The Value of RN Networking: Connect With More Candidates

If you are looking for nurses interested in growing their careers, networking has great potential. You can find nurses networking at events, through social media, or through personal connections.

A nurse who networks is engaged in their career and driven to succeed. This is good news for recruiters looking for the right nurse for that hard-to-fill leadership position or that specialty role that requires a rare type of experience.

Benefits of networking in nurse recruitment

Networking has many benefits, including building new relationships, learning, reaching candidates, and finding new opportunities.

Whether it’s through professional associations, social media, or local events, networking can help expand your pool of potential candidates and make meaningful connections that lead to successful placements and long-term partnerships.

Building relationships through a nursing network

At its core, networking is relationship building. This holds true for networking in nursing. Rather than using networking as a means to an end, approach it as a way to build strong relationships. Relationships like this can pay off for years and be ongoing sources of referrals and opportunities.

Who can you meet through RN networking? The answer is high-quality candidates. You may find nurses who:

  • Want to make an impact on the profession
  • Have leadership roles or potential
  • Are highly engaged and thriving in their career
  • Come recommended by others
  • Are looking for a career change

Sharing and gaining knowledge

Starting conversations is one of the best ways to spark ideas and share knowledge. Networking will give you the opportunity to talk to nurses, managers, and other recruiters who can give you unique insights.

Other healthcare recruiters may be experiencing the same struggles you are and can give you advice on avoiding mistakes. Managers can give you insights into what types of candidates make the best hires. Nurses can tell you what matters to them and what they are looking for in a job.

Professional opportunities with RN networking

RN networking can help you identify nurses looking for change. There may be a lot of them. A 2023 survey revealed that 91% of nurses were experiencing high levels of burnout after the COVID-19 pandemic, and another study found that 31% of nurses planned to leave direct patient care in the next year.

But a new role could reignite their love for the profession. The type of work nurses do is incredibly diverse. It can range from juggling many complex patients on a med-surg unit to focusing on the flow of surgery in the operating room — where they may not interact with patients at all.

There are as many personalities and interests among nurses as there are different types of positions to fill. For a nurse, finding a job that fits can be the perfect antidote to burnout.

How do you network in nursing to reach top candidates?

Three types of networks are used to grow in business. These are operational, personal — sometimes called developmental — and strategic. By understanding how they are used by nurses who are networking, you can use them to connect to candidates.

Operational networking

Operational networking involves building relationships with those you work with daily. Take advantage of these relationships by routinely asking for referrals during interviews with job candidates. Just as you are getting off a call and setting up the next steps, ask your candidate to refer you to others they know who may be interested in a new position.

Nurses’ best friends are often their work colleagues nurses. Supporting each other through long and difficult 12-hour shifts on the front lines of nursing can build special relationships. If a work friend is looking for a new job opportunity, your candidate may know about it.

Personal networking

Personal or developmental networking includes friendships and connections outside of work. Nurses make connections with each other beyond the units they work in by getting involved with professional organizations. To connect with nurses in these spaces, attend networking events, conferences, and job fairs sponsored by nursing associations or nursing schools.

Some organizations that offer RN networking events include:

Networking opportunities from these organizations range from national conferences to local chapter events.

Social media is another way to take advantage of these types of networks. Search for posts about nursing or nursing practice. Engage with and interact with the nurses who post on social media. Send private messages to find out if they would be open to hearing about job opportunities.

Strategic networking

Strategic RN networking involves making a connection with a specific goal in mind. Nurses may actively look for a mentor in a leadership role to support their growth. If you work for a healthcare organization, take advantage of this type of networking by connecting with internal nurse managers.

Ask managers if they would recommend a candidate for internal advancement. They may be mentoring a nurse who has that specific goal in mind and is just waiting for the right opportunity.

Alternatively, if a nurse is not doing well, their manager may be aware of it. Rather than waiting for that nurse to reach full burnout and leave, you can work with managers to find a position that would better fit their strengths.

Taking a deeper look

Don’t assume that a nurse who is struggling is a bad nurse or will struggle in all positions. Some reasons a position may not be the right fit for a nurse include:

  • Lack of interest in the specialty. A nurse who may not feel inspired when trying to learn operating room procedures may find a spark of passion in the physiology of dialysis.
  • Not enough patient interaction. Many nurses enter the profession because they thrive on personal connections as they help patients. These nurses won’t be as satisfied in roles with less direct connection.
  • Too much patient interaction. An introverted nurse may feel drained by constant conversations with patients and be more fulfilled in a role with less direct contact such as nursing informatics.
  • Toxic relationships at work Bullying in nursing is not extinct. While units and managers work to eliminate these behaviors and build positive cultures, not every relationship can be salvaged. A new position may be the best solution for some nurses.
  • A schedule that doesn’t fit. Trading nights for days or vice versa may be all it takes for some nurses to thrive.
  • Workflows that don’t play to strengths. Some nurses are naturally suited to multitasking, and some are not. A nurse who isn’t a natural multitasker could do better in a procedural area, which they can focus on one procedure at a time.

These situations often need to be handled with delicacy. Through your role in recruitment, you can let the manager know what options exist. Many managers recognize that the short-term loss of a nurse who isn’t the right fit is worth the long-term gain of bringing in one who is.

Final thoughts

Networking can offer many ways to connect with engaged, high-quality nurse candidates looking for their next role. It can be a great addition to skills-based sourcing for a talented candidate pool.

For more information on recruiting through our skills-based talent marketplace or to build your custom talent acquisition solution package, contact us today.