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Nursing Retention

Nurse retention is a problem that many are struggling with all over the nation. There are several reasons why.  Nursing is more than filling an open position.  Nursing is filling the position with the right nurse for the job.  The nurse should have the right staying power, fortitude and stamina for your unit.  Just because there is an RN behind their name does not mean that they are right fit for the specialty that they are applying for. The RN work Project found that 17% of novice nurses leave their first nursing job in the first year and 33% in the second year. NSI Nursing solutions states that the national turnover rate for bedside RN is 16.8%. The turnover rate rates costs your organization big bucks to the tune of between 4.4 million and 7 million dollars a year.

Everything rises and falls on leadership.Leadership should have a clear vision because without vision the people perish.  Anyone in the organization that is in a leadership position should have vision.  The CNO and CEO should have a vision for the forward progress of the organization and where they should be in the next 5-10 years.  The Managers and Directors should have a vision for the staff for the next year and how to achieve the vision of the CNO and CEO.  The charge nurse should have a vision for the day while they are in charge.  As a leader, remember that you set the tone for the day.         Your team members will emulate what they see.  Your team members will need to follow effectively in order to be able to be the future leader that is desired of them.  You are not able to lead if you are not able to follow.   Since they are the future leaders then it is important for you to set a great impression.

You as the leader should be growing yourself.  You are not able to lead anyone to any place of which you have not gone yourself.  You should be investing in leadership all the time.  Here are a few ways in which that can be done.    First, invest in reading a leadership book a month.  Learn various methods that other leaders around the globe are leading in their companies.  Healthcare is very different but the leadership principles can be applicable.  Secondly, seek out a mentor.  Be very intentional when doing this.  You want to ensure that this leader is one that you would want to follow.  There are plenty of people that are leading companies that have no integrity and no ethics.  This is not the leader that you need to learn from.  One final, but not exhaustive principle in leadership growth, is to seek out leadership conferences. These conferences give you the ability to network with other leaders to figure out ways and methods that are working for them.

Be a servant leader.  A lot of people have a problem with the word servant.  They think that it equates to being a slave.  It is totally different.  It is giving people what they need as opposed to what they want.  You realize that every person deserves to be respected and they deserve your trustworthiness.  You may say, well they are not respectful to me.  Life is 10% of what is done to you and 90% of how you react.  Your reaction is not dependent upon what they do. Your reaction is dependent on your inward integrity.  When you react in a way that is opposite of how they think that you will react to their disrespect, this influences them to show respect in the future.  Whether they will do it or not, is up to them.  You can not control what others do.  You can only control you.  Now don’t get me wrong, the disrespect needs to be addressed but not in a negative manner.  It should be addressed in a way that leaves the employee empowered to change their behavior.  You, as the leader, should give them an action plan that needs to be followed so that they have goals set because they are influencing others that are on your unit.

Last but not least.  You should be raising leaders.  There is so much competitiveness in this world.  Therefore, there are those leaders that don’t want employees to know the things that they know because they are fearful that the employee will one day be the leader. This is an ego problem.  Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Airlines said this, ”Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Never be fearful of your employees. Be their mentor, be their leader and give them the ability to advance the unit in your absence.

This is Dr. Viola Pierce, the nurse nurturer, nurturing healthcare providers one message at a time.

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