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December 28, 2017 Shownotes:

Nurses play an integral role in defining a hospital’s culture and reputation. When recruiting nurses, there are a variety of response marketing best practices that will ensure you get the right talent in the door. In our latest episode of The 19: Healthcare, we speak to Scott Nariyoshi, Marketing and Communications Director at Dameron Hospital in Stockton, CA, to learn the strategy behind effective nurse recruitment.

The 19: Healthcare

Nurse Recruitment that Hires – Episode 4

Recorded Intro

This is the 19. In 19 minutes or less, key Insights in Healthcare from Orange Label, the leading response marketing agency for established brands that are driven by a fearless entrepreneurial mindset.

HOST Intro: Hi! This is Kaleigh Teskey, Account Executive at Orange Label and, today, we’re talking about effective nurse recruitment tactics and the impact marketing has on finding the perfect candidate.

HOST: As many of us have likely experienced in our own industries, job recruitment has evolved significantly. In today’s world of media and communications, there are a variety of ways that a company can seek out potential candidates. Which is why companies develop recruitment strategies to ensure that they are showing up in the most relevant places and that they are taking the necessary steps to find the best candidate for the job.

It’s no surprise that in healthcare, finding the so-called “perfect nurse candidate” can be a rather big task. Think about it, not only does the individual play a significant role in a patient’s experience, but the individual is also a reflection of the hospital’s brand. And if that’s not enough to consider, hospitals must balance the supply and demand factors of registered nurses, and of course the competitiveness of other hospitals and health systems.

STAT: According to the 2017 US News Best Jobs list, Registered Nurses rank number 17 out of 25 Best Health Care Jobs. The best paid 10 percent of RNs made more than one hundred thousand dollars, while the bottom-paid 10 percent earned less than forty-six thousand dollars. Compensation was highest in California, including metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Vallejo and Oakland.

And, Registered nurses are projected to be in high demand in the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the profession to grow 16 percent by 2024, opening approximately four hundred and thirty-nine thousand new jobs.

Nursing is not only a highly sought-after career, but it’s clearly a position that is in high demand for many hospitals. So, how can hospitals get ahead of the game with their own nurse recruitment?

To discuss this topic further, we thought it would be most valuable to talk with a hospital marketing director to share his nurse recruitment experiences throughout his career.

I’m pleased to welcome today’s guest to The 19, our client of over 3 years, Scott Nariyoshi.

SCOTT: Hi Kaleigh

HOST: Hi Scott thanks for joining us.

SCOTT: My pleasure

HOST:  Scott is the Marketing and Communications Director at Dameron Hospital in Stockton California. Scott, can you share a little background on how long you’ve worked in healthcare, and in what roles?

SCOTT: Sure I’ve begun my healthcare career in 1989 as a public relations assistant at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.  After about a year and a half I joined Kaiser Permanente Hawaii as a community relations coordinator.  And I remained there for the next 17 years as my career progressed through a series of communications and community relations leadership positions.  Until my final role there as a regional corporate communications director.   Then in 2007 I transferred to Kaiser Permanente central valley service area in Northern California where I served as a communications Manager until I joined Dameron Hospital in 2015.  And I can honestly say that is been a very interesting 29-year journey.  Ah, before we begin I do want to acknowledge the expertise and efforts of professional nursing crews out there who have devoted their careers to helping healthcare organizations with this ongoing challenge.  I would like to qualify my comments as coming from someone with a general background in healthcare communications and marketing.

HOST: Awesome, well 29 years is certainly a lot of experience.

SCOTT: Some people would call that old but that’s okay.

HOST:  Awesome, so since you began your career in healthcare, what do you believe has changed the most in regard to healthcare recruitment as a whole?

SCOTT:  Well without a doubt it’s been the influence of technology, specifically the internet, and how its opened-up communication channels in terms of breath, depth and speed.  When I began my career the internet and cell phones were still being developed and personal computers were just being born.  I was creating newsletters using a T-square and glue sticks to make articles after I created them on an electric typewriter.  And my daughter doesn’t even know what an electric typewriter is.  So that says something.  We didn’t use computers at work we used word processors with green screens.  And most people searched for jobs looking through the classified ads in newspapers.  I have many fond memories of circling potential jobs in the want ads.  But you know I could go on and on about the good ole days.  But suffice it to say that you know back then employment agencies really had a prominent role in recruitment.  Because they were one of the most effective channels for identifying perspective new hirers for the employer.  And where people went when they were really intent on finding that job.  Now nearly everyone has virtually unlimited access to search engines and websites designed to match employers with employees.  With the added ability to find the right match based on search criteria. That helped to improve the odds of finding a good fit before the live interactions even begin.  You know technology has really changed how employers and job seekers find each other really across all industries.


HOST: Yeah, absolutely.  So today, what do you believe are the biggest challenges hospitals face when recruiting nurses?

