As a recruiter looking to determine what travel nurse recruitment strategies you are going to use, start first by asking yourself: what type of travel nurse am I trying to attract? You have to think deeper than location and specialty to effectively interact with a travel nurse. Although no two travel nurses are exactly the same, understanding the different types of travelers is important to defining your travel nurse recruitment strategy. To get into the mind of a travel nurse and understand what they are really looking for, pairing a story to each type of traveler can help. Use these travel nurse personas to identify what type of nurse you are going to focus your recruitment efforts on, and what nurse recruitment strategies you will deploy.
We’ll call this new to travel nursing persona Alex. Alex is a top-performing Critical Care RN. She’s worked in the same packed ICU for almost four years now. Having mastered every aspect of this unit, from Charge Nurse to Code Team, she knows she is more than competent as an ICU nurse. However, she cannot shake the nervousness she feels when thinking about leaving her comfortable ICU job and pursuing a career in travel nursing. Alex really wants to broaden her professional experience but is scared that after four years of building a strong reputation among peers, respect from the Intensivist, and finally learning where everything is in the supply room she’ll be throwing it all away.
Alex is asking herself questions like: how will I adapt to a new environment? Will the staff there appreciate my grim sense of humor? Will the equipment be the same? There are vast uncertainties for a nurse that works hard for knowledge and control of what’s going on. But she really wants to travel.
Alex is searching with a few different recruiters for a contract with nothing but these uncertainties holding her back. She wants to know all the details. Where will she live? What size is the ICU? Do they block schedule? What is the patient ratio? Will she care for neuro, cardiac, trauma (or all of the above)? What charting system is used? Will the color of the scrubs be different? Which shift will she work? The list goes on …
As a seasoned ICU nurse, Alex makes calculated, confident decisions once the situation is fully understood, because to do anything less would present risk. Alex and ICU nurses like her are quite risk-averse.
Be transparent. If anything feels off or sketchy they’ll be gone before you can explain.
We’ll call this one Dontel the Adventurer. Dontel knows what he wants, and you won’t convince him otherwise. Dontel travels with his fiancee and small dog “Vino”. They are on a mission to deeply explore a pre-defined list of cities and regions and are using his career as the vehicle to get them there. Dontel might as well have been a realtor because location, location, location, and timing is the determining factor in his contract decisions. He’s enticed by exotic beaches, beautiful hikes, and cities that don’t sleep.
Does money matter? Of course it does. However, once his expenses are covered with some play money in his pocket, Dontel is happy. The true adventure of travel is what drives him. If you focus your nurse recruitment strategies around anything other than the adventure of travel nursing in this situation, you’ll miss the mark.
We’ll call this one money maker Marcy. Marcy is here for one thing … to make money. Put her in triage, code rooms, fast track, it doesn’t matter. She’s down with working nights … or days. Put her in the rural, six bed, ER in a critical access hospital. Or the 130 bed, level one trauma center in the city. Marcy wants to work and make money. Live lean, and stack the dough. Nobody has paid off student loans faster and she’s proud of it. Although Marcy is extremely versatile and open to most opportunities, there is a very important common denominator here … money talks.
Marcy wants to make top dollar. If top dollar means a random location or alternative hospital setting … as long as she’s qualified for it, present it! She’ll work big metro university health system. She’ll work a mom and pop clinic. Pediatrics trauma center? Freestanding ER in the retirement community? She ain’t scared.
Well, maybe not. But you get the idea …
Strategies to retain a nurse after a successful placement aren’t much different than what it took to attract and place the nurse in the first place. Think about the nurse. What do they like? What drives them? Customize your nurse recruitment strategies and approach with each candidate. Identify and focus on what is important to each nurse specifically.
Provide the value they are searching for, and retention won’t be an issue.