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DiversityNursing Blog

How Social Media Usage is Changing RN Job Searches

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Jan 06, 2014 @ 10:32 AM

By Jennifer Larson, contributor 

If you enjoy posting photos of your family on Facebook, watching videos on YouTube or pinning pictures of mouth-watering desserts or stylish outfits on Pinterest, you’re not alone. But nurses are increasingly, and more strategically, using social media for professional purposes, too.

AMN Healthcare recently released the results of its 2013 Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage by Healthcare Professionals, which looks at job search and career trends. The survey found that registered nurses, along with other clinicians, have “dramatically” increased their use of social media for job searching since 2010.

The vast majority of nurses, 88%, report they use social media for personal and/or professional purposes, and nearly half (43%) say they use social media for job searching.

Social media researcher and nurse Pamela Ressler, RN, MS, said she expects that nurses’ use of social media for a variety of purposes will continue to increase.

“Social media in and of itself is maturing,” said Ressler, who recently authored an online curriculum titled “Social Media for Nurses” for Sigma Theta Tau International. “Health care professionals, in particular nurses, have been very slow in the adoption of social media in the way other professions have. We’re a little late to the party but we’re learning.”

“I think the expectation is that people are going to be more involved” in using social media, added Marie-Elena Barry, RN, MSN, senior policy analyst for nursing practice and policy for the American Nurses Association.

Social media for nurses augments other job resources 

The AMN survey found that, generally speaking, nurses and other clinicians are using fewer resources to search for jobs, but they’re becoming more discerning in the way that they do so.

Social media is just one of the tools that they’re incorporating into their job seeking, and they tend to use it for looking at job postings, researching companies and seeing if anyone in their network could help them out.

The top RN job search resource is applying directly to a company website, and has stayed steady at 2011 levels of 72%, followed by online job boards at 55% (also remaining steady). Referrals are used by just under half (47%) of all nurses down significantly from 70% in 2011. Other significant shifts in this year’s survey include decreases in nurses’ use of search engines and recruiters.

Eventually, anyone who applies for a job is going to have a direct conversation with a recruiter or human resources member. But long before that step in the process, nurses can use social media to their advantage in gathering information, said Ralph Henderson, president of healthcare staffing at AMN Healthcare. Nurses can use their network of contacts to find out who’s hiring, who may be hiring soon, and what it’s like to work for those health care employers.

“When you do find a job that you’re interested in, use your network to find out more about that organization,” he suggested. “You can use social media to find out what the culture and work environment is like before you apply.”

LinkedIn now in top spot 

Another notable finding in this year’s survey: LinkedIn has finally upstaged Facebook in popularity as the main social networking choice for career purposes among health care professionals. Among nurses, 46% ranked LinkedIn as the top general social media site for career purposes, compared to Facebook at 42%.

Given that LinkedIn was designed as a professional networking medium, it’s not too surprising that nurses are turning to it for professional reasons, said Barry.

“It’s a really good way to share your information and people can reach out. It’s a great way to network and get new ideas,” she said.

In fact, Barry noted that she has personally started using LinkedIn much more in recent months for professional purposes. The ANA recently launched a staffing group on LinkedIn, and she’s become very involved in that.

“LinkedIn has become much more robust and has a lot of similarities to the conversational tone of Facebook now, with its groups,” said Ressler. “People are using it in a different way than LinkedIn was originally being used, which was just posting your profile up there and looking for jobs. Now there’s a lot more professional discussion going on on that site.”

Barry and Ressler both suggested that nurses search for groups on LinkedIn that they might already be affiliated with--a professional association, an alumni group or a specialty organization. Then follow companies or universities or organizations of interest, and follow links to new articles and journal postings to keep current.

Even if you are not actively seeking a new job, it’s important to stay active and keep learning, they stressed. Eventually you might need to call upon your network that you’ve already built and nurtured. 

When asked which health care-focused social media sites they prefer for career purposes, nurses chose as their top choice at 51%; was also among the top favorites, cited by 32% of the nurses surveyed.

No risky moves 

In the nursing profession, you may still hear the occasional tale of social media use gone terribly wrong: a nursing student posts a picture of a patient without the patient’s permission, or a nurse makes an offhand, cutting remark about a colleague on Facebook that comes back to haunt her. 

Luckily, those mistakes appear to be fewer and farther between, as nurses have become more social media savvy. But just avoiding egregious problems doesn’t mean you’re making the most out of your social media presence. Managing your online reputation also means putting your best foot forward--at all times.

Henderson said that nurses should carefully consider images or information that they post on a social media platform. Like many, he suggests having a personal (private) presence and a separate professional presence.

On the professional side, Barry said she would encourage nurses to put together a very complete résumé and ask someone to carefully edit it before posting anywhere. Then check with references to make sure they’re on board, and put all that together on LinkedIn--or in shorter formats on other platforms.

