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The key to nurse retention

The following is an excerpt from Essential Skills for Nurse Managers.

Put aside all the tips and tools for retention for a moment and remember this:

Of 1,500 nurses surveyed, their #1 incentive was noted to be personal recognition by their manager.

Imagine you are a staff member who helped out the department by covering an extra shift due to a sick call. Sure, at the end of the pay period they will be smiling with the overtime in their check. Do you know what will make them smile just as much, or for some even more? If the next time they worked an envelope was in their mailbox or locker and inside was a single wrapped life saver with a note signed by their manager that simply read:

  • Many thanks for helping out by picking up the extra shift. You are a life saver!

After much conflict in the department related to precepting issues and a lack of interest among the staff to contribute to the ongoing educational needs of the new graduate staff, one employee stepped forward to offer to assist. He understood there was no extra pay differential for taking on this challenge when he agreed to the role. However, that did not matter because he found in his locker an envelope with a single wrapped “treasures” chocolate candy and a note from the manager that read:

  • Many thanks for volunteering to work with our new grads—we treasure you as part of our team!

Sometimes a trip down the candy aisle at the grocery store with a pad of paper is not about the eating; instead, it is about creating a memorable message that means something to an employee. Be sure that part of your retention strategies include your “shining stars.” Many managers assume these high-level performers do not need or desire recognition or praise; this is far from the truth. They may want to be recognized in different ways from the rest of the staff, but they still deserve to be reminded of the vital role they hold in the department. Sometimes the employees we desire to hold on to the most are the ones for which we use the least retention efforts. Do not make this mistake and be alert to the fact that many assumptions are made about top performers.

Rewards for employees should match and be in line with how and what they contribute to the department/organization. Just because employees perform well does not mean they are easy to get along with, welcoming to new hires, etc. And always remember that current performance may not be an indicator for future potential in a “shining star” Schmidt (2010). Be sure to balance your attention and recognition efforts among all of the team members, shining stars or not.

New strategies for the nursing shortage

Hospitals are offering new incentives to get staff involved with recruitment.

We’ve all heard it by now: the nurse shortage is here, and it’s only going to get worse. Between population growth, retirement, and life expectancy increase, reports estimate a three million RN shortage by 2020.

Faced with these challenges, University of Missouri (MU) Health Care has asked its staff for help in recruiting nurses to their facilities. Instead of offering bonuses and incentives to new hires, MU Health is offering staff members $10,000 for recruiting qualified candidates to its Intensive Care Units (ICU). MU Health hopes to convey respect and value for their employees, improving retention while making the facility more attractive to new applicants. The recruiters also say that sign-on bonuses could lead to job-hopping, rather than encouraging nurses to stay at a facility.

One of the other factors affecting the shortage is a bottleneck around training people to become nurses. The retirement issue applies to nursing school professors as well, and schools are constrained by professor to student ratios in determining how many applicants are accepted.

MU Health Care also hopes to address this issue by helping its staff become educators. They have instituted a residency program that allows trained nurses to collaborate with nursing students at their hospitals. The hospitals provide exposure to nursing students, and they hope to encourage students to stay within their community once they graduate. The Missouri Hospital Association is sponsoring a clinical leadership academy, which will train bedside nurses to become clinical instructors.

In addition to its own programs, MU Health Care encourages employees to go back to school to advance their careers, offering tuition reimbursement for staff members. These creative incentives for employees serve the dual function of retaining current staff while making the facility more attractive to new recruits.

Featured Webcast: Millennial Nurse Retention: Bridging the Generation Gap

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In 2015, the number of millennials in the workplace surpassed baby boomers as the largest segment of workers. This future generation of nurses has very different career expectations than the generations before them. Millennials expect more feedback, greater collaboration, interaction with nurse leaders, an 8-hour workday and better work-life balance. Unlike their parents, they rarely intend to stay with one employer for their entire career—or possibly even more than a few years.

The shift in attitude has many organizations struggling to retain millennials and learning to adjust management strategies to accommodate their unique style. Join Kathy Bonser, Vice President of Nursing and CNO at SSM Health DePaul as she discusses the importance of leveraging the differences to create a win-win environment for staff and frontline leaders.

