A new staffing solution: International nurses

Nurse Leader Insider, November 9, 2007

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Five years ago, South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, NY, faced a severe nursing shortage and turned to international recruiting to help meet its needs. Yvette Mooney, RN, senior vice president of patient care services, knew nurses were not only in short supply in her local market, they were also in short supply across the U.S., and since healthcare providers recruited in markets other than their own, the national competition for the same shrinking talent pool was exceptionally high.

"The nursing shortage continues to have a crippling impact on the quality of the state's and the nation's healthcare system," says Mooney.

Consequently, Mooney looked abroad for new sources of nursing talent to fill the vacancies. Many recruiting trips later, the program proves to be such a success for South Nassau that the hospital has created an international nurse recruiting and staffing agency that helps other hospitals and healthcare providers in the tri-state New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area fill their nursing staff vacancies. Making a positive change

South Nassau's international recruiting program, South Nassau Nursing Solutions (SNNS), is a staffing agency dedicated to assisting other hospitals with their international nurse recruitment and placement process.

Although international recruitment poses potential cultural difficulties among staff members, the program has proven successful and helped reduce turnover. When all South Nassau's vacancies were filled by international recruits, the turnover rate reached an all time low. "Turnover breeds turnover," says Mooney. "Nurses have to feel that have enough help to take care of their patients."

According to Mooney, foreign nurses help facilities reduce turnover by providing a permanent staffing solution, rather than relying on short-term fixes such as agency staff. This allows facilities to maintain stable nurse-to-patient ratios.

Editor's Note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "Recruiting international nurses" featured in the Reading Room on HCPro's new online resource center,!

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