Ressler also pointed out that it is important to regularly update your online profile--both to keep it as current as possible and to remind your network of contacts that you’re out there.  More and more nurses appear to be taking this advice to heart, with 59% reporting in the AMN survey that they have recently enhanced their social profile for professional purposes.

“Even if you’re not looking for a job right now, people will think of you when something comes across their desks,” she said.

Another important reminder: just because you have privacy settings, it doesn’t mean that the information will necessarily stay private.

“I just think that people need to be cognizant of what you’re posting, any comments or any pictures, because it’s there forever,” said Barry.

Fast facts from the 2013 Survey of Social Media 

AMN Healthcare’s 2013 Survey of Social Media and Mobile Usage by Healthcare Professionals was conducted in the spring of 2013. Out of the 1,902 completed surveys, more than 500 were completed by registered nurses and advanced practice nurses.

A few key findings:

  • Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) of the nurses surveyed say they use social media for personal and/or professional reasons;

  • Among RNs who use social media for job searches, 49% use it to look for job postings, 39% to research a company, 25% to see if they know anyone who could help them in their search, 13% to reach out to a recruiter, and 6% to reach out to the HR department;  

  • More than half of the RNs surveyed (54%) said they have looked for a job in the past two years, down from 61% just two years ago;

  • Most nurses are still applying directly to companies via their websites; this key job search resource remained steady at 72% in 2013;

  • Nurses who use social media for job searching cited as their top site of choice (51%);

  • Twenty percent (20%) of clinicians have chosen to receive mobile job alerts, a doubling since 2010; RNs and allied health professionals are the most likely to choose this option.

© 2013. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 


Topics: AMN Healthcare, social media, healthcare professionals, trends, media usage

Survey: Younger nurses upbeat about RN supply, EMRs

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Nov 13, 2013 @ 10:27 AM

A generational gap is showing in nurses’ views of the practice, with younger RNs more likely to have a positive opinion of the nurse supply and use of electronic medical records, according to a survey.

The fourth annual survey was conducted by AMN Healthcare, a healthcare workforce and staffing company. Results were based on 3,413 responses from questionnaires emailed to 101,431 RNs during April 2013. 

“In a time of unprecedented change in the healthcare industry, it becomes even more important to study how the nursing workforce is responding to the myriad new systems, requirements and quality measurements that accompany healthcare reform,” Marcia Faller, RN, PhD, chief clinical officer of AMN Healthcare, said in a news release. 

“While the vast majority of nurses remain satisfied with career choice, the younger generation is more optimistic about the profession and more receptive to the changes the industry is experiencing. These are differences that health systems must understand as they work with multiple generations of nurses.”

Despite existing shortages, RNs ages 19-39 are more confident about the supply of nurses and their ability to meet the demands of healthcare reform, according to the survey. Findings show 45% of younger RNs believe the shortage has improved during the past five years, compared with 41% of RNs ages 40-54 and 34% of RNs ages 55 and older. 

The generational differences widened when nurses were asked whether healthcare reform will ensure an adequate supply of quality nurses, with 38% of younger nurses saying they were “very confident” or “somewhat confident,” compared with 29% and 27% of nurses 40-54 and 55 and older, respectively.

Generational differences also appeared in answers about the use of electronic medical records, a requirement of the Affordable Care Act. Younger RNs were more likely to believe their use positively influenced job satisfaction, efficiency and patient care. While 67% of younger nurses agreed or strongly agreed EMRs were a positive influence on job satisfaction, that number fell to 51% for nurses 40-54 and 45% for RNs 55 and older. 

Similarly, more young RNs (60%) agreed EMRs positively influence productivity and time management compared with older RNs (38%), the survey found. 

Other key findings:

• Almost 90% of nurses, regardless of age, are satisfied with their career choice, and 73% are satisfied with their current jobs.

• With the improving economy, approximately 23% of nurses age 55 and older plan to dramatically change their work life, citing retirement, taking a non-nursing job or working part-time as very near-term possibilities.

• Less than half of RNs with an associate’s degree or a diploma plan to pursue any additional education in nursing. However, RNs ages 19-39 are more likely to pursue higher education, with nearly 25% saying they expect to pursue a BSN and 34% planning to obtain an MSN, compared with 22% of RNs ages 40-54 planning to pursue a BSN and 22% eying an MSN.

• Of younger nurses, 21% are certified in their specialty, but 59% expect to seek certification.

• RNs ages 19-39 were less likely to believe the quality of care has generally declined (37%), compared with RNs 40-54 (56%) and RNs 55 and older (66%).

“The potential departure of a significant number of older nurses from the workforce can be concerning, given the unclear supply and demand for nurses in the coming years, but is to be expected as nurses approach retirement age,” Faller said in the news release. 

“Healthcare systems must use innovative approaches to attract and retain their workforce while keeping them effective and satisfied. Innovative workforce solutions could help maintain high standards of patient care and efficiency in the era of dramatic change in the healthcare industry.”

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Topics: survey, younger, AMN Healthcare, generational gap, work satisfaction, RN, nurses

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