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Tips for hiring and retaining Nurses

NURSING STAFF RETENTION: HOW TO MAINTAIN HIGH MORALE AMONG YOUR NURSING STAFF

One of the most challenging aspects of the nursing profession, particularly during a time when the healthcare industry is experiencing strife due to changing insurance procedures, retaining permanent staff members is difficult, at best. Similar to the issues that come along with any profession, professional nurses everywhere are facing problems of pay scale, increased job responsibilities and working conditions. The issue of pay is a big one because many would-be nurses are turning to other professions that offer more money annually. Moreover, in many instances, a bad turn for the economy and the subsequent budget cuts that usually follow, career registered nurses are the first to be cut and are often replaced with nurse technicians. Oftentimes, these techs are not trained in acute patient care and cannot work on an independent basis. In fact, many healthcare experts attribute the nursing shortage to the increased number of fatalities in hospitals around the country. In far too many instances, there is no career registered nurse in place to monitor the condition of a patient and when a condition changes for the worse rapidly, the opportunity to intervene quickly is diminished. Nurse managers are finding ways to come up with better retention strategies to keep their current nursing staff content and encourage those just entering the profession to consider their facility for a place of employment.

Improving working conditions is important as many professional nurses cite a variety of reasons for leaving their field, including stressful workloads, administrator apathy to their concerns, unbalanced scheduling and more. Administrators must address these concerns if they want to limit high turnover and repair low morale. The most effective way to tackle problems of retention is by listening to your staff. Host town-hall style meetings and allow them air their grievances, making sure to let them know there will no negative repercussions as a result of expressed opinions. While there may be unrealistic expectations among some staff members, others may have some great ideas on how to improve morale among the nursing staff. Take their top three concerns and do what you can to implement immediate changes. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much higher the morale of your nursing staff is after a short time.

Some states have even mandated better working conditions through legislation. For example, California enacted a law in 1999 that set nurse-to-patient ratios to limit nurses from being overloaded with too many patients at any given time. In December 2002, at least eight states implemented bans on mandatory overtime. The overtime law is important as nurses are more likely to make potentially deadly mistakes when they are overworked or on a shift for more hours than are healthy. Another law enacted in 2002 is the Nurse Reinvestment Act, which addressed both recruitment and retention. Provisions of the law include scholarships for nursing students, established career tracks for nurses just entering the profession, training grants and faculty loan repayment for nursing students who graduate and agree to spend a certain amount of time teaching at a nursing school.

Contact our treaveling nurse agency to find out how NursesPro can help you retain some of the best professional nursing talent in the industry !