This is Nursing

Recruiting Nurses During a Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic put St. Joseph’s Health under enormous strain, exacerbating burnout and staffing shortages. We created a nurse recruitment campaign that acknowledges the professionalism and dedication of LPNs, RNs, and other essential hospital personnel in the face of immense challenges.

As the country hit yet another spike in transmission, we deployed a nurse recruitment campaign for Syracuse, NY-based St. Joseph’s Health. “This Is Nursing” resonated due to the raw emotional messaging that showed support and respect to the high-stress profession, acknowledging the selflessness and resilience of nurses. 

The Great Resignation, driven by exhaustion and external factors like lack of childcare and low wages, reduced the number of healthcare professionals in the workforce, causing the remaining staff to shoulder additional responsibilities. Through secondary research studies and in-person interviews with their nurses, we listened to their concerns and gained insight into their perspectives and how we could emotionally connect with them.

Our strategy walked away from the typical ads shilling benefits and signing bonuses and prioritized issues they most cared about: autonomy at the bedside, a voice in decision making, investment in healthcare technology that improves efficiencies, teamwork, collaboration with peers and doctors, and their drive to continually improve their skills and the quality of care they provide.ᅠ

Ours was an unvarnished and authentic campaign presented in a documentary style that featured journalistic portraits and unscripted messaging directly from the nurses.ᅠ


After launching the campaign with a local spot buy on the Super Bowl, our media team tactically rolled out the micro-targeted campaign on social, digital, email, cable TV, and OTT to reach nurses where (and when) they are—nurses have crazy schedules, after all.

The campaign had the intended result—the hospital could finally fill the deep nursing void. In fact, the 3-month average ratio of nurses hired vs. nurses lost turned positive and outpaced that of any other 3-month period over the prior 2 years.