Hospitals and Candidates Find Ways to Connect Through Social Media

By Carol Burke, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications, AMN Healthcare

February 10, 2011 - Whether you see it as an evolution or a revolution, social media is changing the way jobseekers network and look for jobs.

Last year, AMN surveyed doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied professionals across multiple disciplines. We had a few goals in mind:

  1. to find out if healthcare professionals are using social media/social tools and mobile to network or seek jobs;
  2. to understand if social media had surpassed traditional job search methods; and
  3. to provide leaders, just like you, with information on this front so you know more about new ways in which to connect with and source your healthcare candidates.

The results show that healthcare professionals are in fact using social media as part of their personal career strategy, but not as a replacement for some other traditional means of job hunting. Referrals and direct contact with a company remain the top ways clinicians look for jobs, followed by search engines and job boards.

The Survey Says…

Out of the 1,248 respondents, one in five said that they have used at least one social media site for their job search. Allied professionals (23%) and nurses (22%) have used the sites the most, followed next by pharmacists (18%) and physicians (15%). Only 6% of those job seekers actually moved on to the job interview process, with 3% noting that they accepted a job found via social media.

Significantly more clinicians cited use of social media for professional networking; 37% reported they have used online social media for this purpose. Nurses had the highest use of social media for professional networking among healthcare workers at 41%.

The number one site chosen by survey participants was Facebook. It’s not surprising when you consider it was the most visited site on the Internet in 2010; in fact it overtook Google for the top spot honors. From the survey, sixty-four percent of respondents resoundingly choose Facebook as their primary site of choice. They also prefer You Tube, LinkedIn, My Space and Twitter, but to a lesser degree.

When it comes to mobile devices, physicians are using them more than other healthcare professionals surveyed. Seventeen percent of physicians use mobile devices for healthcare-related content or jobs.

AMN is already preparing to survey healthcare professionals again this year to assess if their social media usage for job searching has increased or if their job searching habits have changed significantly. Certainly hospitals and other healthcare organizations are increasing their presence on social sites.

Whether or not their presence on social media sites has increased, one thing is evident; opportunities exist in the social space for hospitals and other healthcare organizations to connect with potential candidates through social media.

Tracking the numbers…

One hospital employee at a large organization, Ed Bennett, has been tracking hospitals’ use of the larger social sites, including Facebook, You Tube and Twitter for quite some time. A few months ago he started tracking hospitals’ use of LinkedIn as well.

According to Ed’s numbers, nearly 900 hospitals have a presence in social media. Facilities are using Facebook and Twitter more than other social sites and some—nearly 10—have their own blogs. I follow many of these sites via Twitter or other means and it appears that hospitals are using social media for a mix of purposes. For many, Twitter and Facebook allow them to feature community and education programs, specialized health programs or expertise in a particular discipline. Others are using social media sites to promote their facilities as great places to work, with many posting jobs.

Hospitals that maximize on the social melee include Scripps Health in San Diego. Scripps has been successful in responding to customer service comments, turning issues into resolve for the customer, while also showcasing the expertise of their physicians and others. Check out their Twitter page.

Mayo Clinic started its own Twitter feed focused specifically on jobs at Mayo Clinic for the Minnesota, Florida and Arizona locations. The site provides career listings for all types of positions at Mayo Clinic. Nearly 1,800 people are following these posts. Visit their Twitter page.

Video fans seeking healthcare jobs have their pick on You Tube. With more than 400 hospital channels (and multiple videos across most), a mini-movie provides insight into the day in the life of nurses and other healthcare professionals at various facilities across the country. Check out The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which allows nurses and patients to tell the story about why they enjoy working for the organization and the differences they can make.

Speaking of You Tube, another hospital that has forged a spot in this area is Clarian Health (Indiana University Hospital). The facility set up a You Tube channel a few years ago and has several videos for the purpose of nurse recruitment. According to an article in the December issue of eHealthcare Strategy & Trends’ publication, the most popular videos are those that feature “nurses in a fast-paced environment with traditional hospital footage.” Facility spokesperson, Kelly Sego told eHealthcare that the numbers show it’s working for the facility, although she did not disclose the numbers.

Mobile Opportunities on the rise…

As noted earlier, physicians are using mobile devices to access healthcare-related content or jobs more frequently than their medical peers. Doctors said that 17% use mobile devices for this purpose compared to pharmacists at 14%, RNs, 12% and allied professionals 9%.

Physicians are also the heaviest users of mobile applications at 37%. The next closest group is pharmacists at 19%.

Following the survey, AMN launched a mobile job alert program for physicians through its Staff Care and Merritt Hawkins companies. Based on survey information, Staff Care and Merritt Hawkins now provide physicians with the opportunity to self-select how and when they want to receive career opportunities, matched with a unique way to continue sourcing top candidates for facilities. AMN’s travel nursing company American Mobile Healthcare has also recently just launched this service for its nursing candidates.

You can download the full report, 2010 Social Media Survey of Healthcare Professionals, by visiting the AMN Web site.

To contact Carol Burke, you can email her directly at