Take part in this live 60-minute webcast to:

  • Uncover how making changes in leadership behaviors can bridge the generation gap
  • Discover new onboarding processes that support the growing millennial workforce
  • Devise a structured approach to providing regular employee feedback
  • Understand the importance and value of engaging millennials early and often

Agenda:

  • Improving nurse retention, especially in the first year after hire
  • Understand communication preferences
    • Text or call? How to decide
    • Use of social media
  • The importance of strong onboarding and engagement processes
    • Scheduled touchpoints
    • Celebration of milestones
    • The need for performance feedback
  • The need for transparency
    • Explaining the why behind decisions
    • Seeking out nurse feedback and acting on it
    • Shedding light on how their contributions make a difference
  • Live Q&A

HCPro is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. HCPro provides 1.0 nursing contact hours for this educational activity.

For more information or to register for the webcast, click here.

Featured Webcast: Millennial Nurse Retention

Millennial Nurse Retention: Bridging the Generation Gap

In 2015, the number of millennials in the workplace surpassed baby boomers as the largest segment of workers. This future generation of nurses has very different career expectations than the generations before them. Millennials expect more feedback, greater collaboration, interaction with nurse leaders, an 8-hour workday and better work-life balance. Unlike their parents, they rarely intend to stay with one employer for their entire career—or possibly even more than a few years.

The shift in attitude has many organizations struggling to retain millennials and learning to adjust management strategies to accommodate their unique style. Join Kathy Bonser, Vice President of Nursing and CNO at SSM Health DePaul as she discusses the importance of leveraging the differences to create a win-win environment for staff and frontline leaders.

Take part in this live 60-minute webcast to:

  • Uncover how making changes in leadership behaviors can bridge the generation gap
  • Discover new onboarding processes that support the growing millennial workforce
  • Devise a structured approach to providing regular employee feedback
  • Understand the importance and value of engaging millennials early and often

For more details or to register for the webcast, please visit The Health Leaders Media store.

Rock Your Health: When you can’t stop working!

What’s up with working all the time? How did that enter our lives?  What happened to weekends off with a Sunday drive in the country? What happened to Sunday morning church followed by a nice meal out? What happened to evenings sitting outside or kids playing till dark? What happened to all that free time computers were supposed to give us?  Oh wait.  Maybe that’s it. It’s the computers fault. Or is it?

If you are wondering why you are so exhausted, look no further than your own choices about how you are living your life. And if the people around you are in the same boat, maybe it is time for a heart to heart.  So what are you willing to do to bring rest and refreshed energy back into your life?  And how committed are you to making that change?

As a wellness coach I know how successful people make changes in their busy lives and having a coach to hold you accountable is often the best step to get you to where you want to be quicker. Contact me if you want a sample session and maybe you will discover what possibilities exist for you. carol@carolebert.com

Strategies for implementing evidence-based practices: Journal clubs

If you’re looking for ways to get your staff engaged and current on the latest evidence-based practices, then you should consider starting a journal club, a regular meeting of staff members to discuss articles from nursing journals. It’s a great way to improve your staff’s reading habits and critical thinking while promoting cooperation and teamwork.

To start your club, you need to choose someone to select readings. A master’s-prepared nurse specialist or educator would be an ideal candidate to lead the group, but anyone with the proper knowledge or enthusiasm would make a fine choice. They should endeavor to select readings that are informative, relevant, and accessible to encourage nurses of all levels to participate. They should start by selecting a guide to critical reading, so everyone has the tools to discuss the articles. Once they’ve selected the article, make sure the reading is easily obtainable and give plenty of advanced notice to ensure everyone has time to read it.

The biggest hurdle for starting a journal club in a healthcare environment is finding time in your staff’s busy schedule. Ideally, you want to find a time that works for everyone, perhaps during a shared break or change of shift. If this proves too daunting, you can always create a virtual journal club. You could use a hospital intranet, email list, or even a chat forum to discuss the readings.

Once you get everyone together, encourage them to think about the article critically and ask them to evaluate it. Here’s a great list of questions to start discussions and get the group thinking about the reading.

If you find that your group has lost momentum or attendance is waning over time, try providing incentives for attendees. Small perks or competitions can be a great way to encourage attendance and let your group have some fun!

Here are some helpful links to get you started!

Running an effective journal club

From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Who should facilitate journal clubs?

