As such, OhioHealth looks for patience, collaborative skills, and excellent communication abilities. Other institutions put a similar value on hiring for community and behavioral health.
  • Are there any special pay considerations? Pay can vary depending on experience, grant funding, location, and urgency of need, so be sure to verify compensation levels.
  • What are the scheduling specifics? Stating upfront which shifts you’re hiring for and how many are required each week makes it easy for candidates to match their scheduling requirements to yours. Add information about overtime and extra shifts, too, since some nurses want to earn extra pay. “If they know they have that option, they are going to be more likely to look at your job versus others,” Hudson says.

Collaboration Is Crucial

Collaborating with the hiring team to gather accurate job requirements for open nurse reqs is the first step to building a strong talent pipeline so you can compete for top candidates, fill jobs faster, and provide the best care possible. Use these tips to improve your requisition process to achieve better hiring results.


For more advice and insights about how to boost your hiring processes, download our eBook, “A New Way to Look at Recruiting: Think Bigger and Broader.”


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Margot Carmichael Lester

About Margot Carmichael Lester

Margot Carmichael Lester is a North Carolina-based freelance business journalist who has been covering healthcare and staffing for more than 20 years. She also writes about moviemaking for the International Cinematographers Guild, specializing in action cinema. Margot co-authored the award-winning teen writing book Be a Better Writer with her husband, Steve Peha. She earned her BA in journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a rabid Tar Heel basketball fan.