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Five Top Nursing Talent Strategies

December 17, 2015


Successful organizations have a nursing culture which values and rewards certain behaviors. Organizations that are able to find, hire, develop and retain people who can perform will succeed. Those that don’t will struggle. It’s that simple. Top talent wins. The best organizations don’t commit all of their energy to simply sourcing candidates – but focus equally on quality of hire.

We looked at hospitals that have made the most gains by identifing nursing hiring trends and developing a strategy to build a nursing team ready to face the new challenges. Here are the top five strategies we’ve seen:nurse 151913611

1. Define the Behaviors that Will Drive Your Culture

Hospitals spend energy developing it's vision, mission statements, and then a list of values. The challenge is in “operationalizing” these values. How do you link every job to these values? Successful organizations define the specific behaviors at each level of the organization that will lead to, for instance, patient centered care.

2. Select and Develop Better Nursing Leaders

Identify and develop individuals with leadership potential. Traditionally we make our best nurse a manager. Success as a nurse does not ensure success as a leader, but traditional healthcare training and development often discourage the sort of collaboration, adaptability and servant-lead leadership that is needed today.

Commit resources to identifying and developing nursing leaders. Use a performance management program to identify those with leadership potential and use structured leadership development to build the next class of leaders.

3. Use the Science of Selection

Technical skills are rarely the reason for performance failures. Performance issues turn on behaviors. Leading organizations know they need nurses that are patient-focused, adaptable, innovative and compassionate. By adding objective measures to the selection process, you significantly increase the odds of making the right decision and reduce your chances of nursing turnover down the road.

4. Coordinate all Talent Functions

Successful hospitals work from a single behavioral competency model, designed for use across all HR functions. In this manner, the behavioral competencies form the foundation for all related functions and for the organizational culture.

5. Enhance the Effectiveness of Patient Satisfaction Training – Incorporate Healthcare EQ

Each nurse brings a different psychological and behavioral make-up to the patient interaction. Each has different strengths and weaknesses. Rather than blanket training on a checklist of actions, progressive organizations provide nurses with insight into their own behavioral DNA via a measure of healthcare-specific EQ (or “HEQ”). Just as talent selection strategies are focusing on the behavioral competencies of the individual, patient-satisfaction training can target specific behaviors of each individual staff member. 

Applying a nursing- specfic selection program to your organization can appear to be a daunting task as a whole. This whitepaper breaks down selection systems into their main components and provides a pathway to navigate the process of applying a legally defensible approach to your organization. 

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Visit our nursing assessments page to learn more about how we can help you select the right nursing candidates the first time.

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren was the former Director of Healthcare Solutions at PSI. He was responsible for developing and promoting tools and services designed specifically for the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations.