Nursing Emergency - How Hospitals Can Retain Their Nursing Staff

by Brent McNutt

Posted on Thursday 19th of March 2009

With the high turnover rate of nurses nowadays, more and more hospitals are working on retaining their current nursing staff. However, doing that is easier said than done.

Those who are really serious in curbing the problem know that the process is a complex one, requiring in-depth knowledge and understanding of nurses' needs and wants. And most often than not, whatever you do, you have to do it with creativity.

According to most exit surveys conducted by hospitals, nurses place great emphasis on the administration's leadership. They need to see support from the ones in charge. If you look at the hospitals that have successfully carried out nurse retention programs, you will find that the chief nursing officer, or even the hospital's president, always make it a point to know the nursing staff personally.

Of course, you can never go wrong with career development and providing good working conditions. Never mind the discount urbane scrubs-nurses need growth more than anything else. So why not offer short courses for certified nurse assistants and licensed practical nurses to become registered ones?

Anyone familiar with the healthcare industry knows that a nursing job can be a stressful one. And the stresses of nursing can be worsened by responsibilities outside the workplace. Hence, it is important for hospitals to support their nursing staff on a more personal level. And frankly, this is where your creativity comes into play. For example, you can put up a day care center to ease the load on nurses with kids. You can give them a more flexible schedule. In fact, why not think of concierge services that can help nurses with their errands? At the end of the day, your efforts will allow your nurses to focus on their work, while keeping them in your staff for a longer period of time.

Establishing a good working environment is a must for any employer. And to foster staff retention, hospitals must develop environments in which nurses would want to work in. While the nurses themselves play a role in shaping their environment, the responsibility of promoting a professional playing field still falls on the administration. Yes, creating such an environment is not easy. But it's definitely worth it, if it means retaining your nursing staff.

Banking on good rapport between the nurses themselves is also a good idea. One way to relieve stress from the newly licensed nurses is by assigning them to the more experienced ones. Until they learn the ropes, newbies have to work closely with experienced nurses, strengthening ties in the process. With a well-built support system, the nursing staff will be able to create a productive working relationship, and may even lead to higher quality in terms of patient care. Remember, the early years of a novice nurse can be considered as a critical period-and hospitals have to provide all the skill sets the nurse needs to progress and be productive for years.

You see, the high turnover rate for nurses can be solved-provided that hospitals think of greater benefits, better working conditions, flexible hours, competitive salaries, and development programs. After all, even a nurse has to be nursed from time to time.

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