Nursing Retention | CHCM
By CHCM

Nursing Retention: Why It’s Important and How To Improve It

Nursing retention is a critical issue for hospitals and healthcare organizations. Nursing staff are the backbone of the healthcare system, and without them, hospitals would be unable to provide quality patient care. However, nurses are in high demand and can be difficult to retain. Nursing turnover is expensive, and it can have a negative impact on patient care.

In this blog post, we will discuss what nurse retention is and why it’s important. We will also offer tips on how to improve nurse retention in your organization.

Why Is Nursing Retention Important?

Registered Nurse and Nurse Managers | CHCM

Turnover Is Expensive

One of the biggest reasons why nurse retention is so important is because turnover is expensive. It can cost a hospital upwards of $22,000 to replace a nurse. When you factor in the costs of recruiting experienced nurses and training new nurses, the total cost of turnover can be even higher.

Nurse Turnover Can Negatively Impact Patient Care

Another reason why nurse retention is so important is that high turnover rates can have a negative impact on patient care. When nurses leave their position, it can disrupt the continuity of care for patients. This can lead to longer hospital stays, readmissions, and even mortality.

It Can Take Months To Fill a Nursing Position

Finally, it’s important to retain nurses because it can take months to fill a vacant nursing position. The nursing shortage is only getting worse, and it can take a long time to find and hire experienced nurses. This can put a strain on nurse managers, the remaining staff nurses and have a negative impact on patient care.

How Does Burnout Affect Job Satisfaction and Morale?

Burnout is a common problem among nurses. It can lead to low morale, high turnover rates, and a decrease in the quality of patient care.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to burnout, including:

  • Working long hours
  • Having a heavy workload
  • Working in a high-stress environment

If you suspect that a nurse is experiencing burnout, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. There are a number of ways to help support nurses, and prevent or reduce burnout, including:

  • Encouraging nurses to take breaks
  • Allowing nurses to choose their own schedules
  • Reducing the workload for nurses
  • Improving communication between nurses and their supervisors
  • Creating a positive work environment

Hospitals these days must put more emphasis on increasing nurse retention, creating a positive work environment and culture if they want to improve their nursing workforce. A positive work environment can help reduce burnout and increase morale.

What Factors Affect Nursing Retention Rates in Different Healthcare Settings?

There are a number of factors that can affect nurse retention rates in different healthcare settings. These include:

The Type of Healthcare Setting

One of the biggest factors that can affect nursing retention rates is the type of healthcare setting. For example, nurses who work in hospitals have a higher turnover rate than those who work in long-term care facilities. This is because hospitals are often understaffed and have more demanding schedules. As a result, nurses who work in hospitals are more likely to experience burnout and leave their job.

The geographical location also affects nurse retention rates. A registered nurse who works in rural areas often has a higher turnover rate than those who work in urban areas. This is because there are often fewer job opportunities in rural areas, and nurses may have to commute long distances to get to work.

The Size of the Facility

The size of healthcare organizations can also affect nurse retention strategies. For example, nurses who work in large hospitals are more likely to experience job satisfaction than those who work in small community hospitals. This is because large hospitals often offer more opportunities for career advancement.

The Nursing Shortage

A factor that can affect nurse retention rates is the nursing shortage. When there are not enough nurses to go around, it can be difficult to retain them. This is because they have a lot of options and can easily find another job if they’re not happy with their current position. Therefore, it’s important to offer competitive salaries and benefits to attract, retain and support nurses.

The Patient Population

The patient population can affect nurse retention rates. For example, nurses who work in pediatrics or oncology often have a high turnover rate because of the emotional toll that caring for sick children or cancer patients can take.

Pay and Benefits

Nursing is a demanding job, and nurses need to be compensated accordingly. If they’re not, they may look for another job that pays better. In addition, good benefits are important to nurses. This includes things like health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans.

The Nurse-to-Patient Ratio

Lastly, the nurse-to-patient ratio can affect nurse retention rates. When there are too many patients and not enough nurses, it can be difficult to provide quality care. This can lead to burnout and, ultimately, turnover.

How To Improve Nurse Retention

Now that we’ve discussed why nursing retention is so important, let’s talk about how to improve retention strategies.

Offer Competitive Salaries and Benefits

One of the best ways to retain nurses is to offer competitive salaries and benefits. Nurses are in high demand, and they have a lot of options when it comes to employment. To attract and retain the best nurses, you need to offer salaries and benefits that are competitive with other hospitals and healthcare organizations.

