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Nurses Needed

December 18, 2023

Henry Ford Health is Recruiting Through Teamwork and Community Building

Facing a nursing shortage, Henry Ford Health’s Chief Nursing Officer Eric Wallis spends much of his workday looking for innovative ways to recruit nursing talent− and his approach could be the perfect model for other Michigan businesses in a similar hiring pinch.

Wallis, who joined Henry Ford Health’s executive team in 2019, began his career as a bedside nurse, so he understands that recruiting this key role within any hospital takes a team approach, smart recruiting techniques, and plenty of creativity.


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For example, Wallis recently returned from the Philippines, where he, his team and one of Henry Ford Health’s longtime nurses served as an ambassador for recruiting new hires who want to embrace a community, work in a high-tech nursing environment, and have a unique live work opportunity through Henry Ford Health.

Another recruitment tool is Henry Ford Health’s partnership with Michigan State University. In 2021, they teamed up to expand nurse education and training opportunities in the Detroit Region. Part of this partnership includes an upcoming $2.5 billion investment between Henry Ford Health, MSU, the Detroit Pistons and the city of Detroit for a New Center development that features an academic and
high-tech healthcare campus.

Why are you excited to work with the Pistons, Detroit, and Michigan State on the new center mixed-use development?

You’re not just talking about building a new hospital − you’re also talking about making a huge investment in the community that surrounds it. It’s a great incentive for folks who want to live in a city and be close to work. We’re working together to create a neighborhood that’s a great place to live and work.

How are you promoting Detroit in your recruitment efforts?

There are places around the country where folks still don’t know about the revitalization of Detroit and the amazing things we have going on. Being out there and having those conversations gives people an opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from us.

When we recently were recruiting international nurses, we had one of our Philippine nurses whose been with Henry Ford Health for a number of years go with us and she was able to talk about the community and the things to do in Detroit. You could see the excitement level in the room go up as she was talking. We’re looking for those ambassadors who can talk about all the great things going on in the city and at Henry Ford Health because it helps us reshape the image of what people think of Detroit.

What resonates with young recruits, such as hires between the ages of 18 and 30?

What gets people excited is when you start talking about a community and your support of it. It’s not just Henry Ford Health, either. It’s the other organizations in the community that want (our hires and the city) to be successful. We tell them about the renaissance across the city of Detroit—our organization isn’t just here to do wellness or healthcare but also grow the city. Those are the kinds of things that get people excited because they want a place that’s not just where they drive in, go to work and leave at the end of the day. They want to be part of a community. That’s one of things I love about Henry Ford Health is we take a very active role in trying to create and shape the community. We definitely feel that obligation—we’re not just here to provide a service. We’re here to take care of the community that we live and work in.