The pandemic has magnified the Nursing shortage and healthcare organizations are struggling to not only recruit Nurses but also retain them. Bonuses are nice, but Nurses need more than that. They want to feel valued and safe in their work environment.
Healthcare organizations must ensure Nurses are equipped with resources and the support they need to provide quality care. Hospitals must invest in initiatives that attract and keep Nurses, such as:
- Developing An Employee First Culture
Dr. Linda Shell, DNP, MA, BSN, DNS-CT, Chief Learning Officer suggests Nurse leaders cultivate an “Employee First Culture” approach in their facilities.
“An Employee First Culture is built on the concept that employees are the best asset of any company, and they need to be encouraged and appreciated,” says Dr. Shell. “When appreciation goes up in an organization, quality tends to go up. I really believe that for us as Nurses, the more we can do to create a positive work environment and develop our leadership skills, the more opportunities we are going to have to improve the quality of care that we provide every day for patients, as well as the residents that we serve.”
- Staff Recognition Programs
"A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected." This quote has been scientifically proven to be factual.
According to research, giving thanks can have important implications for encouraging actions that promote cooperation.
Whether it be a hand written note, or a brief one on one meeting, managers should take the time to recognize the hard work Nurses are putting in.
Recognizing Nurses on their birthdays and work anniversaries is a simple way for organizations to show appreciation for their staff.
Celebrating Nurses with a themed party or gift bags is another way to give thanks.
According to Nursing Management, realistically, quarterly recognition will suffice for larger units; however, if you have a small unit, monthly recognition is recommended.
- Mental Health Resources
Many Nurses are experiencing severe, adverse mental health effects as a result of the pandemic, and a lot of them are considering leaving the profession entirely.
Organizations must support employee self-care by establishing evidence-based preventive strategies, providing mental health resources, and demonstrating that leadership supports and prioritizes mental health and well-being.
Some health systems are hiring a Chief Wellness Officer (CWO) to support their wellness initiatives.
Dr. Maureen “Mo” Leffler, the first enterprise-wide CWO at Nemours Children’s Health said, “The goal of the Chief Wellness Officer is to promote professional well-being, which is characterized by having everything in place in both the individual and in the system, so those two things work together optimally. When we do that, we can provide the highest quality of care, the safest care, the best care. We can derive meaning in the work we’re doing.”
- Tuition Assistance Programs
Tuition reimbursement is becoming a popular way for hospitals to attract and retain quality Nurses, especially in areas where demand is high.
These programs are designed to help Nurses continue their education by relieving some of their financial stress.
- Good Communication
Routine unit or individual staff meetings should be held to discuss any issues or concerns. Nurses want to feel heard. So it's important management truly listens to what they have to say and then set up action plans and follow up.
- Flexible Work Hours
According to a recent McKinsey survey, Nurses that experienced more flexibility in hours and scheduling during the pandemic were highly interested in retaining that flexibility going forward. For Nurses who indicated plans to stay in their current direct patient care role, flexibility in hours and shifts was an influential factor.
Bottom line, health systems must prove to their Nurses that they are Valued, Appreciated, Heard, and Supported if they want to keep them. There are thousands of Nursing opportunities out there and you must work to retain the Nurses you have. This is just as important as recruiting Nurses.