May 20, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

A new survey says students choose nursing because they want to help people. But the money doesn’t hurt.

The student nurses who frequent CampusRN by a margin of 4 to 1 say  they chose a nursing career for altruistic reasons. Even after a year or two of chemistry, biology, anatomy, and other challenging classes, 98 percent said they would still choose a healthcare career.

At the same time, 54 percent of the students taking the survey said salary is their No. 1 consideration in picking an employer. Close behind are hours and schedule, benefits, and the quality of management and staff, each with 45 percent.

CampusRN, which, as its name suggests is a niche career site for nursing students, conducted the survey in conjunction with Bernard Hodes. As do most of these online surveys, the report cautions not to draw far-reaching conclusions since the 661 respondents came exclusively from the CampusRN site and chose to participate, coaxed by a contest and $5.

Still, the results ring true (a comment that must be like a poke in the eye to our statistics professor). They jibe with other nursing surveys in the areas of demographics and career motivation. And (here I go again professor) there’s no reason to think the students who frequent CampusRN are much different from other nursing students, besides being more attuned to the Internet and willing to take a survey.

More directly of interest for recruiters, though, are the findings of how students seek or expect to seek jobs when the time comes. As might be expected from a survey conducted online, digital sources dominate, with 83 percent of the survey takers mentioning one or more online sources. Half mentioned healthcare or nursing specialty job boards.

Career fairs also were mentioned by half the respondents as a place to look for work. Clinical rotations are also a source of jobs and leads for 40 percent. In fact, in the report written by Hodes, rotations and externships were found to be among the most effective ways a student has of finding out what it would be like to actually work for a particular employer. “Clinical rotations are perceived as very effective at conveying a realistic perception of work environment,” says the report.

There are plenty more nuggets for recruiters. For instance, you won’t find most of these students by doing a resume search; 60 percent have not posted anywhere. Of those who have, 20 percent have posted to CampusRN, while 12 percent have posted to Monster and about the same to CareerBuilder and HotJobs.

Pay close attention to your career site. Almost 80 percent of the respondents said they look there for information about prospective employers. They notice what you don’t have. Somewhat more than a third of the students say these sites lack crucial information such as career development, benefits, and continuing education offerings.

Don’t want your career site to go into detail about some of those things? You should know these students spend an average of 3.6 hours a week on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and CampusRN2RN. The survey doesn’t say what they exactly do there, but at least occasionally asking about an employer would be a good guess. (There goes that A we got in statistics.) After all, 43 percent of the students are willing to hear from a recruiter connecting with them via a social network.

The report includes a section entitled Recruiter Checklist. Scan it, if all you have time for is a quick read.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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