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Top nurse retention tactics identified


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By Jonathan Bees


According to the March 2017 HealthLeaders Media Nursing Excellence Survey, one-quarter (25%) of respondents indicate that their turnover rate is 20% or more. This type of turnover can create difficulties for provider organizations because of the need to be in training mode, which disrupts productivity. To address this challenge, provider organizations are employing a number of different tactics.

The top four tactics with which respondents say their organizations have had success in improving nurse retention are:

    Fexible scheduling (53%)
    Communication improvements (51%)
    Orientation programs for new nurses (48%)
    Salary increases for all nurses (48%)

The majority of responses fall in a relatively tight range between 38% and 53%. This is likely because providers may be implementing a broad array of tactics to improve nurse retention in recognition of the fact that successful retention is driven by an assortment of factors.

Note that several tactics are correlated with financial resources. For example, based on net patient revenue, a greater share of large organizations (72%) than small (51%) and medium organizations (50%) cite flexible scheduling as a successful tactic to improve nurse retention, and a greater share of large organizations (69%) than medium (51%) and small organizations (45%) mention orientation programs for new nurses.

Further, a greater share of large organizations (62%) than medium (44%) and small organizations (36%) cite tuition reimbursement for advanced education and certification programs as a successful tactic to improve nurse retention, and a greater share of large organizations (64%) than medium (51%) and small organizations (35%) mention shared governance.

One of the tactics with the fewest responses is retention bonuses for new nurses (14%). This either indicates that providers may have difficulty funding bonus programs, or that they find retention bonuses ineffective in improving retention over the longer term (or both). Evidence supporting the case for financial resources constraints as a factor can be found in the following data: based on net patient revenue, a greater share of large (21%) and medium organizations (19%) mention retention bonuses than small organizations (10%).