How to Attract Travel Nurses to Rural Hospitals and Medical Clinics

The shortage of nurses in the United States, especially in our rural communities, has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and is only expected to grow. According to a report, the demand in the U.S. for Registered Nurses (RNs) is estimated to rise by 28% in the next seven years, from 2.8 to 3.6 million.

These shortages and related hiring pressures are being felt the hardest by small rural hospitals. Medical professionals looking for work are not drawn to rural areas in the same way they’re drawn to big cities. Additionally, rural hospitals typically aren’t able to match the pay of the medical clinics and hospitals in larger urban centers.

At fidé, our team has developed deep relationships with healthcare staff members and facilities all throughout the country to help fulfill their needs. Here are some ways we have observed our clients at rural medical clinics and hospitals attract qualified talent to their area.

Nursing with a sense of purpose

It’s hard to imagine a profession more rooted in caring for others than nursing. And when it comes to identifying communities in greater need of care, rural residents stand out as especially underserved.

Serving as a rural travel nurse can be a highly rewarding experience for professionals who want their work to go the extra mile, and to serve those individuals in much greater need.

Maybe that is why – according to the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health – compared to colleagues practicing in urban areas, rural nurses report being more satisfied with their jobs, practicing to the fullest extent of their license, and anticipate staying in their jobs much longer.

Demonstrate the potential community impact of nursing

A big part of appealing to a nurse’s sense of purpose is to illustrate how rural nurses are instrumental in bridging the disparity in access to care and how this directly makes a positive impact in their community.

One key example is how nurses serving rural areas can be trained to help facilitate telehealth sessions. The nurse has the job of getting to know the patient and establishing rapport over a video call. This can be extremely helpful for patients who live far from the hospital and for those who don’t have access to a reliable means of transportation.

The crucial role in this process can not only lead to very important discoveries about the patient through discussing the patient’s lifestyle but also facilitate a more accurate overall medical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

Simply: for the patients who feel seen, heard, and valued, nurses can more easily provide a higher level of care.

Emphasize autonomy for your nursing staff

According to a recent survey, healthcare professionals – physicians and nurses – want to have their voices heard and have a degree of autonomy.

One of the most useful ways you can attract nurses to your rural facility is by emphasizing how your organization – unlike larger, bureaucratic urban institutions – place a higher value on clinical autonomy and how your nurses have more control over their practice.

Consider providing concrete examples during recruiting discussions and interviews of how your organization is focused on delivering patients better care by allowing your nursing staff the freedom they need to best do their job.

Highlight a value of culture

Nursing and culture go together in two very important ways: internally, within the medical facility, and externally, for the community in which the medical professionals serve.

Internal nursing culture:

The survey above noted that the physicians and nurses also enjoyed working at organizations that emphasize teamwork and a collaborative decision-making process. Mindful of this insight, think of ways your organization can highlight its team-based culture.

Perhaps you note regularly scheduled meetings where everyone has a literal and figurative seat at the table. And be sure to mention any team-building activities and how they create a stronger working environment.

External impact of nursing culture:

Make sure you can paint an accurate picture of your rural community. Who do you serve? What is important to them?

Health care workers who can demonstrate higher understanding and cultural awareness for their community’s everyday challenges, beliefs, and values are able to provide better medical care to their patients. It begins with understanding your facility’s location and learning how to provide the very best care to patients with all different backgrounds.

The sense of being a part of a tight team, and a valued member of the community contributes to overall job satisfaction – an intangible benefit that especially today’s nurses are looking for.

Engage not just the nurse, but the nurse’s family as well

While nurses are individual contributors and make career decisions on their own, the reality is that they naturally consult their families and significant others along the way.

Consider how you can engage with these individuals as part of your recruitment efforts. Is childcare a challenge for your potential hires? If so, how is your organization able to offer more flexibility to meet your staff’s family needs?

Make sure to emphasize how a nurse and their family will feel at home in your community by showcasing local attractions like businesses, schools, parks, libraries, and standout natural settings.

Contact Us and Let’s Get to Work

We are actively hiring registered nurses throughout the country, contact us and let’s get to work. We can help you hire nurses for your rural organization.


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