People’s passions are fading. Loyal employees are quitting. Even the healthcare industry wasn’t excused from this burnout ‘pandemic’. Your healthcare organization may be struggling with nurse retention.
Let’s look at the adjustments a nursing home in Marion made to keep its healthcare professionals. You may find ideas from them and more that you can share with your nursing workforce.
A Glance at the US Nursing Shortage
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found a gap between the supply of registered nurses and the demand in the healthcare industry, which had already existed pre-pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic widened that gap and the demand for registered nurses may even rise by over 3.6 million by 2030.
Other than the pandemic, the other causes of the scarcity include employed nurses getting old, burnout, and the lack of training in the field. From May 2020 to May 2021, the number of nurses ages 25 to 34 years old has declined in number by 5.2 percent. Meanwhile, the number of those 35 to 44 years old went down 7.4 percent.
When it comes to job losses over the pandemic, women in healthcare lost 1.38 million or 10.6 percent of job positions by April 2020. On their end, men lost 5.5 percent.¹
Tieszen Memorial Home: Addressing Challenges in Nursing
Medicaid reimbursed an insufficient amount of money to its partners. To add to this, nurses are running out and quitting their jobs. South Dakota’s nursing homes went through two threats, the Medicaid one they can do nothing about. Tieszen Memorial Home, one of the homes in the area, focused on caring for its nurses instead.
Laura Wilson, the home’s administrator, made sure that their staff got raises and that 50 percent of their daycare costs were also paid for by the home. She did this by allocating the money she would normally provide for highly paid traveling nurses that helped meet their requirements in staffing.²
The licensed practical nurses got a ten-dollar raise from it while the registered nurses got eight to ten dollars. A certified nursing assistant, Kathy Witkop, is proof that Wilson’s efforts are effective because of how much she appreciated the adjustments and what the home was doing for them.
More to Do: Improved Benefits and Offerings for Nurses
Retain nurses by genuinely caring for them. You can show this by improving their experience and what they get from it as individuals and as a team.
Boost the benefits you give by personalizing them.
Personalizing benefits shows that you do care about your employees and that you know exactly what they need.
Organize surveys, even if anonymously, to understand what personal things your nurses most dealt with. Some may want educational support for themselves or a loved one while others might need some sort of loan or emergency funds. Some may ask for simpler things like a free lunch or even just free coffee and cupcakes.
Choose a few that the majority have stated in their surveys and allot a budget for each of them. You may also want to try having personalized benefit polls yearly or quarterly, so that the others may have the chance to win the benefits they’ve asked for in a previous survey.
Attract applicants through signing bonuses.
Incentives like these can be great gifts for the newly hired nurses. Think that they may lose a certain number of benefits due to leaving their previous employer, and you do want to cover that. You may also see it as a welcome package.
Organize referral systems and rewards.
Expand your network of candidates through referral programs. The good thing about referrals is that your staff may be familiar with the person’s work and experiences. It gives you more reassurance that the person can be trusted and is competent.
Referral rewards are usually given to your employee in cash once a referred individual gets successfully hired at your facility. You may also choose to give material rewards instead of money. You may choose nursing equipment or gift certificates they may use for buying personal items.
Allow more flexibility in their work schedule.
Remote work and hybrid setups may be impossible for healthcare practitioners, but you can help them by offering flexible schedules on-site.
Flexibility may come in the form of job sharing, working in shifts, or alternating days off. Healthcare scheduling apps can help you keep track of their schedules, so you can find replacements in case no one has filled a schedule yet. Make sure that you brief your people about the new changes in the schedule so that they can navigate their new shifts properly.
Provide and upgrade their equipment.
Providing and upgrading their nursing tools regularly can help keep their service at the highest quality. It also shows that you have their backs, and they wouldn’t have to worry about wearing out their own equipment. Here is a list of items you may want to provide your nurses:
- Uniform scrubs
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Tablet and other smart devices
- Nursing bag
Make regular learning opportunities a priority.
Prioritize learning opportunities such as simple nursing refresher courses to maintain growth in the workplace. Even nurses need to go through regular training, especially now that even the healthcare industry is going digital.
Try implementing group training programs first. If specific training sessions for individuals are within your budget, then you’d better go for those too. Specific classes can target exact areas that they think they need to improve.
You could also provide educational assistance for courses that they have chosen for themselves or for those that they are already taking. You may choose to cover a percentage of the fees.
Include emergency savings in your budget.
Opening emergency savings accounts or a general fund for your staff helps them keep their other funds untouched in case something unpredictable happens to them. According to digital payment experts PYMNTS.com, 36 percent of consumers earning 250,000 USD a year are living paycheck to paycheck. You can help your employees live beyond their next paycheck by starting a program like this.³
Help them take care of emergencies such as a sudden increase in rent or a family member’s educational fees. Helping them be more financially stable can affect their motivation to work in a good way. You may soon notice that they look less stressed and more focused because they don’t have to worry about anything outside the workplace.
Opening an emergency account for them is easy. All you have to do is agree to match a certain amount they put into the account or fund.
Work with well-being experts.
To help address burnout and any form of stress, you may want your human resources team to facilitate one-on-one sessions with your staff. Do this on a regular basis just to help lighten their burdens.
If you have a counselor or psychiatrist in your facility, you may also tap their services. If you don’t, try partnering with other clinics who have counselors or psychiatrists that your nurses can talk to confidentially.
Caring for your nurses helps them care better for others.
Make qualified nurses happier through positive work in the industry. Contribute to a healthy work environment by improving your benefits, offerings, and training.
PRS GLOBAL CAN HELP YOU FIND NURSES WHO’LL STAY.
PRS Global can help you manage your new nurses so they can avoid burnout. Our direct-hire services guarantee that you find passionate employees to work with. We’ll take care of them as much as you care for your patients.
1 Haines, Julia. “The State of the Nation’s Nursing Shortage.” U.S. News, 1 Nov. 2022, www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2022-11-01/the-state-of-the-nations-nursing-shortage.
2 Hanson, Tom. “Amid Staffing Crisis, Marion Nursing Home Gets Creative to Attract Workers.” Keloland, 13 Feb. 2023, www.keloland.com/news/local-news/amid-staffing-crisis-marion-nursing-home-gets-creative-to-attract-workers/.
3 Williams, Les. “Workplace Emergency Savings: The Must-Have Benefit for 2023.” Risk & Insurance, 2 Feb. 2023, https://riskandinsurance.com/workplace-emergency-savings-the-must-have-benefit-for-2023/.