Dear Workforce What’s The Key To Recruiting More Minority Nurses

How can we develop diverse applicant pools for recruiting registered nurses? Advertising in minority journals is too costly. What are other nurse recruiters doing to find minority applicants?

September 7, 2011

Dear Eyes:

Nobody wants to hear this, but recruiting is long-term.

Having said that, there are things you can--and must--begin doing now that will pay off more quickly. From long-term to short-term, here are some successful strategies for recruiting RNs from a diverse applicant pool.

Your most valuable recruiting tool is your organization's reputation as a workplace. Your leaders must "get it" when it comes to strong leadership and creating an exceptionally positive workplace culture. You must not tolerate physicians, managers or supervisors who run roughshod over their staff.

Likewise, craft a well-deserved reputation for being a great minority workplace, and then guard that reputation as you would your clinical reputation. When minority candidates look at your hospital, how will they assess their chances of rising to positions of leadership?

  • Recruit in middle school. Teach young people of both genders that the nursing profession is cool, highly respected, and pays well.

  • Recruit from nursing assistants, technicians, and others already in your hospital, and provide tuition assistance.

  • Talk to your people. Assemble a focus group of minority RNs, find out what's good and what needs improvement in your workplace. Solicit their ideas on reaching out to minority candidates.

  • Target nursing schools that have done an exceptionally good job of recruiting minority students. Some of them are DePaul University, Loma Linda, and the universities of Florida, New Mexico, San Francisco, and Pennsylvania.

  • Develop a minority mentoring program.

  • Look at your printed recruiting material. Does it present the right image to minority candidates?

  • Who is doing the recruiting? If you claim to be a great place for minorities to work, can your recruiters attest to the fact from first-hand experience?

  • Use your Web site. Forget the platitudes about how important diversity is to you. Show diversity in action. Highlight and profile nurses, both male and female, from a variety of ethnic groups, and their ability to rise throughout the organization.

  • Attend job fairs targeted to minorities. See and

  • Consider radio advertising. Research shows that 96 percent of both African Americans and Hispanics listen to the radio regularly. A well-designed radio ad campaign aimed at these audiences, especially in large metro areas, can work well, and is much cheaper than advertising in association journals.

But don't discount the associations. Get involved with them. Learn all you can about the National Black Nurses Association (, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (, the Philippine Nurses Association of America (, and others. Attend their local, state, and national meetings. And when you have success in minority recruiting, share your secrets with them. You'll be seen as a great place for their members to consider working. It all goes back to reputation.

SOURCE: Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette, co-authors, Contented Cows Give Better Milk,, Sept. 3, 2003

LEARN MORE: Diversity's Business Case Doesn't Add Up.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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