My co-worker and I were hired full-time per diem and later requested full-time work. In the meantime, three people, all friends with management, were hired full time in our department and the positions were not posted. Is this legal?
It is difficult to answer your question without more details. First, since it appears you and your friend were not offered the full-time positions, did you raise this issue with your nurse manager or with the person you asked for full-time positions? This would be a first step in attempting to understand why the two of you were not offered the positions if you were eligible for them and met any requirements for the positions.
The second issue is what your facility policy says about posting available positions. When and where are notices to be posted? How many days does the posting need to be shown before a hiring can occur? If you do not have this information readily available, human resources can be helpful in getting you the information.
If you determine the positions were not granted to the other people in conformity with the required process, you should raise this issue with your chief nurse officer. Your CNO will want to explore this situation because it may well be that it is not the first time hiring has occurred in this manner.
Current employees should always be given the opportunity to apply for a new position for which they believe they are qualified and a decision made in a fair manner consistent with the stated hiring process.