Recruitment Campaign Asks Nurses to Say ’Ahhhhh’

Kandace McLaughlin, HealthLeaders Media, August 27, 2008

Click to view larger version.Unlike many recruitment campaigns that aim to fill a defined number of openings, Jefferson Regional Medical Center's (JRMC) nurse recruitment campaign focused on general outreach.

JRMC, located in Pittsburgh, decided to take an approach to the national nursing shortage problem that was different from all the other hospitals competing to fill positions. Using common nursing phrases, the JRMC ads invite nurses to breathe a sigh of relief—because they've finally found a facility that recognizes their needs.

"Basically what we wanted to do was come up with a recruitment plan that was fun, fresh, and something a little more non-traditional in terms of healthcare recruitment," says Renee Holtzman, manager of HR services for JRMC. "We wanted to brand our recruitment efforts and get recognition so [potential hires] could see the name and recognize it."

JRMC met with the Elisco Advertising team (also located in Pittsburgh) to identify key elements and to develop a full marketing communications plan. They started by asking why nurses would want to work for JRMC. Benefits included the facility's location, its plans for growth, and the fact that it's an independent community facility.

The team decided on a full-scale campaign that included print, billboards, and ads on the side of buses. The concepts behind the creative were simple imagery and clear, concise information on JRMC's benefits communicated in a way that played off of the types of things nurses might say in a given day. For example, the phrase "Say Ahhhhh," was used on the image of a tongue depressor. The copy below reads, "You've just found a better place to work."

"Basically we are presenting the programs and [attributes] we already have in place, but we are communicating them in a better and different way with this campaign," says Holtzman. "Elisco really took the things that nurses say on a daily basis to patients and turned them back on them, as a way to let them know that we, as an employer, would care for them as an employee and that they for once would be on the other receiving end of the care and attention. The ad copy presented us with the opportunity to give back to the nurses for being the caregivers they are."

Kandace McLaughlin is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.
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