How Hospitals Can Better Retain Their Nurses
· More than 581,000 new nursing positions are expected to be created by 2018. This growth is much faster than any other industry, and there just aren’t enough nurses to fill the positions.
· Over the next 20 years, the average age of the RN will increase and the size of the workforce will plateau as large numbers of RNs retire. Because demand for RNs is expected to increase during this time, a large and prolonged shortage of nurses is expected to hit the
· There are more than 100,000 vacant RN positions.
· 55% of surveyed nurses plan to retire during this decade.
You get the point.
With so many nurses leaving, hospitals are put in a position where they have to do everything they can to increase nurse retention. Simply put, they can’t afford for any more nurses to quit.
But how can they achieve this? What can hospitals do to keep nurses happy and interested in their careers? Here are some of the most effective nurse retention strategies.
· Offer longer orientation periods for new nurses—Starting a new career as a nurse can be overwhelming. Nursing is a hectic job, and lives are on the line. With about 20 percent of new nurses quitting within a year, that’s a strong indication that new nurses just aren’t prepared for the job. By having a longer orientation period for new nurses, hospitals can help them adjust at a comfortable pace to the job, increasing the chances that they’ll stick around.
· Have rapid response support teams for new nurses—New nurses often find themselves in tough situations where they don’t know what to do. These situations can be very stressful, and if handled improperly, it could break the nurse. By having rapid response teams available for nurses who find themselves in a pinch, you can help guide them through these tough situations.
· Reduce nurse to patient ratios—One of the most common complaints nurses have is that they’re responsible for too many patients. Keeping up with too many patients can place extra stress on the nurse, and it could even cause the quality of patient care to decline. Whenever possible, hospitals should strive to reduce the nurse to patient ratio so everyone will benefit.
· Conduct exit surveys for nurses who quit—An exit interview with nurses who quit should be a standard procedure. This is a great opportunity for hospitals to gain insight into the factors that lead to a nurse moving on from their job. By identifying the things that are causing nurses to quit, the hospital can hopefully take steps to correct these issues and improve nurse retention.
· Get feedback from nurses on a regular basis—Don’t just wait until a nurse quits to talk to them; hospitals should also get feedback from current nurses on a regular basis. They should set aside time to talk to the nurses to hear what they have to say about the job. This can be helpful for identifying problems early on and correcting them before a nurse decides it’s time to quit.
· Offer opportunities for nurses to further their careers—If nurses feel like they have a chance to grow in their career, they’ll be likelier to stick around and keep moving forward. The best hospitals offer professional development programs for nurses to help them improve their careers and stay interested in their jobs.
· Be flexible—Nursing jobs carry a lot of stress with them. They can be very harsh on the personal lives of nurses. That’s why hospitals should strive to be more flexible and accommodating to nurses. By offering flexible scheduling and assistance with various personal issues, hospitals can keep their nurses happy.
Guest post submitted by John Smith. John manages the Nursing Scrubs store located at NursingUniforms.net.
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