Everything you see about nursing lately is how to get nurses into the jobs, especially the experienced nurses.  Although that is an important aspect of staffing, I really think retention is just as, if not more important.  But the million dollar question for a nurse manager is how to keep them once you have them.

The orientation and training of nurses is very expensive.  As a manager of an Acute Care unit, I know that most of the nurses that I hire want to move on to other areas, ICU, ED Labor and Delivery.  I know this and I am good with it.  It is the nature of Acute Care.  But I want to keep them as long as possible to not only keep my unit staffed accordingly, but also to help them become the best Med/Surg nurses they can be.

So how do I keep them?  I don’t know.  I have written many times about team building and development, which is something I work on a lot.  I feel that if they staff feels they are a part of a strong, cohesive team, they will want to continue to be a part of that for a while.  I also recognize the teams, and individual accomplishments regularly to build esteem and trust from within the team.

My wife was just a part of a group that was working on retention of nurses at a competing hospital here in town.  I reviewed what they suggested to the nursing staff and it is a lot what I have been doing, and should be doing.  I am probably going to steal a few of their ideas and use them as my own.

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Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed.Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university.Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.

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One Response to Retention

  1. Heather

    I wish everyone in hospital administration understood the high cost of losing experienced nurses. I have read studies that put the cost at 1- 3 times the experienced nurses salary to replace him/her. When the experienced nurses leave because managers couldn’t or wouldn’t work around simple schedule requests, managers not willing to take suggestions from their nurses for improving patient care, etc… And then administration wonders why their profit margins are getting smaller.

    Keep up the good work Rob, your nurses appreciate it.