My hospital has not done a very good job at retention. Because of the severe nursing shortage, our hospital offers generous sign-on bonuses to attract new nurses. This, in turn has led to a "contract-mentality" among the nurses (especially in our intensive care unit). The nurses all say "when my contract runs out, I'm going to travel, I'm doing agency, I'm going to anesthesia school, etc, etc..." VERY FEW IF ANY say, "I like working here and plan to stay!" The new nurses are hired at a salary not too different from nurses who have been in the unit 3, 5, 10 years (IF there are any of these left). So what is the impetus to stay? Actually, in order for retention to work, the whole atmosphere, the whole culture of the hospital needs to change. A generous retirement package would be a BIGGIE. Monetary incentives to keep on working in the unit would help, too (especially since one big hospital in the area is sending unsolicited offers through the mail to all CV nurses in our region--$10,000 sign-on bonus to go work with them!!!). Fair raises would sure send a signal "I want you to stay!!!" Oftentimes (and I kid you not), if you want a good raise, you have to quit and work elsewhere for a year or two---then come back. It is guaranteed they will offer you a GREAT salary increase to come back plus a BIG SIGN-ON bonus to boot!!! :chuckle
Years ago I was one of the few OB nurses at a small community hospital in our region. The OB department was floundering, so the "bright" administration was offering experienced L&D nurses from neighboring hospitals $5/hour to take OB call for our hospital and BIG BUCKS per hour when they were called in to take care of one of our laboring patients. Well, how do you think this made me feel when I found out??? (We're not idiots--the other employees always do find out about these things.) I had been taking call for years with LITTLE TO NO REMUNERATION. When I got called in to take care of a laboring mom, did not receive time and a half, only my regular salary. (Had to drive one-half hour one way over dangerous country roads just to get to the facility.) Well, I tell you what, it made me feel VERY UNAPPRECIATED and TAKEN FOR GRANTED. Wasn't too long afterwards, I left this facility for the "big city" hospital and am making $10 to $12K more a year. Would have stayed, however, if they had just treated me fairly and shown some appreciation.