Help nurses critique journal articles

Do you have a journal group at your facility? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

Trust your nurses, everyone else does

Nursing has once again been named the most trustworthy profession in America. In their annual, “Honesty and Ethics rankings,” Gallup Polls found that 85% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and trustworthiness “very high,” or “high.” The runner-up, pharmacists, only received a “highly trusted” score of 68%.

As a manager, you should take confidence in the fact that the general population places more trust in your nursing staff than they do physicians (67%), high school teachers (60%), police officers (56%), or even clergy (45%).

“It’s essential that we leverage this trust to lead and implement change in the healthcare system,” said Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA) in response to the poll, “Hospitals, healthcare systems and other organizations are lacking an important perspective and can’t make fully competent decisions if they don’t have registered nurses at the board table or in the C-Suite.  That’s why ANA is a member of the Nurses on Boards Coalition, working to place 10,000 nurses on boards by 2020.”

This is the 14th year straight that nursing has taken the top spot since being added to the list in 1999. The only thing that’s ever interrupted nursing’s winning streak was the one-time inclusion of firefighters to the list in the wake of 9/11.

Side note: it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that car salespeople (8%), telemarketers (8%), Congress members (8%), and lobbyists (7%) were voted the least trusted professions in the country.

What to get your nurses this year

The holidays are well and truly upon us, which means across the world people are panicking as they realize they haven’t bought any presents yet.

The holidays are a busy time of year for healthcare professionals, with nurses trying to balance an increased workload with holiday obligations. A few simple gifts can do wonders for morale and show nurses that they are appreciated for their work.

And if you miss the holiday deadline? Hand out presents on New Year’s. It’s a federally recognized holiday and gives you more time to buy.

  1. Keep Calm I’m a Nurse T-shirt

So nurses can go off the clock and still let the world know who’s boss. You can buy them on an individual basis or buy them in bulk for your staff.

  1. Coffee

Give the gift of caffeine. Either gift cards to Starbucks or (if you have $100 to spare) a Keurig brewing system for the nurses’ lounge.

  1. Scrubs Season One

Good for some laughs and to remind everyone that you work in a much less dysfunctional hospital. Or that you do, but at least your janitors aren’t actively conspiring against you.

  1. Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul by Jack Canfield

Stories from the frontlines of nursing. Some are funny, some are uplifting, and some are moving. A good read for both new and veteran nurses.

  1. “Do not disturb: Nurse sleeping” sign

Need I say more?

  1. Things that they would like

This is your chance to show your nurses that you really know them. A running joke in the hospital, fixing something that’s been broken a long time, or something particular to your area. Be creative! And always leave the receipt in the wrapper.

Try This: Build nursing team self-esteem

Hierarchy of Voice

Excerpted from Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility, Second Edition, by Kathleen Bartholomew

Try the following exercise that I often use to encourage nurses’ self-esteem. I call it a “hierarchy of voice” because each step results in greater empowerment. Addressing specific behaviors that are a challenge to a nurse stimulates meaningful conversations about that individual’s stumbling blocks to empowerment and self-esteem.

In performance evaluations, share the following list and ask team members to pick 10 meaningful actions that they would like to [more]

Positive Pushback for Nurses

I’ve posted in the past on accountability strategies, communication techniques, and building team relationships, all of which can improve the workplace. Recently I ran across the term “positive pushback”—easy to remember thanks to those alliterative “p” words—and felt that the technique might be helpful in those potential conflict situations that arise from time to time.pushback2

The promise of positive pushback is that you can communicate your concerns in an unequivocally strong and clear manner that doesn’t damage your professional relationships. No yelling and certainly no retreating to an unassertive approach.

According to Susanne Gaddis, the Communications Doctor:

A “positive pushback” is the ability to deliver an appropriately assertive response to a potentially negative and/or harmful situation. A positive pushback is executed by looking someone straight in the eye, and saying with an even, non-stressed tone what you want or need. (If you want to be really assertive include the word “I,” such as “I really need for you to stop and review this now…”)

What resources do you need to use positive pushback? Self-esteem, self-confidence, and an ability to convey urgency without “emoting” your emotions. I highly recommend that you read this blog post from Susanne Gaddis, to see if this is a tool that you can add to your collection. As with all the “soft skills,” practice makes perfect.

If you try the techniques, please post a comment here to let us know how it worked out for you!

 


 

With thanks to Susanne Gaddis, PhD, CSP and CEO of The Communications Doctor, is an acknowledged communications expert who has taught the art of effective and positive communication since 1989.