Cleveland Clinic Florida Hires 120 Nurses in Six Months

3 factors that helped them do it in a competitive market

Cleveland Clinic Florida has recruited approximately 120 new nurses in the past six months as part of a push to staff its expanding facilities.

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The Weston, Florida hospital currently has 155 beds, but will add 75 more when a new tower opens in August. In addition, a new Cleveland Clinic family health and ambulatory surgery center will open in Coral Springs, Florida in July.

Filling the new nursing positions hasn’t been easy in the competitive tri-county market (composed of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties), says Kerry Major, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Chief Nursing Officer of Cleveland Clinic Florida. There are more than 40 hospitals vying for the same talent, including large hospital systems based in the region.

“We’ve been planning this since the end of 2017,” says Major. “Typically we plan single hiring events, but this was a much bigger scope that needed a longitudinal approach. We hosted multiple monthly events, each featuring different nursing specialties.”

The first recruiting event, in February 2018, focused on operating room and endoscopy nurses. The March event focused on nurses for emergency care, critical care, oncology, observation and other hospital units. April and May events were tailored to fill positions not filled after the February and March events.

Because the first four hiring events were so successful, a fifth hiring event was cancelled.

“We had already attracted so many quality applicants, that we decided to revisit them for the few remaining positions rather than host another event,” Major explains.

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How did Cleveland Clinic Florida draw so many in-demand nurses and fill the glut of nursing positions on an aggressive hiring timeline? Major credits these three factors:

  1. Establishing a hiring strategy with all stakeholders. “Six to eight months before we started recruiting, we brought together everyone we thought would be critical to the success of this significant hiring project,” says Major. “We met weekly as the project unfolded.”

Marketing personnel helped refine recruiting messages and identify best ways to communicate them to target audiences. Nurse educators prepared for onboarding a multitude of new hires. They and Human Resources representatives helped establish criteria for each new position. (About 85 percent of the new hires have at least two years of nursing experience.) Human resources personnel also prepared to process the large number of applications.

“We frequently checked in with Operations as well,” says Major. “Their construction timelines drove our hiring and onboarding timelines.”

  1. Building excitement through advertising and social media. With so much competition for nurses in South Florida, Cleveland Clinic Florida had to promote its differentiators — the aspects that would draw nurses to relocate from outside the region or from another employer within the region.

“Our recruiting messages leveraged Cleveland Clinic’s international reputation,” says Major. “We touted our professional practice model, focusing on quality, safety, caregiver experience, patient experience, and professional growth and development. We’re also a physician-led organization and a teaching hospital. Those elements make our culture stand out and enticed applicants to become part of something special.”

Excitement about Cleveland Clinic Florida’s expansion and hiring began building on trade websites and social media months before the first recruiting event. Advertising, including radio spots, also helped get the word out to the tri-county community.

  1. Hosting recruiting events on-site. All of the preparation culminated in monthly recruiting events held at Cleveland Clinic Florida.

“We invited applicants to see our building, see the construction, meet our leadership team and talk to other caregivers,” says Major. “They could experience the energy here.”

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Applicants applied online before or during the event. Resumes were collected as they arrived. Some applicants had panel interviews immediately. Others were scheduled for interviews at a later date.

“About four to six nurses — including nursing directors, nurse managers and bedside caregivers —interviewed each applicant together,” says Major. “We had different groups for each nursing specialty, such as OR, ER, critical care and ICU. If an applicant wasn’t sure where they’d prefer to work, they could visit with multiple panels to learn more about the organization.”

In addition to attending recruiting events, nurses could apply for individual positions via Cleveland Clinic’s website.

Thanks to these three factors, Cleveland Clinic Florida attracted a steady stream of qualified applicants. The tactics could work for any medical center striving to add a volume of quality personnel, says Major.

“Convening a strategic planning committee, promoting hiring opportunities through multiple communication vehicles, and then hosting energizing recruiting events helped us meet aggressive hiring targets,” she says.