SCOTT:  Well let’s see first I would say it’s a matter of supply and demand.  Healthcare is a rapidly expanding industry.  Because this country is faced with an aging population.  You know baby boomers, like me, belong to a tremendous budge in the population and we’re getting to the point where some of our parts are starting to wear out.  And we need help.  Nurses are critically needed to help manage patients’ healthcare needs.  And they’re needed in many different settings, in-patient, out-patient, nursing facilities, care centers and the like.  We have a nursing shortage and its only gonna get worse.  Second, most hospitals are seeking experienced nurses with specialized skills related to their service lines, like orthopedics, cardiac care, ICU, Emergency, Obstetrics, and you know we’re all competing for the same pool of individuals.  With you know an excellent clinical background, professional bedside manner and of course a heart of gold.   So, to attract nurses like this, you know it’s usually gonna take more than compensation and benefits.  There really must be something more.  Which really leads us to the third point and that is retention.  Retention is just as important as recruitment.  Because experienced nurses are in such high demand they usually have many options available to them.  If the quality of work life in their current job is anything less than satisfying.  So, you know in markets where competing hospitals are all within a commute time radius of about an hour or less, a personal impact of switching from one hospital to the other usually isn’t that significant.  So, you know these nurse’s decision is gonna be based on what each hospital has to offer.  And we must realize that nurses talk. Yes, there’s an informal grapevine that spans all the hospitals.  Because nurses develop many relationships as they move from hospital to the other.  And in fact, you know many of them hold jobs at more than one hospital at the same time. And you know and yes, they also do share notes and make comparisons all the time.  Ahum, you know every hospital says that they are a great place to work when it comes to you know recruiting and their messaging.  You know but the bottom line is the actual work culture on the nursing units.  You know it doesn’t take long for the real culture to reveal itself to a new hire.  You know creating a work place that keeps their staff engaged and satisfied is really one of the most important recruiting tools you have and really where all your recruiting efforts do pay off.  That’s really a very big thing.

HOST:  Absolutely, and just for a little more context, when a hospital decides to implement a nurse recruitment campaign, on average, how many positions are they trying to fill? And how far does a hospital typically cast its net? Do you search local, out of state, or?

SCOTT:  Well you know it really does depend on the size of the hospital and the market place that they’re in.  you know having had experience at a very large healthcare system with multiple hospitals and outpatient facilities.  And then a very small community hospital without a network affiliation.  It’s been interesting to note how they have different challenges and approaches to nursing recruitment.  It also makes a big difference where your hospital is located as well.  Local candidates you’d want to outreach to qualified nurses within a geographic area that falls really within a reasonable commute time.  Typically, I would say about 90 minutes or less.  However, it also depends where your hospital is located.  You know it makes a big difference, is your hospital in San Francisco or you know way up in the foothills of the Sierras.  Ah, further removed you are from the urban core or the further you screen your outreach efforts its more likely that a successful hire needs to relocate or deal with a significant life style change.  So, you know at that point you know some added incentives might be needed.  But it really depends on how specialized the position you need is, and how urgently you need to fill it.

HOST: Got it.  I’m assuming that certain nurse positions can be more difficult to recruit than others. In those instances, are separate recruitment plans put in place? Or are the recruitment campaigns universal?

SCOTT:  I would say that there are two different categories in nursing recruitment, new graduates, and nurses with experience.  Recruiting new graduates is generally easier, because you can focus your efforts on the nursing schools.  You know the key is building a relationship with the school through training partnerships, or just assuring that students are aware of postgraduate employment opportunities at your hospital.  You know direct student outreach efforts should be tied to coincide with the students’ final year leading up to graduation.  You know as they kind of figure out what the next step is gonna be after school.  Maintaining contact with the nursing school administration and guidance counselors are also important because there may be opportunities to engage directly with nursing students right on campus.  It’s never too early to let them know about your hospital and why they should consider working there, building upon this many hospitals also run special programs for new nursing graduates to essentially grow their own specialty nurses.  By giving them the opportunity to advance their skill level on the job.  By having them work with mentors.  But recruiting experienced nurses is usually more challenging.  Simply because most experienced nurses are already on the job, you know they’re working.  So basically, need to attract them away from somebody else.  And their reasons for coming to work for you will be as individual as they are right? Work life, balance, career progression, compensation, scheduling flexibility, lifestyle, and you know their ability to affect change in the workplace.  Are just some of the things that have appeal to different individuals.  You know in this case you would really have to cast a wider net, to increase the odds of catching the attention of those who feel the needs for you know one of these things.  Something’s missing and they seek in out.  But this requires basically a broader campaign you want to reach out as many potentials as possible to improve the odds.

HOST: That makes sense.  With nurses with experience then do you find that going to conferences and forums trying to hit them where they’re in associations.  That makes the most sense?

