I have met with health care executives, human resource professionals and many of today nurse leaders, and I have spoken to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of business experts.
I’ve often wondered why these industry power houses all struggle with the same issue – recruiting and retaining skilled nurses – and they repeat the exact mistakes that were disastrous.
The demonstration inspired me to write”7 most common nurse retention mistakes,” bringing together inspirations in the many specialists I’ve met, including Thieman. I hope this simple, but meaningful guide helps organizations find answers to the real difficulty of retaining and hiring quality nurses.
Many of the 7 most common mistakes can you recognize in your own organization?
- Inadequate staffing levels
Many hospitals today are struggling to find and retain nurses. The reasons are many: staffing cutbacks in the 1990s used to offset rising healthcare costs, a lack of teaching nurses at schools, and even less interest in the profession by Millennials. The outcome is the same whenever there is a prolonged period of nurse staffing levels. Stress increases and job satisfaction declines, leading to greater turnover, as the work load is absorbed by existing staff members. And the cycle continues. Despite their efforts, the problem worsened, although we have been contacted by hospitals that have attempted for years to keep appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios. They are frustrated; patient satisfaction suffers, along with patient safety, and nurses are miserable.
With all its complexities and change, today’s healthcare environment requires a new approach. One sets recruiting and retention targets focused on a multi-faceted recruitment and retention plan that begins by defining the nurse staffing ratios for your facility and utilizes and recruitment procedures.
- Training programs that miss the mark
Many clients find that even though they have training programs in place, results are mixed. As hoped nurse trainees aren’t as productive or satisfied with their positions. Why? Because training is customized to prepare nurses for the full-range of expectations and duties that will determine success it can be.
What better way to learn this than from a fellow and co-worker nurse. I recommend our customers adopt a nurse preceptor program. Start by asking yourself,”Who in my organization do I want more of?” By determining who has the temperament to teach then narrow your candidate pool. These are your preceptors. They are nurses who willingly participate.
Keep in mind, there is a nurse not necessarily a good trainer. We learning software to prepare them for preceptor functions and teach all our nurse placements communication skills that are specific. Start looking for these skills in your employees or think about training for them. Don’t forget to adjust your preceptors’ workloads to account for their new responsibilities, so they do not experience burnout.
- Cultural calamity
Every organization has attitudes, beliefs and values that define it and guide its practices. A worker who believes in those values strengthens the business, as well as fellow co-workers. But, one who is out of step with business culture will bring down morale and inhibit your nurse group’s effectiveness. In a fast-paced environment where a functioning group is relied on by co-workers , cultural fit is crucial. So, whether you’re onboarding staff or relying to train traveling or nurses, look for a strong cultural and clinical program matched to your organization. Ask how physicians on assignment are trained, so you know they’ll fit easily into the U.S. healthcare system and understand the requirements of American patients. Are your physicians on assignment prepared to effectively address Americans’ health concerns and expectations of their healthcare providers? Do they know the role of relationships and empathy?
Ensuring orientation to your organization will strengthen your nurse group’s performance and bolster long-term consequences.
- Lagging compensation and career opportunities
Not everyone is motivated by money, but recruiting and retention issues are guaranteed if your nurse compensation package does not keep pace with marketplace competitors. So, while it’s salary, bonuses, flex schedules or time-off, know what your competitors are currently offering and match or exceed it to make certain you don’t lose your best nurses.
- Strategic planning that is not
The best wineries are often even tougher to retain, and the hardest to recruit. You need a plan. Engage all stakeholders in developing your strategic solutions, especially nurses on the ground. Think beyond your approach. Before deciding what works best for your organization, consider all options. Are hiring bonuses workable? Will they help build a long-term, nurse team that is stable? What role will global nurses play? How will you gauge the effectiveness of your strategies?
- Boomers versus Millennials
By now, we all know that these two very different generations communicate, work and think, well… very differently. But, what exactly does that mean to your organization and how have you prepared your nurse group? Developing relationships beyond our comfortable, market groups is not natural for adults – especially Boomers. After all, we’ve spent plenty of time creating particular styles and patterns, and we appreciate. Without motivation, that won’t change. Your company must help facilitate the dialogue that fosters understanding and appreciation for the contribution of each group to optimize each generation’s contribution. Only then will you’ve got a fully functioning team.
- Overly aggressive competitors
A client located in one state complained to me that, when he thinks he is winning interviews and recruits, a competitor from a neighboring country stakes out in a hotel, and the battle his nurses – offering bonuses and work schedules.