A nurse consulting with a patient. This image demonstrates the kinds of images used in the nurse recruitment marketing campaign.

Community-Powered Nurse Recruitment

Community-Powered Health care Recruitment

CASE STUDY: Virginia Area Health Education Center

A local, story-centered approach to grow the health care talent pipeline in rural Virginia.

A nurse consulting with a patient. This image demonstrates the kinds of images used in the nurse recruitment marketing campaign.

The Challenge

Creating a marketing campaign guide and developing print and multimedia collaterals for the Virginia Area Health Education Center (AHEC) regional nurse recruitment campaign to be implemented in Southern Virginia. The collective had a limited budget and internal resources to implement the ongoing student recruitment. By clarifying the approach, we empowered the client to implement strategies and engage the internal community, contributing directly to the campaign's success.

Trees icon, representing growth.

The Growth

We are focused on impact, dedicated to tracking results and adaptive to customer and market needs so that we can focus on what works.

For Virginia AHEC, this resulted in an increase in both the volume and quality of the applicant pool, prompting full classes with waiting lists of qualified applicants. Growth included: 

  • An increase in information session attendance, requiring a larger space to host meetings.
  • The largest application pool in years, as experienced by a partner community college.

The Approach

Letterpress designed this nurse recruitment campaign to engage the public, source authentic materials, tell the compelling story of nursing in Southern Virginia and elicit community engagement.

Cover for Virginia AHEC nurse recruitment campaign booklet designed by Letterpress Communications.
Examples of collateral designed for the Virginia AHEC nurse recruitment campaign.
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The Team

We have found that the most sustainable way to build long-term growth is to engage an entire team.

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The Stories

We believe storytelling is key in building relationships and success. With the Virginia AHEC team, we focused on:

  • Nursing as local, diverse and fulfilling. 
  • The life-changing aspect of nursing — for the nurse and the patients — with an emphasis on an “ah-ha” moment.
  • Encouraging future nurses to “take the next step” and let AHEC guide, help and empower them.
  • Local scenery and people, showing optimism through smiling, authentic faces, daylight and blue sky.
  • Stories of successful students, helping future students to see themselves in the program.

We are a mission-driven company. We only work with organizations that we believe have a positive impact in their communities.

The Virginia AHEC nurse recruitment campaign created a pipeline of future nurses trained to serve in Southern Virginia.

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The Good

Image from the nurse recruitment campaign strategy booklet designed by Letterpress Communications.

The Learnings

Show success.
Letterpress made future students’ aspirations tangible by lifting up stories of local nursing students.

Be authentic.
Instead of pulling from stock imagery, share real images of community members who exemplify what the program can provide.

Build buy-in.
Letterpress worked with the internal client team throughout the process, explaining not just what to do next but why. This allowed the internal team to move forward with the campaign and enjoy the resulting success.


Our main community college, Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC), has seen a significant increase in nursing program information sessions attendance — to the point of having to book larger rooms for these sessions. The cohorts for the PN program starting in January [2019] had the largest and most qualified applicant pool they have had in years — and the classes are full with waiting lists of qualified applicants. So we, and our partners, feel that the campaign, in combination with our outreach efforts, is having a strong, positive impact.

Ann Switzer, Retired Associate Director, Center of Nursing Excellence, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center


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