RETENTION BONUSES & Would You Stay? - page 2

I'm trying to do some research for our "Recruitment/Retention" committee. Do you know of any hospital that has implemented a RETENTION BONUS PROGRAM? If so, do you know the specifics of the... Read More

  1. by   Teshiee
    I worked for a facility that offered a 2k bonus since I was parttime which was fine but I couldn't stand the staff. There was no support what so ever. When I resigned I told the manager my concerns about the unit. Even the human resources rep I explained as well. At that point I didn't care about a bonus. It will take more than money to retain nurses. I would like to think that better working conditions and valuing nurses as professionals not bed pan susies would be a start and the money given as a thank you for staying. I find the higher the bonus the worse the facility or the lower the pay is. Beware!!!!!
  2. by   Tephra
    These are good questions, Gomer, and I'm glad you're asking out here. Too many times these decisions are made in posh offices without ANY input from front-line folks.

    But kiddo, your numbers are way too low! LOL! I can't imagine anyone taking seriously less than $1000 (to start with!)... and the number should ESCALATE on a curve over the years rather than jump by simple increments.

    Think about it this way.. at $29/hr, $600 = 21 hours. One extra weekend or two extra shifts (or, i.e., 2 extra vacation days) a year. So I'm thinking, well, we're short nurses anyway, I can easily pick up two more shifts (or two agency shifts)... and no contract/commitment. Why would I commit?

    In addition, many hospitals are offering signing bonuses... If you were to offer that PLUS a retention bonus for first/second year (depending on length of sign-on commitment), the senior folks will be miffed. It would have brand-new folks pulling in more bonus than those who've already proven themselves. So consider that in calculations too.
  3. by   olnursie
    Wow, some of your salaries here are medieval, and some
    are incredible! I agree with some that starting should be "up there" since electricians and plumbers make more than a nurse
    does and we do all that and make coffee too! This is my first time
    here- pretty neat place you all!Retention bonuses at our
    hospital are based on if you pass all your required inservice tests
    and all. If you don't-no raise.
  4. by   susanmary
    Safe working conditions and solid benefits (including insurance, retirement, day care, etc.) will do more to retain nurses than the bonus. Sure -- we are NOT volunteers -- salary/bonuses do matter. But for me, I believe that more nurses are leaving the bedside due to unsafe working conditions and the fear of losing their license than due to low salary/bonuses. Any thoughts?

  5. by   kmchugh

    I think your plan is pretty terrible, and for a number of reasons. First, the sums you are offering are paltry. Really, $600 whole dollars for a year's service? What can you really do with $600, in California no less. Make a car payment? Pay for one fourth of a vacation, provided you don't take the spouse and kiddies along? And I have no doubt that there are hospitals right in the city where you live offering recruitment bonuses that are higher than the highest bonus you listed. Look at it from the point of view of a nurse who has worked at your facility for one year. I can stay here, and get paid an extra $600 over one year (no, you didn't say that, but that seems to be pretty standard across the board), or I can go to hospital X, make pretty much the same money, and get a $5000 bonus over one year. Do the math. As for your other benefits (no manadatory overtime, etc) my understanding is that most of those are mandated by California Law, so they don't really work out to be benefits at all. You are just obeying the law.

    What you are driving at is really the fundamental question all hospitals are looking for an answer to. How do we retain nurses in a shortage? How do we recruit new nurses, and how do we encourage non-nurses to consider a career in nursing? Penny-ante bonuses ain't gonna do it.

    Start with respect, add good working environment, and a decent salary. The decent salary cannot be overemphasized. That's what will work, and what no hospital administrator wants to do, because it messes with the status quo, gives nurses a standing (besides being stood on by physicians and administrators) and affects the precious bottom line.

    Take my example. I work in an operating room. My hours are not set, but usually begin at 6:30 am, and end anywhere in between 1:00 pm and 11:00 pm. Don't know from day to day when I'll be finished. I'm done when the cases are done. I take call about once or twice a week. Those nights can go on forever. My average week is 50 hours long, though I have worked 60 and 70 hour weeks.

    So, why do I stay? When I signed up before beginning school, I was given a $90,000 a year contract, with full benefits. My health, dental, life, and disability insurance is paid with no contribution from my check. My current employer is helping me pay back the student loans I had to take to get here. We get bonuses, once or twice a year, paid in lump sum, of about $5000. Not for "retention" but because we are appreciated. We are supported and respected by our employer. My employer has fired surgeons because they were too difficult to work with. I have the full support of my employer, and when I tell a surgeon "you better hurry and finish," or "you better stop" I am listened to, because the surgeons here respect my knowledge and abilities. I get five weeks paid vacation per year, and that goes up one week a year until I have seven weeks paid vacation per year. My employer pays for me to get CEU's, including travel.

