At a time when economic news is dominated by downsizing and layoffs, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is expanding its efforts to recruit new employees for positions ranging from janitor to physician.
Although the state’s unemployment rate hovers at just under 10 percent, Arizona health care facilities added 1,700 jobs in January alone. To meet that continuing need, the association launched an enhanced interactive Internet job board — www.AzHealthjobs.com — that reaches from coast to coast.
Originally launched about 10 years ago, the Web site was created by AzHHA to enable member hospitals to post open positions, much like Monster.com and Jobing.com, but was targeted strictly to hospital positions. Now, with an expanded scope that was launched on Feb. 1, the Web site is open to all segments of the health care industry, including nursing homes and doctor’s offices.
What’s more, posted jobs don’t necessarily have to be in the medical field. For example, CPAs and others who want to work in health care facilities are encouraged to post their resumes.
“The more that we get the word out for our enhanced Web site, the more jobs will be available,” says Patricia Weidman, director of work force and staffing services for AzHHA and who oversees the job board. “This is how we’re helping people who are looking for jobs. A lot of people don’t know about it, because previously it was limited to hospitals. We have marketed the Web site at conventions. We tell people to check it out. Hospitals use engineers, CPAs, janitorial, housekeeping, laundry positions. A lot of non-clinical positions are listed.”
Health care used to be considered recession proof, but that changed somewhat during this past brutal downturn. Weidman says the expanded job board can help make the hiring process more cost efficient for health care providers.
“We’re very excited about the enhancements of AzHealthjobs.com,” she says, “because we know how critical it is for employers in the health care industry to attract first-rate talent with a minimum expenditure of time and resources. And it’s important for us to help enable smooth career transitions for those seeking health industry jobs.”
Weidman says the job board has been a valuable tool for Arizona hospitals, which currently employ 73,000 people and generate $11.5 billion to Arizona’s gross state product.
Job seekers pay nothing to post their resumes on AzHHA’s Web site, but fees are paid by employers with positions to fill. Positions can be posted for 30 days for a fee of $350. At any given time, hospitals and other employers list 1,000 to 1,500 jobs, with direct links to individual career sites, Weidman says.
As part of the expansion, AzHHA joined the National HealthCare Career Network (NHCN). The NHCN partnership brings together the best sources of highly qualified talent from leading professional and trade associations representing skills in all sectors of health care.
AzHHA also is partnering with Boxwood Technology, a leading provider of career center services for the association industry. Boxwood, which administers and manages AzHHA’s jobs site, is the only such provider endorsed by the American Society of Association Executives. Boxwood also provides technical support, customer service, accounting, content management and ongoing product development. Weidman says Boxwood has a network of more than 185 leading health care associations and professional organizations.
Any money generated from the Web site goes back to the nonprofit side of AzHHA and helps keep dues down, Weidman says.
“So hospitals are benefiting, even though we are opening the Web site up,” she adds. “Some hospitals had expressed concern, but we were able to reassure them.”
It’s still too early to tell how effective the newly expanded Web site will be, Weidman says. It will take time to get the word out, which she does on a monthly basis at nursing conventions and job fairs around the country.
“I tell everyone to get their resumes on there if they’re looking for a health care position in Arizona,” Weidman says. “This is the place to be.”
Especially for nurses. In the past, some nurses Weidman met at conventions would say they didn’t want to work in a hospital, but preferred something else, such as a nursing home. For a nurse, working in a hospital is not the same as in a nursing home, school, doctor’s office or prison. Different skills are required, and the pace is much quicker, for example, in emergency rooms and intensive care units. With the expanded Web site, nurses looking for a position can zero in on specific career opportunities.
And despite the sorry state of the economy, hospitals, not as hard hit as other industries, are still hiring nurses.
“Hospitals have been using a lot of temporary staff, some nurses are taking additional shifts, and some part-timers are going full-time to fill any shortages,” Weidman says. “We wouldn’t have this program if they weren’t still hiring.”
A recent survey indicates that one-third of the RNs in Arizona are 55 or older.
“When they retire, we still will have a nursing shortage,” Weidman says. “We’re telling hospitals that this is a perfect time to build their own resume database, so when those positions do come up, they can tap into that database and be ready to go when they have the need.”