Individual Case Study, Hiring Practices


St. Vincent’s Hospital is a 260-bed hospital in a northeastern city affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The administrator is Sister Claire, a 56-year-old member of the Daughters of Charity religious order. During the last decade, the hospital operated with a nursing staff of approximately 450 registered nurses and experienced a nursing turnover rate of about 25 percent per year. The turnover rate was average for the city during this time period. However, it has accelerated to an average of 35 percent over the past three years.

These higher turnover rates have put additional pressure on the recruiting process to provide larger numbers of qualified candidates. However, Sam Barnett, director of human resources, has reported more difficulty locating qualified nurse candidates over the last three years. Barnett’s office has prepared the recruitment data shown in Exhibit 2.9 . The data show that 273 applicants (from all sources) had to be screened to produce 52 qualified candidates who accepted a job offer. One year later, 19 of these 52 had left the hospital. The last column shows the direct and indirect costs of recruitment by source, including clerical time, supervisor time, and direct costs, such as travel and postage. The human resource department has also conducted a telephone survey of all the nurses they could locate who did not accept a job offer from the hospital during the most recent three-year period. Reasons for such rejections are shown in Exhibit 2.10 .

Sister Mary Louise, the 62-year-old director of nursing service, has conducted all off-site recruitment for many years. This includes attending both the local Nursing Job Fair and the State Nursing Association Annual Meeting. She has begun to feel burned out as a result of all her external recruiting and internal evaluation of candidates over the years.

At a recent meeting, she suggested that an outside group (your group) be brought in to analyze the recruiting process, identify problems and opportunities, and suggest improvements. Sister Mary Louise and Barnett readily agreed to an outside consultant because they are aware of current nursing shortages due to declining nursing school enrollments. St. Vincent’s Hospital itself contributed to this enrollment decline by closing its own School of Nursing due to fewer applications and the high cost of operation.

Since recruitment of new nurses has begun to fall behind turnover of nurses employed at St. Vincent’s Hospital, the vacancy rate has begun to increase. Five years ago, only 11 percent of staff nursing positions were unfilled. This percentage has now increased to 23 percent. One result has been an exhausting workload on the existing nursing staff. In addition to increased turnover, the symptoms of staff burnout (i.e., stress, conflict, absenteeism) are becoming more evident.


1.How would you evaluate the nurse recruiting strategy currently being used by St. Vincent’s Hospital? Is the hospital using too few or too many recruiting sources? Why?

2.If you feel that the hospital is using too many recruitment sources, which ones would you eliminate and why?

3.What stage or stages in the recruitment process seem to be most amenable to improvements? What specific improvements would you suggest to decrease the yield ratios? Why?

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