Prior to Nurse Entry to Practice (NETP) recruitment commencing in October 2019, there were 303 nursing vacancies across the organisation with the prediction this was only going to increase further.
Our vision: To increase graduate nurse numbers being employed into the organisation.
Aim: To ‘grow our own’ workforce, and to have a workforce that reflects the community we serve.
In 2019 we made significant changes to the NETP recruitment processes to create a consistent approach across the organisation and efficiencies in the utilisation of resources (including people).
These changes aimed to create a positive, culturally sound and equitable experience for all candidates so they considered CM Health as a preferred employer for their NETP year.
When identifying vacancy, a Divisional Planning approach was used. A spread sheet was developed by the Chief Nurse, Deputy Chief Nurse and Deputy CFO which showed predicted monthly turnover of staff, current vacancy rate and skill mix at ward/unit level. This data supported Clinical Nurse Directors in discussions with Service and Business Managers to enable Charge Nurse Managers to employ graduate nurses on a permanent contract when there might not have been a ‘current’ existing vacancy.
The new interview format enabled us to interview 182 candidates across 13 days (and in some instances 36 candidates on a single day). This allowed us to have a greater range of candidates available to choose from to fill the vacancies we had identified.
This format also provided our Maaori and Pacifica candidates to have more opportunity for employment as panel members were from two clinical divisions – as a result we were able to put forward 21 Maaori (of 26 interviewed) and 25 Pacifica (of 27 interviewed) as preferred candidates (note: we lost some of our preferred candidate choices in the ACE ‘match’ which is part of the national recruitment process for graduate nurses).
We were able to send out offers of employment and contracts to 100 candidates to commence on either a January or May NETP programme in 2020. Of these, 11 were Maaori and 23 were Pacifica.
Multiple Charge Nurses expressed their appreciation of how organised and stress free the process was and felt it made for better face to face interviews (compared with previous intakes) with candidates after they’d relaxed during the group scenario exercise.
Recent feedback from a lecturer at an Auckland based School of Nursing: “they [students] have loved the warmth and care they felt in the interview processes of CMDHB... they were in stark contrast from some experiences at other DHB's... the approach certainly made many of the students (now grads) seriously consider your DHB where perhaps they had earlier been not sure... so thank you”.
Whilst we have received some great anecdotal feedback, we would like to formally evaluate the process by asking panel members and candidates to share their experiences and insights as we look for ways to further improve. The NETP and recruitment teams also need to debrief about the process and reflect on where further improvement can be made.
There is still some confusion in regard to the vacancy and approval to recruit process with Charge Nurse Managers who have previously had more ownership of this. We need to ensure our communications are robust and clear so that all those involved in employment of graduate nurses understand this part of the process.
A new recruitment booking software programme was also utilised to book candidates in to interviews. Little was known at the time about this software however in future the process should become more efficient as staff become more familiar with its use.