    Recently, my employer discovered that other employers had raised the salaries of their nurses, and immediately gave all of us a raise. My salary is now $100,000 per year, and I live in Kansas, a lower cost of living state.

    So, I stay because I am well paid, and well appreciated by my employer.

    Unfortunately, I am a CRNA, and not everyone wants to do anesthesia. Of course, a salary of $100,000 for all nurses may not be reasonable. But then, when nurses make less than dental hygenists, who work no nights, weekends, or holidays, its no suprise that folks like you are wondering why nurses are leaving. When hospital adminstration turns a blind eye to the fact that physicians are abusing nurses, verbally, emotionally, and physically, that older nurses still "eat their young," all of which adds up to a very hostile work environment, it's no wonder nurses are leaving to become clerks at Victoria's Secret (and yes, I know a nurse who did exactly this).

    Nurses love what they do. They love being there for patients, caring for them and their families. But they are waking up to the fact that doing it ain't worth the low pay, the abuse, and the general feeling of malaise that goes with the career. Don't pay little retention bonuses. They won't work. Create a nurse directed, nurse friendly environment. You will have nurses beating down you door to work at your facility.

    Kevin McHugh
  6. by   fedupnurse
    We currently have no retention bonuses. Our contract is up this fall and we will be starting negotiations soon. Our big issues are staffing (or lack there of!) and retention/retirement issues. Money is always an issue as we have staff leaving to work in Nursing Agnecy's for 10 to 15 more an hour than most of the 1-5 year nurses are making. I think what you outlined above is a wonderful start. Bets of luck and congratulations for working in such a staff/patient oriented facility that puts staff and patients before profits.
  7. by   BadBird
    I probably would have stayed with my employer if they had a retention bonus but since that did not happen I went agency without regrets.
  8. by   tonicareer
    ok what is an agency? how does it work? is it like just being placed any where any time (like a substitute teacher? now there is cr---- pay)
  9. by   EricaCCRN
    I am hearing the same common theme from all the posters here....more money & more respect. I think the two go hand in hand. Look at higher paying careers in society. Dosen't a waitress get less respect than a computer porgrammer? Ever wonder why? Because our society is one that values money & status. If nurses were paid a decent wage ( say 100 grand), people in the general public would respect us & place us on a higher level. Now, they view us a bed pan susies (as someone else so eloquently put it) because we are paid as such. Also, if nursing were a higher paying profession, you would attract more people into, thus solving the recruitment problem and retention issue at the same time. Bottom line.....MONEY!!!!
  10. by   OC_An Khe
    The idea of retention bonuses while on the surface seem like a good idea in reality they are not the best solution. To me they are just a short term raise in pay (not pensionable I bet) that can be taken back when the institution no longer feels there is a shortage. We are entering a period of time, maybe a generation in length, when there will be a worldwide competition for all types of educated professionals. RNs will be just one of them. If more income is needed to retain/attract people into the profession then raise the salaries as a whole and also improve the basic working conditions. If you want to place more money into the retention then increase the spread from starting RN (new grad) to expirienced RN.
  11. by   Sleepyeyes
    Where I am:

    RN: base hospital pay < 5 years exp = $16/hr
    RN: base NH pay <5 years exp = $17/hr
    Agency RN NH <5 years exp = $23/hr
    Agency RN hospital <5 years = $28/hr
    Agency RN hospital specialty <5 years = $33/hr

    Anyone wonder why I'll eventually go agency specialty?
  12. by   Flo1216
    You know what really bothers me is that I know some nurse's assistants who make as much if not more than some RNS, simply because they have been there a long time. My aunt makes $18 an hour as a nurses's aid. I am a senior nursing student and I make $9.70 an hour doing the EXACT same thing and when I become an RN for this hospital I will only start at $18.90. Some of the CNA'S I work with make more than that. My hospital focuses on quantity not quality. All they care about is how many doubles you do and how early you come in. It doesn't matter if you actually do a good job. I literally bust my ass while these CNA'S making RN salaries sit around and do nothing. I just don't understand how someone whose primary job is to clean ass(and believe me, that IS mostly what I do) can make more than an RN. Am I wrong in feeling this way? Also, I have a contract with this hospital for 3 years and I have decided that I really don't want to work there for numerous reasons. Does anyone know if hospitals "buy" contracts? Like my hospital will pro-rate mine after a year but I don't even know if I want to stay that long.
  13. by   PhantomRN
    SleepyEyes I am with you. I look at the salaries that I could make as agency and am very tempted. It is only a matter of time before I do it as well.

    Flo1216, I too am amazed at the amount of money CNAs can make. I just say an ad in the paper a few weeks back that stated the CNAs could make 18.00 an hour at an agency.....that same agency pays their RNs 20.00 an hour, then to make matters worse the office nurses around here only make 16-17 an hour.