Employment in the healthcare industry is experiencing fast and furious growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare is projected to add the most jobs of any industry between 2014 and 2024. While business is booming, a shortage is looming. In the next five years, 1.2 million vacancies will emerge for registered nurses. And by 2025, this shortfall is expected to be twice that of any nursing shortage experienced in the past half century.

Externships can be a great way to attract future healthcare workers to your organization. An externship provides students the opportunity to shadow healthcare professionals in a hospital or clinic setting.

The benefits of externships

Although similar to an internship, externships are generally unpaid, strictly observation-focused and completed over a shorter time period—like during winter or spring break. Externships can benefit healthcare facilities and participants alike. Participants get a firsthand look at a potential career path, and healthcare facilities gain goodwill for providing the experience. Externships also creates potential job candidates for the future. Welcome externs with these tips and recruitment giveaway ideas:

  • Schools: Ask area school career service departments for help connecting with students. List the criteria you’re seeking in an extern and share upcoming opportunities within your organization. You may even want to drop off a few informational packets that career counselors can circulate. Include an outline of the medical services and types of staff at your organization. If available, employee testimonials can be helpful, too. Tuck this information, along with a business card, in a logo’d pocket folder for easy distribution.
  • Career fairs: A whopping 86 percent of college seniors don’t have a job lined up post-graduation. Career fairs are a great venue to get face time with these job-seekers. Have plenty of staff available to talk to interested students, and offer to set up externships on the spot. Give those who sign up a thank you bag filled with logo’d hand sanitizer, a stress reliever and a notebook with pen.
  • National job shadowing day: Did you know there’s a national job shadowing day? It actually falls on Groundhog Day each year. Use this national day to promote job shadowing within your company. If you already have externs, use the day to recognize them and get them more involved in your company. A thank you gift, such as a tumbler, goes a long way to show gratitude (and would be a great gift for team members who take externs under their wing).

Externships can generate interest in your field and your organization. Welcome externs with these tips and recruitment giveaways. You may just be ahead of the game when it comes to hiring the next generation of workers.

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