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A seasoned nursing staff can be a healthcare organization’s greatest asset. They inspire patient-confidence, maintain institutional knowledge, and provide leadership during critical moments. They have measurable value. A 2016 report on nursing retention found most U.S. hospitals could save $5 to $8 million annually by reducing nurse turnover. Furthermore, a competent nursing staff has been linked to better patient outcomes.

So how do you hire nurses that stick with your organization?  Especially in an era where job-hopping and online career networking are the norm?

The reality is, you don’t. Quality nurses aren’t found, they’re formed. They grow with the organization. A solid onboarding strategy supported by effective communications can help you prepare new nurses for a long, fulfilling tenure. Here are three key ingredients:

Reducing Nurse Turnover

Stepping into a new medical practice can be overwhelming. Match new nurses with longtime staff who can offer guidance. This will help new employees find their place within the team’s social structure and reduce job-related anxiety.

A successful mentorship program provides:

  • One-on-one coaching from staff-mentors
  • A safe platform to ask questions and clarify details about the job
  • Social support to integrate into the team
  • Structured feedback
  • Recruitment and leadership training for potential staff-mentors
  • Team-building exercises where seasoned and new staff work together to solve problems (ex. outward bound course)

Host Social Events

Nurses spend long, demanding hours with fellow healthcare workers. Encourage lasting bonds and positive working relationships through social exercises and non-work events.

Events can include:

  • Birthdays and holidays relevant to your staff
  • Team recognition for achieving milestones and goals
  • Outings such as retreats, hikes, softball games, pool parties, etc.

Manage Expectations

Nursing can be rewarding, but it’s also demanding. Don’t sugarcoat the difficult aspects. Nurses need to be prepared to handle a crisis. They need to develop positive coping strategies to avoid burnout.

Provide a realistic picture by:

  • Talking face-to-face – it helps new employees feel connected and lets them raise questions and concerns
  • Being honest – it can weed out new hires who just aren’t ready for the job before you spend money on training
  • Establishing a common vision – so new hires can find a clear sense of purpose in the organization’s mission

Good onboarding is like courting. You want new employees to commit to the long haul so be clear about what your organization offers and its challenges. Your efforts will pay off in stronger working relationships, better patient care, and, of course, reduced staffing costs.

Would you like to talk about how a strong communications strategy can support your nurse retention efforts? Email or call 317-631-6400.

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