For at least the past decade, nursing shortages and the sky-high turnover rates of bedside nurses have posed significant problems to nurse leaders. It is no secret that nurse attrition can impact everything from quality of care and team morale to the department’s net operating budget, seeing as staff nurses are generally the single largest line item on there. To better understand exactly how much attrition rates can affect hospital performance, here are some recent statistics on the current state of nurse staffing from a recent Health Leaders report:
- A recent study found that the national average turnover rate for bedside RN’s was 16.8% in 2017.
- The determinants of job satisfaction change throughout a nurse’s career.
- Cultures that place an emphasis on professional development can help improve employee retention as nurses have the opportunity to grow and progress within the organization.
The importance of organizational culture on employee performance cannot be overstated. Cultures are really a reflection of an organization’s belief systems which ultimately drives employee behavior. Being solely results driven can create pressure from top leadership down to front-line nurses which can in turn negatively impact patient interactions or quality of care. Instead, one way to improve performance without sacrificing nurse satisfaction or hospital culture is by creating a culture of professional growth.
6 Actionable Steps To Foster A Culture of Professional Growth
1. Know Your Employee’s Goals
Great leaders are those that help their own teams develop professionally to reach their fullest potential. It is important to start by sitting down with employees and learning about what their personal goals are in terms of professional development. As a result, teams are more inclined to feel supported and as a consequence are more likely to go the extra mile for both leadership and each other.
2. Promote Collaboration
Not only are hospital environments that encourage collaboration less likely to suffer from nurse bullying, but cultures that emphasize collaboration also create an atmosphere where nurses encourage each other to grow and learn from each other. By relying on each other as a resource, clinical staff can function as informal mentors for each other.
3. Provide Mentorship Opportunities
Mentorship opportunities offer great opportunities for professional development for individuals while also creating value for both themselves, their mentor and the organization overall. Both mentors and mentees stand to gain from these partnerships as they provide an opportunity for the open exchange of information that might otherwise not occur.
4. Promote Stretch Assignments
Stretch assignments can be another great way for employees to step outside of their comfort zone and grow their skillsets and clinical knowledge beyond the duties of their roles.
5. Provide Opportunities for Continued Education
Continued education can help ensure teams are current on clinical standards and practices. Additionally, tuition reimbursement programs can help motivate clinicians to go back to school which ultimately is a long-term value add for the organization.
6. Establish Well-run Float Pools
Float pools create an opportunity to help nurses build their skillsets through cross-departmental training which in turn promotes quality patient care and professional development. Float pools have also been credited with energizing staff members as they build their skillsets in different areas and in turn minimize burnout.
Sources: 1Thew, J. (March 27th, 2019) Want To Keep Nurses At The Bedside? Here’s How