Kooky is correct - the only 'door' into hospital employment these days is through HR, and that is most via on-line applications. There are a number of reasons for this. In the current environment, the amount of nursing applicants vastly outnumbers the actual jobs available. HR departments are coping with fewer staff - just like all other departments. However, they are still responsible for complying with Federal laws that govern the hiring process in the US. (They have to keep detailed records of their employment processes & turn in annual reports that indicate their compliance with all the Federal regs.) It is just physically impossible to manage the huge volumes of nursing applications by hand - - so for most employers
, an online system is the only feasible way to manage the application process.
Despite how widespread the "on-line applications only" practice is, most of these applications are just C**P!! I know how awful they are to navigate & how frustrating it is to spend (literally) hours trying to figure out how to apply for multiple positions or attach your cover letter/resume. YEEESH! If you find this to be true, make a call to the HR department and talk to them about it. There may be something wrong with the system that they didn't know about.
For goodness sake, do not do any 'cold calls' on hiring managers - trying to just drop by and give them your resume. They can get into real trouble if they do not adhere to HR rules... because failure to do so puts the organization at risk for Federal law violations. They are also super-busy and don't have the time to stop and socialize. If you try to do this, you will only come across as someone who has an inappropriate sense of your own self-importance/entitlement... guaranteed to turn off the hiring manager.
I wish I had pearls of wisdom that would be more helpful.