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How to Hire the Right Nurse for your Facility

How to Hire the Right Nurse for your Facility

By: Eric Darienzo

Nurses are the front line of patient care. These professionals are often the first people patients see and frequently the last person they consult with before they go home. That’s why it’s so important to hire nurses who are a good fit for your facility and dedicated to providing quality care for patients. 

Here are five tips for making the right nursing hire.

Find the right fit for your team. Think about the dynamics of your nursing staff. Do you have several big personalities who could benefit from someone who’s a little more reserved and quiet? Would someone who’s lighthearted and bubbly clash with a more serious-minded nurse? 

You want people to learn to work together at your facility and to hire staff members who bring a unique perspective to the job. But you also want to set new employees up for success. Consider whether your new hire will complement other staff members’ personalities and fill a need on the team. 

Ask behavioral questions to determine character. It’s important to hire competent nurses who have the right certifications and skills. It’s equally important to hire nurses who are compassionate, collaborative and quick-thinking. 

Decipher which traits you want most in your next nursing hire. Then, ask behavioral interview questions that help reveal the candidate’s character. For example, you could ask how he handled an emergency situation recently or how he dealt with a co-worker conflict.  

Leave time for candidates to ask questions. Sometimes job interviews are crammed full with questions for the nurse and leave no time for her to ask her own questions. That’s unfortunate. Doing so may help her realize she isn’t a great fit for the job after all. 

The worst thing is if a candidate leaves the interview feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what her responsibilities would be. You’ll learn a bit more about a nurse by the types of questions she asks. If you find she’s asking more about specific skills she needs rather than questions about the facility or patient load, it may be a red flag that she needs more experience.

Determine whether candidates share your organization’s values. A nurse with 15 years of clinical experience just walked through your door and you’re thrilled to have someone with her skillset vying for a position. As the interview goes on, however, you realize that she’s more concerned with becoming a nurse supervisor and less with being a team player. 

Don’t let a candidate’s experience or numerous certificates convince you to hire her. An overqualified candidate may not fit into your facility and may also alienate other staff members.

Hire for the needs of the facility. Do you manage an urban hospital that often treats patients flown in from hundreds of miles away? If so, your nurses must be comfortable with high-stress situations and quick on their feet; experience in emergency rooms or trauma units is preferred. 

Alternately, a nurse who is used to a high volume of patients at a large hospital may not enjoy working at a smaller hospital. Or that may be exactly what they’re looking for. 

Look for nurses with the traits your facility needs most, such as adaptability, commitment to growth, attention to detail and familiarity with specific types of patients.

Though staff members will come and go, these hiring tips can help you hire nurses who will have a positive impact on both their patients and coworkers — and hopefully stick around for the long haul. 


Eric Darienzo is president of RNnetwork, a travel nurse staffing company based in Boca Raton, Florida.