As a manager, I feel the same panic and dispair when nurses talk of the sign on bonuses or the new gizmo another place has or when they resign. One thing which helps to get past the fear that we can't manage without them, is knowing that it isn't personal, it's one professional person taking care of herself. I tell them, I understand. If you don't take care of yourself, no one will.
I have listened to the frustrations and needs voiced by the staff who are my hands and eyes. I can not do both their jobs and mine every day. So I depend on their expertise to tell me the issues with the care I ask of them. I truly believe no one goes to work every day to do a bad job or to make my day awful. I can help them and in return they help me.
One success to make us the "favorite unit" was setting up some committees or groups to work on HOT topics. We avoided the use of empowerment or self governance since the CNO is not able to let that go. Groups set up our Closed Unit Staffing, Pt. education, QI, Improving "report", rearranging supplies and par levels, re-writing performance checklists, set a unit vision, and are currently working on our computerized charting development.
No one leader has all the answers to all the issues in the unit. The one who does the job, knows the solution.
When education was cut (again) the staffs' idea was to have each person chose a topic they could teach or demonstrate. We have had some GREAT posters and education which is effective.
Each person is responsible to provide the education to every person on the unit in 4 weeks timeframe. Works great. Cheap.
Present plans in the unit include making the "party" usually given with the departure of a nurse, a "WELCOME" party when new nurses arrive. We are planning a "Tea Party" for each of the rotations of the newest students to recruit for next year. We ask for people who wish to work with the students to arrange to work consistently on "student" days. Everyone is expected to recruit the students by their example and friendliness. We will eat cookies but Never our Young.
I need to learn to follow my gut during interviews more. My hiring people who just don't interview well should stop. They rarely work out and leave quickly OR I have a poor performer that is dead wood for much too long. I think we need to not accept a warm body in desperate times, but look for good fits and abilities.
Staff tell me, they would rather work short or do OT than to have someone who performs poorly or who hates their job.
I have rambled way too much. My synopsis is this: Listen to staff. Give them feedback. Over communicate. The person at the bedside knows the best way to do the job and if I provide their needs, IT WILL BE DONE.
And---I just like and respect them. I expect them to do well and they usually do. If they don't, it's probably the system that failed them. Correct it. If they still perform poorly, another story.
For what it's worth, I love to manage but mostly I set the vision, provide the tools and then just get out of the way.