1. Kalisch, Beatrice J. PhD, RN


With competition increasing for scarce personnel resources, recruitment and retention processes must be efficient and effective. The author reports the results of an extensive study of recruitment processes and systems in acute care hospitals throughout the United States and the major recruitment factors that lead to job choice decisions by staff nurses.


The chief nurse executive is sitting in her office on the sixth floor looking over a list of 180 vacant staff nurse positions, wondering what she should do about her shortage of RNs. The chief executive officer calls and asks when she will be ready to open the new 10-bed unit. No sooner does she hang up, when the chief of surgery calls complaining about short staffing in the intensive care unit (ICU).


In the human resources department, no one is answering the phone and several letters from nurses interested in staff positions lay unanswered. One is accidentally knocked into the waste basket. There is no one available to return the calls from applicants left on the voice mail system during the last week. On a medical-surgical unit, a registered nurse applicant has been waiting 30 minutes to see the nurse manager for a prescheduled interview, while the manager of the ICU, in the middle of another interview with an applicant, leaves the interview for 15 minutes with no explanation.


How frequently do these occurrences happen? Unfortunately, according to my research data, the answer is:all too frequently. Findings from a study of recruitment processes in 122 hospitals throughout the United States uncovered an astounding number of problems in the nurse recruitment processes in hospitals with large numbers of staff nurse vacancies.


Data were collected in 10 geographic locations throughout the United States: Los Angeles, Calif; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla; Miami, Fla; Hartford, Conn; Pittsburgh, Penn; Seattle, Wash; Dallas, Tex; Detroit, Mich; Chicago, Ill; and Kansas City, Kan. A total of 122 acute care hospitals were included in the study. These hospitals were subdivided in groups of four or five within a competitive market area within each of these cities.


A total of 30 market areas were identified. Except for two of these areas, there were four facilities in each. The two remaining areas had five hospitals in them. The number of competitive market area hospital groupings varied per city-some cities had three market areas and others only one. Each area was experiencing significant nurse shortages according to the state nursing organizations and verified with personal contacts with nurse executives in each of these areas.