Make sure that you offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid time off. You should also offer tuition reimbursement for nurses who want to further their nursing career and education.

Provide Opportunities for Nurse Managers and Nursing Staff

Improve nurse retention by providing opportunities for professional development. Nurses want to feel like they are growing in their careers, and they also want to be challenged. Offer opportunities for nurses to take on additional responsibilities, attend conferences and seminars, and earn certifications. If nurses have plenty of opportunities to grow their nursing career, they will be more likely to stay with your organization.

Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction can improve nurse retention by creating a positive work environment. Nurses want to feel like they are part of a team and that their work is valued. Make sure that you have an open-door policy, and take the time to listen to nurses’ concerns. You should also create a culture of appreciation, and make sure that nurses feel like they are appreciated for the work that they do.

For instance, you can show your appreciation by offering Re-Igniting the Spirit of Caring at your organization, giving a nurse of the month awards, sending thank-you cards, and hosting luncheons or parties.

Offer Flexible Work Schedules

Flexible work schedules can improve nurse turnover. Nurses have a lot of demands in regards to their time, and they need to be able to balance work with their personal lives. Offer flexible work hours, and allow nurses to telecommute or work from home when possible.

Staff retention can improve when child care assistance and elder care assistance is offered. The well being of a nurse includes not worrying about their children or elderly parents. If possible this would truly have a positive impact for all staff members.

Experienced Nurses: Orientation, Education and Career Development

Invest in nursing orientation and nursing education. It’s important that nurses feel welcome when they start at a new hospital or healthcare organization. Investing in a comprehensive orientation program can help new nurses feel acclimated to their new work environment.

One can never go wrong with an investment in nursing education and career development. Offering organizational initiatives entices most nurses as they will be able to keep up with the latest changes in the field of nursing, and they’ll be able to learn new technical or relational skills. By investing in nursing education, you will have more guarantees that your future leaders will be competent and up-to-date on the latest changes in the field.

Invest in Nursing Leadership

Finally, invest in nursing leadership. Nurse leaders play a critical role in retention. They set the tone for the nursing staff and can create a positive work environment that is conducive to retention.

Creating opportunities for nurse managers to attend conferences and seminars will increase nurse retention. Many nurses respond well to mentorship programs. Learning from experienced nurse leaders and registered nurses will show improved retention.

Nursing managers and leaders with experience help enhance nurse retention strategies. Nurse managers offering support to other nurses help healthcare organizations reduce nurse turnover rates to improve patient outcomes and avoid nurse shortage problems.

With good nurse managers, healthcare organizations will not experience nurse turnover as frequently. Plus, the help of nurse executives will push a nurse manager to improve the healthcare environment and uphold the nursing profession at the same time. 

Therefore, nurse leaders play a very important role in retaining nurses. These healthcare leaders can help guarantee better mental health outcomes for nurses and prevent nurse burnout — all while guaranteeing patient satisfaction.

Take some time to evaluate your retention strategies, and see where you can make some changes. Implementing even a few of these tips can help retain nurses and improve patient care.

Retaining nurses is important, and it’s worth taking the time to invest in every new nurse, registered nurse, and nurse leaders. They are the backbone of healthcare, and they deserve to be appreciated.

CHCM Helps Develop and Implement Nurse Retention Strategies

Nurse Retention | CHCM

Creative Health Care Management (CHCM) is a nursing and healthcare consulting company that understands the nursing profession. We offer a variety of services, including consulting, education, and training. We can help you with nurse turnover, nurse burnout, and increase nurse retention.

We understand just how important a positive nursing workforce is, and we are dedicated to helping our clients improve their retention rates.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you improve your nursing retention.

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Mudallal RH, Othman WM, Al Hassan NF. Nurses’ Burnout: The Influence of Leader Empowering Behaviors, Work Conditions, and Demographic Traits. Inquiry. 2017 Jan 1;54:46958017724944. doi: 10.1177/0046958017724944. PMID: 28844166; PMCID: PMC5798741. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5798741/

Kim Y, Kim HY. Retention Rates and the Associated Risk Factors of Turnover among Newly Hired Nurses at South Korean Hospitals: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 23;18(19):10013. doi: 10.3390/ijerph181910013. PMID: 34639317; PMCID: PMC8507922. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8507922/