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How to retain nurses?

Nurses   (2,202 Views 32 Comments)
by old&improved old&improved (New Member) New Member

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"How can we retain nurses?" This question was queried at my last staff meeting by the director. We currently are using 17 or more travel nurses in our approximately 150 bed hospital with at least 20 or more openings for full time, part time and seasonal nurses posted. I heard that one nurse said something to the effect that no one in admin listens to us so why ask? Hospital positions were always the "sought after" positions for new grads. Now they leave after 1 year to find something more tolerable.

   When things go right, when we get complimentary letters and "good" patient satisfaction scores we are told, "good job", "keep up the good work", but when one patient or family member complains, when there is one fall, one problem there is a verbal or written (or God forbid a final written) warning that stays on your record for a year and a required essay as to how you're going to fix the problem.

     And yet here we are day in and day out dealing with abuse, criticism and complaints from patients and family members, and a workload that is frequently impossible to complete in a safe or sane manner. The other day admin bought everyone pizza because the day was so bad. Really!? Is that what you think will fix the problem?

    I've had it. We are NOT appreciated. If we were, YOU would back us up instead of pandering to the ones who complain. YOU would hire enough staff so we weren't completely fried. 

          Sorry for this rant. I just had to vent. And, yes, I am looking for another job after many years of bedside nursing.

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TriciaJ has 35 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

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Doesn't it drive you crazy when they keep asking the same question and the answer is obvious?  Write a frickin' essay?  Oh, I'd be writing an essay all right.  They'd get all their answers in that essay.  It wouldn't do any good because you can't fix stupid and I'd then be looking for a new job.

But I would enjoy the brief moment of satisfaction.  In fact, I'd make several copies of my essay and post them in prominent places all around the hospital on my way out the door.  I would burn that bridge and enjoy the blaze.

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1,131 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,299 Visitors; 2,695 Posts

32 minutes ago, old&improved said:

"How can we retain nurses?"

See I think you should've slowly raised your hand, then uber-seriously and meekly replied,

"....more pizza, maybe...?"

:nurse: 💙 🍕

Tip: Always carry a resignation letter in your bag, just leave the date blank so you can fill it in quickly if need be, like in case you just get fed up some day and pull a stunt like that ^ 😂

 

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a NICU RN.

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11 hours ago, old&improved said:

We currently are using 17 or more travel nurses in our approximately 150 bed hospital with at least 20 or more openings for full time, part time and seasonal nurses posted... Now they leave after 1 year to find something more tolerable.

 

11 hours ago, old&improved said:

YOU would hire enough staff so we weren't completely fried. 

It is not that they need to hire more people, they need to keep the ones they have and attract more nurses to work there. Medicare reimbursement is linked to the patient surveys. Hospitals will do what is necessary to get good surveys, including throwing their staff under the bus. That just perpetuates the abusive relationship between the patients/family and staff. They can be as nasty as they want and the staff has to take it in order to get good surveys.

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morelostthanfound has 25 years experience as a BSN and works as a R.N..

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From now on, whenever I hear this question asked by academia or nursing management, I am going to just walk away.  It is painfully obvious what would remedy the situation; manageable N/P ratios, tolerable workloads, less focus on 'customer service', unfreezing stagnant pay....duh!!!  They (academia and management) would rather be disingenuous, play their little games and talk around the problems instead of effectively addressing these concerns head on.  In the future, I chose to NOT insult my intelligence by indulging in these little charades and exercises in futility. 

Edited by morelostthanfound

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River&MountainRN has 3 years experience.

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Recognize and reward hard work...and I don't mean with a keychain or thank you note. When you get the same pay and the same evaluation score (because "we don't believe in giving 5's-the best or 1's-the worst to anyone") as your fellow employee who sits around and does nothing, and you're doing your work AND theirs because it would be unethical to let the patient be the one to pay the consequences of your coworker's laziness, then the harder working nurse is the one who is going to get burned out faster. This leads to the hard working nurse getting sick/injured more often and/or deciding to move on.

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7 minutes ago, River&MountainRN said:

Recognize and reward hard work...and I don't mean with a keychain or thank you note. When you get the same pay and the same evaluation score (because "we don't believe in giving 5's-the best or 1's-the worst to anyone") as your fellow employee who sits around and does nothing, and you're doing your work AND theirs because it would be unethical to let the patient be the one to pay the consequences of your coworker's laziness, then the harder working nurse is the one who is going to get burned out faster. This leads to the hard working nurse getting sick/injured more often and/or deciding to move on.

True story.  I've seen this many times as I'm sure many others have as well.  Recognition is nice, of course, but long term retention will truly need to incorporate better staffing and real monetary compensation for real performance.  -Neither of which is happening in a lot of places.  Recognizing someone for a job well done with a note or novelty items and then putting them on for excessive days or mandatory OT or whatever really takes away that moment of recognition.  At least with long term monetary commitments from employers (using true performance driven raises) those employees are recognized for adding value because of their experience and dedication and not just because they picked up an extra shift that month. 

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3 hours ago, morelostthanfound said:

It is painfully obvious what would remedy the situation; manageable N/P ratios, tolerable workloads, less focus on 'customer service', unfreezing stagnant pay....duh!!!

Yes, painfully obvious! Especially being given too many patients and expected to do the impossible! 

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NICUmiiki has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a NICU RN.

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16 hours ago, old&improved said:

"How can we retain nurses?"

That isn't what they are really asking because I'm sure they could think of quite a few things themselves. What they are really asking is "How can we retain nurses without spending any additional money?" 

Edited by NICUmiiki

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 I’m just here for the pizza. 🤣

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Swellz has 6 years experience and works as a RN.

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50 minutes ago, River&MountainRN said:

When you get the same pay and the same evaluation score (because "we don't believe in giving 5's-the best or 1's-the worst to anyone") as your fellow employee who sits around and does nothing, and you're doing your work AND theirs because it would be unethical to let the patient be the one to pay the consequences of your coworker's laziness, then the harder working nurse is the one who is going to get burned out faster

I had a manager lie about how no one got 5's, when some people did. There was no reason to lie to me about that; she could have just told me where I could improve. I'm not a scary or intimidating person. She just felt compelled to lie and she had to know I'd hear about it.

I worked as a distance traveler in a hospital that used a lot of local travelers. The local travelers got paid less than me, but they still made a lot more than the staff nurses. So, the staff nurses made less than their neighbors, were expected to do more by orienting new staff and being charge, and of course there were high nurse-patient ratios that they had dealt with for a lot longer than us. They lost nurses every month I worked there and they couldn't recruit new grads, because the two neighboring hospitals paid more. There was no value placed on any staff nurses except a couple of the charge nurses, so no one thought it was worth it to stay. Except us travelers who were making bank. They eventually phased out local travelers, but they couldn't get rid of travelers altogether because they had no staff left.

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morelostthanfound has 25 years experience as a BSN and works as a R.N..

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58 minutes ago, NICUmiiki said:

That isn't what they are really asking because I'm sure they could think of quite a few things themselves. What they are really asking is "How can we retain nurses without spending any additional money?" 

^^^Love it-truth!!!^^^  Or, "um, how can we retain nurses and keep our year-end bonuses as well as all of the perks and bennies for our top heavy senior management team?

Edited by morelostthanfound

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