SCOTT:  Absolutely, because you know they even when they’re in a job ah, you know even when they’re happy they still want to keep in contact with the network.  So, they go for refreshing education to further their careers.  There are many networks out there where you know there’s opportunities because sometimes people are sitting on the fence.  And so, all it takes I never you know thought about that but then people talk.  And someone will say how enjoyable it is where they’re at and then you know the door starts to open.  So absolutely those different places where they network, a perfect target.

HOST:  Great.  In your experience what are a few of the key components of an effective nurse recruitment campaign?  And why?

SCOTT:  Let’s see ahum, when launch that campaign you know there really has to be an efficient and effective way to allow potential hires to get a taste of working at your hospital is like.  You know marketing out to each channels, like mailers, emails, hosting on their nursing professional websites and ads.  You know they essentially chum the waters, you know I’m borrowing a fishing term, you know chum the waters.  To get their interest.  But then you need a critical next step to set the hook as you ahum, you know so that they can really reel them in.  So, you know the call to action is a hosted career fair.  Where nurses can come and interview directly with your nursing leadership.  You can also offer opportunities to have attendees chat with existing staff, or maybe take tours of the facility.  If you’re looking for a specific skill set, you know you can establish that upfront with your outreach materials so that you can assure that there is productive, and you end up with a solid list of applicants for consideration.  You can also use you know the power of the grapevine, remember nurses talk, you know, and you can have your own nursing staff reach out to their networks to see if their nursing friends might consider becoming a part of your team.  You know you might create incentives for successful referrals.  I mean how many times have we all heard people say that the best thing about their job is the people they work with right. ….. so, working with people, you enjoy is definitely a plus.  So, this kind of helps facilitate that.

HOST:  Right reminds me of college recruitment and getting a feel for what you’re about to experience that’s important.

SCOTT: Exactly that’s exactly right.

HOST:   In your opinion how does a hospital’s existing advertising and marketing impact a hospitals nurse recruitment efforts?

SCOTT:  Well I think there’s a direct correlation between a hospital’s general advertising and grand positioning.  And its nurse recruitment efforts.  You know the hospital’s grant position sets a foundation for all of its messaging to different audiences.  You know the brand and advertising should address the question, what do we want to be known for?  And once that’s established all of your other campaigns build upon that and they should all reinforce each other.  So as an example, a hospital might initially choose a specific service line and explain why they’re the best hospital to offer advice stating their rewards, positive results, you know testimonials.  Then they follow up with a series of campaigns about specific programs under that service lines touting new technologies, procedures, and results that reinforce the overall service line messaging.  And then you know finally you leverage all of these positioning efforts when recruiting nurses by appealing to their desire to be a part of something special and exciting, right.  So, nurses already in that specialty area it might offer new opportunities to further their career and you know for other types of nurses it might be an opportunity to focus in this particular specialty area.  And you know really who doesn’t want to be a part of the winning team, right. So, and finally there’s something to be said about the importance of advertising you know to build general awareness of your hospital.  You know everyone knows about hospitals like the mayo clinic and Stanford, but you know really the rest of us must try harder to get our name out there you know through advertising and word of mouth.  So, you know when a potential candidate’s first reaction to your outreach effort, is Yeah, I never heard of your hospital.  Then you know that’s probably a good reason to take another look at your overall marketing approach.

HOST:  Yeah that makes a lot of sense.  Making sure that you’re saturated enough in the market so that people generate brand awareness.

SCOTT:  right so at least they’re aware so that it triggers some familiarity.  You know then it then you get you half way there.

HOST:  One last question, and I’m going to pose this question in connection to today’s sum up of the 19… What’s one key takeaway or final thought on nurse recruitment that you would like to share with our listeners?

SCOTT:  Hum let’s see.  Ah, I would say that successful nursing recruitment is about successful nursing retention.  You know you really must work on both.  Because they build off each other.  You know it’s like rowing a boat, when you use both oars together you move forward with ease.  You use one without the other and it has you going in circles and you keep ending up right where you started.

HOST:  Yeah, I think with you don’t want to see some hospital with a lot of turn over.  So that’s important.

SCOTT:  Exactly, and so you’re that’s why that you know when you when you’re recruiting nurses and then turning them through.  You know you’re gonna must keep recruiting them and so a lot of times before you launch a recruitment campaign it’s important to make sure that the work environment is very pleasant, and you are able to.  Remember all the hospitals are trying to you know to take experienced nurses from one another, and so you got to hold on to the good ones that you have.

HOST:  that’s a great final thought for our listeners Scott.  Thank you for your time today and for sharing your great insights into hospital marketing and nurse recruitment.

Scott:  Oh, it’s been my pleasure Kaleigh thank you so much.

Host Close: Thank you for listening to the 19, Nurse Recruitment That Hires. If you have additional questions on this topic, please share them with us. Visit our website, and contact us. And be sure to tune in for our next episode, discussing the value of hosting events, seminars and workshops.


This was the 19. Brought to you by Orange Label. If you’re interested in MORE healthcare response marketing, visit our blog and subscribe to our content, where we share our response marketing expertise on current healthcare industry topics. Visit for all the details.

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