New Nursing Portal Offers Personal Career Advice

May 13, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Amanda Picton doesn’t like disillusioning nursing students about their first job out of school, “but I want to be honest with them.”

So when she tells the students who call her for career advice to look in Texas and expect $50,000 a year, rather than in Missouri for $100,000, she’s not surprised that some of them tell her she’s wrong. “In nursing school they are mislead to believe they are going to be making $50 an hour and are in demand everywhere,” says Picton. “We do this (recruit and place nurses) everyday. We know what the market is like.”

Now, Picton and her recruiting colleages at InHouse Assist are sharing their knowledge of healthcare careers with anyone for free.

Last Wednesday, Nurses Day and the start of National Nurses Week, InHouse Assist launched RNPathways, a career portal for nurses and nursing students. It’s a social network, with a job board, blogs, nursing and medical news, and big plans for a weekly online video show. It’s an ambitious undertaking, especially for a mid-sized medical staffing and recruitment firm like InHouse Assist.

What sets RNPathways apart from the better-known sites like NursingWorld are the recruiters who are already fielding a dozen or so career calls a day from nurses and students. In bold lettering on the front of the new site it says “we provide free, confidential career services” and gives a toll-free number.

Danny Gutknecht, CEO of InHouse Assist, says job listings are important, and online networking is crucial, but “at the end of the day, people still want a personal contact. Someone to talk to.” His recruiters have always been encouraged to build relationships with cold callers, helping them understand the job market whether they are nurses, physicians, or other healthcare professionals, including administrators and IT.

“I think a lot of people jump into our business strictly for the cash,” Gutknecht says. And though InHouse Assist is in business to make money, the company’s recruiters have always been able “to get on the phone with (job seekers) without a price tag on the candidate’s head.”

Picton, by way of example, says she has personally helped revise on the order of 2,000 resumes during her career as a recruiter. She’s spent hours on the phone talking through major life decisions with professionals who may never be placed through InHouse Assist. Others, of course, are.

“We are very good with people keeping in touch,” she says, telling us about a woman with whom she’d been in contact for two years before being placed in a California hospital. Just recently, she went to lunch with an unemployed candidate who moved to Arizona, where InHouse Assist is headquartered.

While actually speaking with a recruiter may be its most unique offering, Gutknecht expects RNPathways to grow in other ways. In the week since it launched, almost 90,000 people have signed up. They are among the half-million candidates in the InHouse Assist database invited to participate. The acceptance rate is striking, and far above the 5 percent email response rate considered excellent.

Now adds Gutknecht, “We have to make sure that there is an integrity of content out there — interesting content.”

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