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Hiring New Nurses: A Complete Guide

Registered Nurses (RNs) make up the lifeblood of any patient-facing medical facility. These multi-talented professionals are experts in their field, as well as in communication and teamwork – RNs not only tend to patients’ medical needs, but also act as liaisons between the patient, their family members, and the rest of their care team, including medical staff as well as organizational administration.

Talented Nurses keep things running, and it takes a solid recruitment strategy to find and hire the best RNs for your team. So let’s discuss a few best practices for hiring new Nurses that will help your organization to build and maintain a Nursing team to be proud of. 

How to Hire a Nurse

Nursing is a highly skilled discipline which requires a certain level of education and experience to be eligible even for entry-level positions. New RNs and CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) are already qualified for basic patient care upon graduation. From there, Nurses may specialize in a number of advanced professions within the field – most of these will come with their own training and licensing requirements.

With this in mind, hiring a new Nurse for a specific position is at first a game of paperwork. A Cardiac Nurse, for example, must have their foundational Nursing license as well as the advanced CV-BC credentials in order to practice. 

Board certification guarantees that your Nursing candidate has the education necessary to perform effectively within their new role.  But you must also ensure that your new Nurse can apply that education in a practical setting: good bedside manner, skilled communication, and field experience are all important attributes for Nurses to have, and not something you will glean from a license number.

So, the first step to hiring a new Nurse is identifying both the soft and hard skills you need represented within the position you’re trying to fill. What these are may change depending on the speciality, and level of patient interaction. 

Types of Nursing Roles

From general Nursing to the hyper-specific, there are many, many Nursing specialties for which your organization may be hiring. Let’s take a look at a few broader categories of Nursing disciplines to get an idea of what’s out there.


  • CNAs

    Certified Nursing Assistants work under the supervision of an RN or LVN. They provide basic patient care in a number of medical settings including hospitals, as well as residential facilities, rehabilitation centers, and more. CNAs do not need a license to practice, but they must hold CNA certification and should possess all the communication skills necessary to provide quality care to a wide range of patients.

  • RNs

    Registered Nurses hold a formal Nursing license and may practice in their field without direct supervision from another Nursing professional following training and orientation. RNs may specialize in a number of areas, working in patient-facing as well as behind-the-scenes roles.

    - General Practice Nurses provide essential medical care to a wide range of patients across a variety of facilities including hospitals, residential facilities, outpatient care centers, and private homes.
    - Specialized Nurses provide medical care to patients with more specific needs which require a higher degree of training, certification, and experience: for example, Labor and Delivery Nurses are specialized to provide patient care in the late stages of pregnancy, and during birth.
    - Nurse Administrators do not work directly with patients, but instead manage Nursing teams, coordinate staffing, develop internal working policies, etc.
    - Nurse Educators take what they have learned in the field and use it to teach new Nurses, or non-nursing students in other educational settings.

  • NPs

    Nurse Practitioners are highly-educated, advanced-practice clinicians who are able to make calls and provide care without supervision or input from a doctor. Nurse Practitioners may be seen by patients as a primary care provider, or for more specific ailments if the NP chooses to specialize. Nurse Practitioners must have either a Master’s or Doctoral degree in their chosen field, as well as hold a license as a Registered Nurse.

Where to Find Nurses

Talented Nursing professionals can be found on many of the same recruiting sites that you would look for candidates in other disciplines. Especially for Nurses with administrative expertise, platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed offer easy access to RNs offering experience in staff management and office strategy. 

Other more specialized recruitment sites allow employers to connect with Nurses looking for work and willing to accept a range of employment types. Medely for example is a Nurse staffing platform wherein facilities can recruit travel and per-diem Nurses for temporary work in most specialties. 

Another platform,, is a Nursing talent marketplace that provides intelligent matching services between the employer and the job-seeker.

Organizations interested in hiring fresh graduates might also consider advertising open positions in colleges and other educational facilities offering Nursing programs.

You can also solicit your current team of Nurses to locate new candidates – staff members may be able to recommend new talent from their external network.

Finally, don’t limit yourself to communicating only with active job-seekers: Nurses who are currently employed tend to have great working records and desirable skill sets. Consider including candidates not currently seeking work in your searches on sites like LinkedIn.

The Process for Hiring Nurses

Wherever you’re finding your nurses, here are a few steps to follow for a successful hiring experience.


  • Know what you want. Whether you’re reaching out to passive candidates or posting a listing on a busy recruiting site, you should have a comprehensive job description ready to go for a clear and smooth hiring process. This starts by building an ideal candidate profile for the job in mind so that you understand both the soft and hard skills you need to look for – these should be reflected in the description, and vetted during the interview process.

  • Interview for behavior. Your candidate should come with paperwork in hand that proves their education and experience – of course you’ll want to ask questions about technical skill and field experience, and you will need to verify all certifications and licenses. But you should also make sure your Nurse has the right character, attitude, and spirit for the job at hand. You will learn more about this by asking questions that investigate the candidate’s behavioral history in the workplace.

  • Involve your current Nursing staff. At least one senior member of your patient-facing Nursing team should absolutely be involved in the interview, in addition to the hiring manager and other relevant members of staff. An active Nurse will have the best idea of what your current staffing needs are, and whether the candidate is a good fit.

  • Check their references. It is important to get as clear a picture as you can on your Nursing candidate’s actual behaviors and attitude within the workplace. Speaking to the references the applicant provides can help to build this picture, give critical context to stories within the interview, and even uncover some hidden achievements which your candidate may have neglected to mention.

    Here are a few questions you should make sure to ask while checking references: Reference questions for Nurses.

  • Prioritize making a good impression. Whether or not you end up hiring the candidate, good communication, easy scheduling, and prompt status updates will help your Nursing candidate to feel respected throughout the process, making retention or re-application more likely in the future. Nurses who feel good about where they work and the hiring process in took them to get there are also more likely to recommend your organization as an employer to other Nurses within their network, thus widening your pool of potential recruits.

Making the Right Choice

Your candidate’s paperwork checks out. Their background comes in clean. They interview well, and seem to have all the soft skills they need to do well in the position. What’s next?

Before you extend an offer, see what CrossChq has to say.

CrossChq is a hiring and retention solution trusted by many leading healthcare companies. With CrossChq, organizations can easily check candidate references and gain clear, candid insight into the new Nurse’s past working relationships. CrossChq also helps you to build a better candidate pool so you can more easily access talented Nurses across any speciality and experience level.

Learn more about what CrossChq can do for your company: Request a demo today.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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