Whether you are hunting for your very first nursing position or have decades of experience and are looking for a change, finding the right employer is essential for long term job satisfaction and career growth. Once it was difficult to track down information about a potential employer, but with the internet it is fairly simple to check out an employer to ensure that they match up with your work and personal ethics and goals. What information should you look for?
Before doing a job search do a personal inventory of what aspects of a job are most important to you. Do you want to work for a company who has a strong involvement in community events? Do you want or need someone with educational benefits? Do you want to work for an institution which only deals with a certain population of patients? Do you want a facility with a religious affiliation? Other things to ask yourself include how far you want to travel, are you willing to relocate, and which shift do you prefer. The important thing about your list is that it is a list of what is important to YOU.
Once you have your list, prioritize the list as to which items are essential or “must haves” and which items are only “want to haves”. If you must be within a certain geographical area and must work a certain shift, why look at employers who do not fit those needs? It is truly a waste of your time and theirs for you to do so. Each of us is unique, just as each employer is unique. We want and need different things from our employer, just because a friend says he/she loves where they work does not mean it is right for you, but ask that friend a few questions about what it is he/she finds so wonderful about the employer, word of mouth is a good way to get started on an employment search.
Go to your computer and do a search for employers who meet your criteria, make a list and then visit their websites. Note on the websites their mission, vision and goals; community outreach; affiliations with educational institutions; accreditations through such organizations as Joint Commission; and Magnet designation (a key indicator of nursing excellence and support of the nursing professionals who work there). If you are unfamiliar with Magnet Recognition Program through the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center), visit: http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Magnet.aspx.
Don’t just stop there, dig deeper and look at other sites to gain valuable information. Nursing homes are regulated by numerous federal regulations, finding information on the internet is fairly easy to find regarding long term care facilities. A great place to start is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Their website is found at: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/CertificationandComplianc/index.html?redirect=/CertificationandComplianc/.
Each state also conducts regular inspections of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care facilities. The University of Minnesota has an excellent website which allows you to check out nursing home regulations and where to find more information in each state regarding nursing home state surveys; the URL is: http://www.hpm.umn.edu/nhregsplus/NHRegs_by_State/By%20State%20Main.html.
Hospitals must also pass regulatory surveys to ensure quality of care and adherence to regulations. CMS is an excellent place to look, as well as the ANCC website previously mentioned. However, to find out information on what patients are thinking, conduct a basic internet search for the specific employer you are considering. There are multiple sites dedicated to rating various health care facilities, not just hospitals.
Finally, before you put in your application, make a visit to the facility and just walk around a bit. Are the people friendly, is the atmosphere to your liking, does the facility smell fresh or are there lingering odors? One place I had checked out on the internet seemed like an excellent choice, but when I went to the facility I found that no one smiled or said hello and I even had to wait for quite some time just to ask how to get to a certain part of the facility. I decided not to put in my application.
Checking out a potential new employer may take a little bit of time and effort, but isn’t it worth it to ensure that this new employer will be a good match for you? Just as employers check you out, make sure you check potential employers out. A small investment of time can lead to a long and happy association with a quality facility.