Nurse managers spend a lot of time predicting and planning for the future, but when it comes to hiring and retaining employees, there are a lot more future problems than possible solutions. In order to retain nurses, the hospitals they work at must be places that people are "dying to work at." But it is hard defining what those hospitals will look like.
Regardless of what the future holds for healthcare and hospitals, most experts agree that recruiting and retaining enough employees will take a lot of change—something that healthcare isn't always good at. So nurse managers need to change the way they look at staffing.
Making it a point to talk about people—and not just systems and processes—in meetings might be a good place to start. Many healthcare professionals have changed the way they talk about their staff and how they hire. Here are some things to keep in mind:
"We don't own them." Gone are the days when facilities could cage their nurses in one department because they feared another facility would "steal" their nurses. Today, smart facilities have learned that they don't own their nurses; so, if they don't offer experience and learning opportunities, other organizations will.
Some hospitals are offering their nurses travel and job-sharing opportunities. Cold-weather hospitals, for example, might allow nurses to travel to Florida for the winter months, then return to their jobs in the spring.
Or, if a good employee at a community hospital does leave to try a job at a larger tertiary system, the community hospital leaves the door open for that employee to one day return. Smart organizations already know that giving their employees exposure to the outside world will keep them on the inside in the future.
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