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YON 2020 Day 174: Lydia Pitts, MSN, RN, NE-BC

As the Director of Nurse Recruitment in Talent Acquisition at Cleveland Clinic, Lydia Pitts, MSN, RN, NE-BC, leads a team responsible for the identification, attraction and hiring of qualified nurses and nursing support staff. Here she explains what she has learned about the process of finding the person with the most important qualities.

When I chose the career of nursing, I envisioned myself being in an honored service profession that would allow me to use science, which I loved, to provide care to patients. To my surprise, nursing is so much more. Over the years I have come to understand that being a nurse is being a life-long learner, a pharmacist, a physician, a social worker, a physical & occupational therapist, a counselor, a housekeeper, a companion, and so much more! You learn nuances of these roles as you collaborate with these professionals. However, nothing is more important than providing these skills with compassion and empathy.

As a nurse leader, I routinely interviewed nurses for roles on a high profile medical surgical unit. Each resume was meticulously crafted with the required clinical experience and reference statements. Early on, I was duped by the answers to behavioral based interview questions and requisite qualifications. It quickly became clear that the majority of the applicants were aptly qualified and smart enough to answer those questions thoughtfully. What was necessary was to identify caregivers with compassion and empathy. So many organizations are skilled at teaching nurses how to nurse in high-paced academic medical centers, but doing so with care and compassion is non-negotiable.

It became imperative that the recruitment process involve opportunities to gauge a candidate’s compassion and empathy. Simple techniques like focusing on the candidates emotional intelligence; determining whether the candidate is listening or just listening for their turn to speak; or how they treat strangers or individuals that they may not consider to be key contributors, can reveal those values or the lack thereof. I learned how important the interview and shadow experience was to determining a candidate’s propensity to provide the empathetic and compassionate care that we all deserve. As a nurse and a leader, it is an honor for me to share my pride of the profession of nursing with recruiters and candidates in my pursuit to acquire top nursing talent.

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