August 12, 2009 | | Comments 5
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Strategize Now To Minimize Economic Effects

Greg Smith is a motivational and leadership speaker, and a management consultant. Greg is CEO of Chart Your Course International in Atlanta. He has published several books and articles about employee engagement and retention.

I was reading a blog by Greg regarding the current state of the economy and how surprising it is that some leaders simply hope things will turn around instead of strategizing ways to minimize or eliminate the effect the economy can have on employee retention. Here are 6 things to consider:

1. Assess your talent.
What can be done to improve staff’s skills your department needs in the current economy?

2. Work on employee engagement.
Do you have a way to capture your staff’s ideas and suggestions?

3. Build closer relationships with customers.
Do you know what your patients & families really want from your department?

4. Evaluate your department’s culture.
Is it focused on agility & flexibility? Is the vision statement relevant to your staff?

5. Build trust among staff.
What can you do to improve communication? Does your staff trust upper management?

6. Retain your superstars.
Do you have established retention plans for the people you know you need to keep?

Based on Have You Lost Your Way? Six things You Need To Do Now. Smith, G. (2009)

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Entry Information

Filed Under: LeadershipRetention

Bonnie Clair About the Author: Bonnie Clair, MSN, RN currently works as Retention Project Manager at CoxHealth in Springfield, MO. Her clinical background includes nursing management, nursing education administration and neonatal flight team. Her bedside nursing experience is comprised of Med Surg, NeuroScience and 15 years in the NICU. She has facilitated development and implementation of a clinical ladder for staff RNs and worked on a steering committee to implement Shared Governance in her health system. Other recent projects include designating parking spaces close to the hospital for pregnant staff and organizing a bi-monthly reunion event for employees reaching their 90th day of employment. She is passionate about nurse retention and relevant nursing education. You may contact her at

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  1. The census in my ICU has dropped, and my concern is that I have outstanding nurses that I would like to keep and wonder if retention is ever focused at that particular issue?

  2. I know exactly how you feel. My census is also low and have excellent nurses that might think about going elsewhere. I have tried to find other things for them to do to give them some hours, like review charts for Infection Control or Risk Management.

  3. Bonnie Clair

    Thanks for your feedback, Lois! I do understand the challenge you’re facing. Encouraging staff to work on non-bedside projects is a great way to keep them engaged. Here are a few additional ideas you may be able to implement:
    1. Cross-training. Nurses have disliked “floating” for as long as I can recall. However, encouraging cross-training as a way to keep them working and discourage turn-over is a positive. Additionally, being able to care for patients in more than one specialty increases marketability and opportunities for advancement. Contrary to what some believe, leaders should always be looking for avenues to promote their staff. Rather than making the leader “look bad”, it actually shows incredible foresight and attention towards succession planning.
    2. Does your organization have a Clinical Ladder? If not, perhaps this is the time to develop a core group of staff and leaders to gather research and build one. If so, are there projects included on the ladder for staff to earn credit away from the bedside (such as the chart reviews you mentioned, or perhaps post-discharge phone calls to patients)?
    3. Shared Governance. If your organization doesn’t yet have a SG structure in place, perhaps this is the time to get it started. If you do have SG, there are undoubtedly projects that currently need some research compiled, or background work done.
    4. Creative Staffing. At least that’s what I call it! Can RNs “share” shifts? In those times when there are absolutely no outside projects to be done and someone will have to be called off, can the shift be split between 2 or 3 nurses so one RN isn’t having to use 12 hours of ETO?
    5. Do you have an affiliate college of nursing? Is there a possibility of staff RNs being coded through HR in a dual job classification – staff RN / clinical instructor? Most colleges are hurting badly for clinical instructors and only require a BSN in order to supervise RN or LPN students. It’s a great way to build rapport with local schools of nursing and it’s a win-win for both the hospital and the school. Plus it keeps RNs working AND offers a “taste” of teaching for staff who may be desiring to work in education at some point but just don’t know if they’d enjoy it.
    I hope some of these ideas will help or spur alternate ideas that would work well in your particular hospital culture! Please feel free to post any additional ideas here for everyone to access. Good Luck!

  4. A nice blog.i think that this session will take a good, hard look at everything cool

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  1. From Nursing management and the economy | The Healthcare Staffing Blog on Aug 24, 2009

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