Stop Losing Experienced Nurses

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , October 26, 2010

Through this program, 13 initiatives were evaluated that were intended to retain experienced nurses, which fall into three categories:

  • Ergonomic projects, such as lift teams and anything that reduces the physical burden of nursing
  • Human resource strategies to improve organizational culture
  • Strategies that involved employee wellness, clinical technology, or leadership development

While no single initiative or strategy has been identified as a silver bullet, the program has found several strategies that when combined with an organizational culture that values experienced workers and leadership support create an environment that encourages experienced workers to stay.

Successful strategies include:

  • Closed staffing: A model that keeps nurses on their home units rather than assigning them to other units as needed.
  • Giving experienced nurses more control over patient flow, discharge and admission..
  • Staffing for frequent peak occupancy rather than average occupancy.
  • Wellness at work programs that promote wellness through incentives, fitness center memberships, and other components.
  • Virtual ICUs that allow experienced nurses to use computers to monitor ICU patients at multiple sites .
  • Renewing and reframing older nurses' practices, such as the three-day, off-site educational experience that rewards experienced nurses with an opportunity to renew their nursing practice.
  • Patient lifting devices and other labor-saving technologies
  • Centralized workstations and decreased need to walk long hallways
  • Increased scheduling flexibility
  • Developing new career paths
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6 comments on "Stop Losing Experienced Nurses"

David Reece RN (11/20/2010 at 9:36 PM)
If your wondering why hospitals lose nurses take a look at the ivory tower sitters in administration that blame the bedside nurse for all there problems. If you look at the Arizona lawsuit Johnson VS AZ Hospital Association et al.A nurse sued all 110 hospitals, the AZ Hospital Association for priced fixing payola etc etc etc. After 330 testimonies a disgusting picture arose, of backroom deals, bribes and even a blacklist came out. But no articles in the local press. For nursing administrators its all about Six figure incomes with bonus pay of what was left in the budget was their bonus. So its short staffing for the greedy few. Being a RN for 35 years I have been in the ivory tower and seen how greed corrupts. The disdain and hatred towards the bedside nurse is the norm. WE HAVE NO NURSING LEADERS. WHY ARE BEDSIDE NURSES AND ONLY GENERATE A BED CHARGE FOR REVENUE. Resp Therapy gives a breathing treatment there is a charge. A EKG tech does a 12 lead EKG there is a charge. If a CV tech sets up the ICU monitor there is a charge. IF a RN does this there is no charge. The list goes on and on of skilled task we do and no charges are generated. BUT it they are done by a Physician or tech they can generate charges. DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS NO ONE TALKS ABOUT. Being treated as a substandard labor that as one hospital administrator stated in a Newspaper article. NURSE ARE THE LEACHES ON THE BACK OF HOSPITAL PROFITS. Is there a shortage of nurses. NO Nurse's are sick and tired of being blamed for everything, and feel isolated, betrayed, and being manipulated and made to feel guilty if they refuse to work when in pain and exhausted. Hospital administrators have refined the guilt trip they inflict on nurses and many of us refuse to cower down to it. The few the proud the real nurses of care and compassion and understand empathy. We are the bedside nurse's. WITHOUT EMPATHY ALL THAT IS LEFT IS EVIL. I have yet to meet a CNO that had any empathy left. David Reece RN BSN MSN PhD and I still work at the bedside because I am a Nurse.

jean holveck (11/5/2010 at 9:04 AM)
The answer is to organize. I was fortunate that a few co workers did just that in 1976. It made all the difference in my career. By approaching our hospital as a group we were able to improve working conditions and thereby improve nurse retention. We were respected. We started with PNA. We are now PASNAP. Thank you California nurses.

Debbie (11/5/2010 at 7:20 AM)
Organizations must show they value their experienced nurses in order to retain them. If a nurse is viewed as an all in one employee i.e. secretary, nurse's aide, transporter, instead of a true professional, HR thinks its better to hire a nurse (more bang for the buck) than to hire ancillary staff who can reduce the physical demands of nursing. I am 46 years old, and have been in nursing 17 years. I transitioned to a specialty unit 9 years ago as I was burned out from the manual labor of working med-surg. It was extremely frustrating to work on 30 bed units with one nurses aid.




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