Wow, where to begin. I would really like to see for a change a hospital system truly take into account the issues nursing faces today. Not just lip service and not replying to raised issues with a canned answer or rhetoric from Business/Marketing 101. I want your CEO to understand that we are the healthcare system and we are professionals. With that said, a salary hike would be nice, but it only helps slightly.
1. Scheduling: Make it self scheduling. And when you make it self scheduling, keep it self scheduling. Negotiate with staff to work on that Friday PM shift if you need more nurses. Don't just change the schedule after you touted self scheduling. Yes, that means if I am a new nurse, I will have to work nights or PMs for a while, I will have to rotate shifts until I get ahead on the totem pole. I will have to work some holidays and some weekends. You set the guidelines, stick to them without favoritism, and I will put in my time. This shows respect for a nurses time off, consideration for a family life and outside activities.
2. Promote education: Beyond nursing school, encourage certifications like the CCRN. Pay for the test. Hey, if you threw in a bonus or even a differential, you'd have a very competent staff capable of bringing knowledge to the bedside and to new staff or staff stuck in the last century with regard to practice.
3. Encourage engagement: This is something that could turn into nothing but rhetoric. Be careful! When you form a committee and ask for input...listen! Workgroups and committees can so easily turn into "This is how the suits want it done, now how do WE get OUR staff to do what WE want" When you ask people for input, yes, you sometimes get 90% b*tching. However sometimes people...especially the ones actually doing the job...have some really good ideas! Plus (Business 101) people are more willing to change, try something new, or get involved if they themselves are involved in the decision making or at least have the chance to be actively involved.
4.Don't screw around with my daily duties unless you have taken it to a committee with nurses that do the job I do and actually listen to them. Just because one person in infection control thinks that all nurses should start filling out a three page form every time someone has pneumonia, doesn't mean you will eventually have less pneumonia. I completely understand JCAHO, action plans, etc but an action plan should have action behind it. And not the kind that requires correct spelling
5. Last but the single most important...PATIENTS: Remember them? We are here to take care of sick, elderly, post-operative, post-trauma and brand new little people. There are many things that get in the way of doing my job. Sometimes families, doctors, my boss, endless papers, departmental egos, and even patients themselves. Please don't add more barriers. If a doctor complains about the fact that I told him "I don't have time for your tirade, your patient is losing blood pressure", do not scold me or send me to a class on how to develop me psychologically. Stick up for me and support me. We as nurses spend the most amount of time with your commodity and you should remember that.
I apologize that this is long but I really got going. I see so much potential for the nursing profession but see it going more and more in a business direction with so much dialogue about everything but the people we are there for. In the city where I live, there is one hospital that has managed to retain nurses so well that they have not used agency staff in years. The only jobs are straight nights where you will stay until several people retire. I would like to see more of this.
Quote from KTYRN
I was recently asked to join a committee at my workplace that consists of the CEO and nurses from each unit. This committe is basically set up to brainstorm ideas and put into action ways to retain the nurses that already work at the hospital. I know what would make me happy, but I would really like to hear ideas from everyone else. I would appreciate anyone's input on this.