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Come as you are: How Asante is working to recruit the best nurses

Recruitment campaign focuses on Asante’s local ownership, unique culture, education opportunities and mentorships.

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With the national nursing shortage reaching critical mass, Asante job recruiters have found themselves competing for talent with health systems all over the country, each luring job candidates with bonuses, housing incentives and promises of professional fulfillment.

So how can a relatively small system in rural Oregon attract enough qualified candidates to fill the 150 nursing positions currently open?

We play to our strengths.

“We offer a unique culture,” says Tami Garcia, senior nursing recruiter for Asante Talent Acquisition. “We’re not a nationwide system. Our headquarters are here, our CEO is here. You can walk down the hallway and have conversations with our executives. Just as important, employees say they appreciate the support they get from their fellow team members.”

Asante’s salaries and benefits are highly competitive, of course, as are its educational and professional development programs. But our system’s small size, relaxed culture, camaraderie, focus on quality and flexible scheduling may be among the biggest draws, along with being located in a bucolic setting.

Those attributes are woven into Asante’s local and national recruiting campaign, which involves a revamped careers site, testimonials and virtual meet-and-greets where job candidates can meet Asante’s nursing leaders and educators.

In videos, Asante nurses tell their stories and share the advantages they have working for a small organization — from advancement opportunities to working in close-knit teams.

Nundu Maingi Downing, a general medicine nurse at ARRMC, came as a new grad 11 years ago and never left, in part because of Asante’s supportive culture. When her father died in Kenya, where local customs require a swift burial, she needed to take time off immediately.

“My manager came through,” she says. “I got to bury my father. That has always been so special for me.”

Recruiters want job candidates to know they are welcome not just for the skills they bring, but also for who they are. Print and digital advertising carries the theme, “Everything you are means everything to us” and features real Asante employees doing what they love outside of work.

“We accept people for being unique,” Garcia says. “We’ll always have our Values, policies and procedures, but you can be accepted here for being you. That’s not just something on our website, it’s something we believe in.”

Indeed, Asante’s workplace rules have evolved in recent years, in part to accommodate a changing workforce and allow greater self-expression. The dress code now permits visible tattoos, limited piercings and brightly colored hair. Flexible scheduling and, more recently, remote work for nonclinical staff, are also allowed.

Over the past year, leaders also formed an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee to ensure that Asante fosters a welcoming culture for all.

“We recognize that, like most organizations, will still have work to do to promote inclusiveness within Asante and the broader community,” said Robert Begg, vice president of Human Resources and a committee founder. “This committee is just a start.”

To fill today’s positions as well as those in the future, Asante has developed a New Nurse Graduate Program. It gives newly licensed nurses experience in working in an acute care setting. The goal is that, like Nundu, these graduates will gain skills and eventually decide to stay with Asante.

If you have any questions or would like to refer someone to any of the open nursing positions, contact nurse recruiters at [email protected].

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