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Staff shortages in clinics: how to recruit nurses


There is a shortage of thousands of nursing staff nationwide. The job is considered by many to be unattractive. But that need not be. In order to attract staff, some clinics are breaking new ground. With success.

“Attracting and retaining nurses” is written on the door of the conference room, where the lectures on this topic are about to begin. All the chairs in the room are occupied. One of the experts who will speak here is Maja Schäfer. She can speak very well. “My career began on the radio. Listeners call who I don’t know personally. But I have to create a confidential situation very quickly. Now I know how to quickly build a bond.”

A good team atmosphere is important

She will report on building a bond in the conference room in a moment. Because that’s what she lives on now. She is a recruiter for the DRK clinics in Berlin. Your job is to attract applicants. And that’s what everyone in this conference room wants. It is filled with hospital managers from all over Germany who have traveled to Berlin especially for this specialist conference.

“I have to generate nursing staff so that we can remain functional in the intensive care unit. There are few offspring,” says a nursing manager from Rhineland-Palatinate. Money is important, as are good working conditions. But that’s not all anymore. “It starts with the team atmosphere, where employees already say in the first few days: ‘I feel good here’.” But if that’s not the case, then the inhibition threshold to go again is very low, adds a colleague. This is exactly what Maja Schäfer wants to prevent.

Shortage of skilled workers in nursing: Specialist congress in Berlin discusses ways out

1/28/2023 8:12 p.m

Emoji via WhatsApp

At the congress, she shows how a good climate in a team can succeed. It’s about respect and personal contact. For her, this starts with the applicants. Whenever someone reports online via the clinic’s job portal, Schäfer makes contact immediately and stays tuned in.

“We all use first names, we talk to them via WhatsApp, we send emojis, we build a very friendly bond with the applicants.” In the time between the application, the interview and the first day at work, she keeps people engaged and ensures that they don’t drop out.

Specially created department

“Of course, the specialist departments then conduct the interviews themselves and ultimately make the decisions. But I’m behind everyone and look: ‘Who’s stuck, who can we maybe place somewhere else in the company?’ I keep track of things and always sweep behind a bit.”

Schäfer can fully concentrate on all of this because her recruiting department was created precisely for this purpose, in addition to the HR department. That was three years ago. “The effect of this was that we increased the number of applicants by 152 percent,” she says.

online transparency

Many of the applicants found information on the clinics’ job portal. With just a few clicks, they can read what they will earn before the interview – with a nurse it is 2958 to 3709 euros, with a physiotherapist 2772 to 4268 euros – or get to know their future colleagues in videos.

One of these videos shows nurse Dilek Erusta. She runs the vascular and diabetes center at the DRK Klinik Berlin-Mitte and accompanies her everyday life with her cell phone camera: Arriving in the coffee kitchen, planning the day at her desk, transporting the patient to the examination. Dilek Erusta shows her work area. “It’s nice that we as a team can help win new colleagues,” she says. More than 50 colleagues present themselves and their work online.

Erusta talks about a new colleague from her department: a medical assistant who also had other job opportunities in Berlin. The transparency and the uncomplicated approach were important points to attract the colleague. In order to keep her, she was given a mentor at her side in the early days, who was always there to answer any questions.

Yoga and help with childcare

“It’s part of our onboarding process. We want people to stay and for that we need a welcoming culture.” Yoga, resilience classes and back consultations are available so that employees can feel comfortable even after the initial phase. Individual wishes can be expressed to the company health management. Help is also offered with childcare.

The effort for new staff seems to be worth it. At the DRK Klinik Köpenick, the number of vacancies in the area of ​​nursing and functional service has fallen by 55 percent compared to December 2020. Dilek Erusta is also satisfied. There are currently no vacancies in your department.