How to Recruit Acute Care Clinicians

A Conversation with Wendy Mounts, Senior Recruiter

I had the opportunity to interview Wendy Mounts, Senior Recruiter at Williamson Medical Center, and she shared her experience on how to recruit for acute care. Read below three tips for recruiting acute care clinicians. By reading this blog you’ll:

  • Understand the uniqueness of acute care recruitment
  • Learn from a practitioner in healthcare recruitment
  • Gain practical ways to recruit acute care clinicians

Chad Harrington

Image credit: Deposit Photos

Image credit: Deposit Photos


With over 17 years in healthcare recruiting experience, Wendy Mounts shared with me exactly how she recruits for acute care, since most of Mounts’s experience has been recruiting for acute care hospitals. She’s the Senior Recruiter at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee.

Mounts’s main goal is “finding the best candidates.”


Recruiting for acute care starts with understanding 

She said that healthcare recruitment starts with knowing your company culture: “Understanding the culture of a facility is probably the most important part of recruiting effectively and being successful at it.” She said to study it, immerse yourself in it, and network with every department of the facility. 


3 Steps to a thorough understanding of your acute care facility 

1. Make a list of the departments.
2. Add to each department:

  • Director’s names
  • Coordinator’s names
  • How many employees in each department
  • How many beds in each department
  • The types of patients they serve

3. Spend three months, three hours a week on the floor of the hospital.

“When I first was hired here, I made a list of all the departments—I actually recruited for half of them at that time. When another recruiter left, I did all the departments, about 30 of them. I found out who the director was, who the coordinator was, how many they had in the department, how many beds did it have, what kind of patients did they serve. I went and I met with them. I sat down and I said, ‘Tell me about your department. What do I need to know to know who you need? When you post a nurse position, you need more than that, so tell me what that looks like. Show me around your floor, let me meet your staff, because every floor in here is different.'"

That’s exactly what Wendy Mounts did. She said that it took her two or three months to really wrap her head around the organization as a whole and as parts. She was still interviewing during this period of time, but she spent two or three hours a week on the floors talking with people until she understood the organization.


Top 3 Ways to Recruit Acute Care Clinicians

1. Know your technology

Study your organization’s technology and make the most of it. 

Wendy Mounts: “Those professionals want to be in the middle of cutting edge technology typically, because a hospital’s where you’re going to find it. They want to be in a place that could be a research facility because they’re doing new things and trying out new things. They’re going to want to be in a place that’s open to or advertising for new technology in surgery, in rehab, in pharmacy, the newest dispenser for drugs, the newest robotic arm in OR. 

“Typically acute care is going to be drawn to those types of characteristics in that type of facility.”

Relode: What do you do about that?

WM: “So you focus on what of that you have and you blow it up. You put as many lines out as you have and you reel in quick. You need to know what you have, what you had, and what you’re going to get. They’re going to ask you, ‘Do you do laparoscopic so-and-sos?’ ‘How many surgeries do you do a year? What level of NICU are you? 

“These questions that I get that when I first started, and I was like whoa! I knew at that point that I needed to do my homework. You need to know it inside and out.”

2. Know your departments

WM: “Know the difference between a med surg nurse, a critical care nurse, an OR nurse, an L&D nurse—those are all very different creatures, different things make them tick.

“Knowing who they’re caring for and what kind of diseases would be helpful. Knowing on a med surg floor that you’re dealing with everything from a gallbladder post surgery patient who’s 20 to a diabetic patient who’s 65—all of that is really important.”

“Other facilities aren’t going to have that kind of variety. IN long term care, you’re dealing with a geriatric population. Period. So that’s a totally different person. A psychiatric facility is dealing with people with psychiatric problems and behavior disorders; they have nothing medical usually happening. That’s totally different! Hospice is dealing with end of life, so oncology, geriatric. Hospital’s where you got everything, so it’s someone who always wants to be challenged and do more.”

3. Look for fast-paced employees

WM: “A lot of times when we get folks who are from a one-kind-of-treatment-ailment-facility into the hospital, it’s very overwhelming for them. So the time-management skills that they need, the ability to multitask and wear different hats. Their critical thinking skills, because at any moment, a med surg patient could become a critical care patient with what’s happening with them. So being able to identify that. A quick thinker.”


Top 4 Interview Questions for Acute Care Recruitment 

Relode: What are your best interview questions for acute care clinicians? Wendy gave the following answers.

1. Why did you apply to Williamson Medical Center?

Bad answers: For money, for a boyfriend.
Good answers: This place seemed different, they have a great reputation, you do a lot of new things, you listen to the community. 

2. What do you want to do long term? Five years from now? Ten years from now?

Bad answer: a stair step to another position like “I want to be a nurse anesthetists in a year and I want to get the time required for that program.”
Good answer: To be a floor nurse.

3. What’s most important to you about what you do? 

Good answer: making a positive impact in the lives of other people, giving them the courage, strength, and support they need to get through it, giving a great experience to patients.
Bad answer: being able to fix patients.

4. What motivates you? 

Bad answer: Money.


My reflections on acute care recruitment 

I asked Mounts, “What motivates you?”

“Helping people,” she said. “Helping them find the best match and be successful, even if it means helping people see the good things about them or the strengths they might have that transfer over to a position they would really just take off.

“When I walk through the halls of the hospital and see people I’ve hired and they wave me down and thank me, ‘It’s the best job I’ve ever had,’ that’s why I do it. Absolutely.”

Over again as I speak with recruitment professionals—and I’ve done over 25 interviews now—I find amazing hearts. If recruiters don’t have a heart for the industry, they will sink in healthcare recruitment. In acute care recruitment, this translates to a heart for patients and thus a heart for the clinicians. 

When the heart is there, the work follows. That’s what recruiters look for in hiring new clinicians, and that’s what I’ve seen in healthcare recruiters. Any correlation? I’d say so. Speed of the leader, speed of the pack.