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What to know about new nurses: Tackling Turnover

Hiring a competent nurse staff is only half the battle. The other half is keeping them. A new study published in Nursing Ethics found the turnover rates for RNs is 16.5%, with each resignation costing a hospital between $44,380 to $63,400 a nurse. Furthermore, newly licensed nurses scored lower on job satisfaction and were more likely to leave their job within two years.

The Nursing Ethics report found that intergenerational conflict was a big part of nurse dissatisfaction; with millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers butting heads at the hospital.

“Younger generation nurses feel like they don’t have power over their practice, they’re not in charge, and that is logical because they are novice practitioners,” study author Charleen McNeill said in a press release. “However, they bring a knowledge of technology that seasoned nurses may lack. In turn, more experienced nurses support the clinical learning and professional role formation of new nurses. Successful nurse-leaders find ways to garner the strengths of each generation of nurses to achieve the best patient outcomes.”

McNeill said instead of looking at it as conflict, nurse-leaders need to leverage the strengths of each generation and determine strategies to empower all generations of nurses. Their research suggested a strong correlation between professional values and career development. They also found that both job satisfaction and career development correlated positively with nurse retention.

“The work culture that leaders create – the environment that nurses are working in – is the most important thing related to retention,” McNeill said. “It’s very expensive to hire new nurses. When we have good nurses, we want to keep them so we need to understand what’s important to keep them.”

For more tips on retention, conflict resolution and recruitment, check out the following articles from our Strategies for Nurse Managers site!

And the survey says… Staff retention (try to break these 20 habits)

This week I have the pleasure of reading the incredible responses we received to our Nurses Week 2015 survey. So many of you shared your insights, challenges, and hopes for the coming year—thank you! We’ll be emailing the winners of copies of Kathleen Bartholomew’s Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships in the next couple of days. Keep your eyes peeled for our email.

Your generous responses help us understand your needs and aspirations, and we will try to return the favor by covering those important topics in this blog and in our upcoming books, webinars, and e-learning. For starters, I’ve revived a popular post from the past that deals with retention, identified by many of you as a top priority. Let me know if you recognize any of the 20 bad habits in yourself!

Retain staff by breaking these 20 bad habits

Peter Druker, often called the Father of Modern Management, made the following observation, “We spend a lot of time teaching managers what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching them what to stop. Half the leaders I’ve met don’t need to learn what to do–they need to learn what to stop.” We simply need to [more]

Nurses Week: Your 20% sneak peek savings

HCPro is celebrating and recognizing nurses all week long with special giveaways, prizes, and promotions, but we don’t want to wait until Wednesday to start the celebration!

Starting today, you can use our special Nurses Week 2015 catalog coverdiscount code to save on any and all nursing books, videos, and webinars… Just use discount code NRSWK2015 at checkout to receive 20% off your selections.

Download and browse our 2015 catalogue of resources for nurse leaders and staff development professionals here, and visit to place your order!






⇒ 5/4: Who inspires you? There’s still time to submit your favorite quotes in posted comments, here.

⇒ 5/6: A thank you to our favorite nurses, from Boston. Here’s the post.

Pay equity: Who said it?

As a footnote to Rebecca’s post regarding Barton Quoteour reader poll focusing on pay equity between male and female nurses, I want
to share the following quote with you…

Without doing a Google search, can you identify the speaker? Add a comment if so…

In-room computing: 5 tips to enhance patient-caregiver communication

When hospitals and medical groups transition to an electronic health record (EHR), many caregivers view the computer as interfering with, not helping communication with patients. I spent a big chunk of time reviewing the myriad studies about the relationship between bedside and in-office computer use and patient satisfaction. Based on all I’ve read, I’m convinced that EHR systems at the bedside and in medical offices can greatly enhance the patient experience of care and satisfaction.

Years ago (in the 90s), in-room computer use by caregivers was indeed a barrier to communication. Caregivers weren’t used to it and many resisted it. The systems were much less user-friendly, so caregivers struggled to access and enter information as the impatient consumer looked on.  Also, far fewer consumers used computers themselves, so few patients realized the benefits of the computer for their care.


Seven strategies to prevent nurse burnout

In a recent post, I discussed the issue of nurses being double at risk for a heart attack. This statistic comes from a study conducted by Danish researchers (the full study can be found here) and was conducted over a 15-year period. In addition to this finding, a British study tracked 6,000 workers for 11 years and found those regularly working more than 10 hours per day had a 60% higher risk for heart disease than those who only worked seven hours daily.

A recent column on HealthLeaders Media discussed seven strategies to reduce nurse burnout that I want to share here.

The strategies come from a study conducted by Milliken, Clements, and Tillman in a 2007 study called Nursing Economic$ (free login required). The study says to prevent burnout, organizations need to employ a nurse-centered stress management program AND an executive support system. Too often, stress reduction programs fail because they aren’t relevant for bedside nurses or because bedside nurses do not receive support for such programs from leadership.

The following strategies were found by this study and others to be effective:

1. Stress reduction classes: Offer live classes and computer-based sessions about self-care stress reduction techniques. Be sure to tailor the sessions so they make sense for busy staff nurses. For example, a session filled only with strategies that aren’t applicable to the nurse environment won’t be as helpful as one that includes easy-to-implement techniques such as deep breathing that can be performed during a quick meal break. Encourage nurses to participate by raffling off gift certificates for massages.

2. Create a space for relaxation: Social support has been shown to reduce the effects of stress, and senior leadership can help foster opportunities for nurses to interact by providing a place for them to meet. The break room can be more than a place to scarf a quick sandwich and managers should encourage staff to take breaks together when possible to build a sense of community.

3. Mentor and buddy programs: Having someone to vent to and engage in joint problem-solving can mitigate the effects of stress. Encouraging mentor and buddy programs also boosts nurse engagement and helps in long-term retention and professional development. [more]

Program helps improve retention rates to near-perfection

The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) AACN Nurse Residency Program TM (NRP) has helped program participants achieve a 4.4% turnover rate of first-year nurses, which is significantly lower than the  national rate of 27.1%.

So far, 61 sites have incorporated the program, which compares to about 16,000 participating nurses since 2002. In 2009, 11 participating sites had a 100% retention rate. [more]

Budget-friendly gifts and retention gems

Tighter spending may be in your hospital budget’s forecast with the state of the economy, but recognizing and rewarding staff shouldn’t take the backseat. Creating and environment where nurses feel appreciated, valued, and that they are making a positive affect on patient care is key to improving retention. And, there are several low-cost gifts for any occasion to help you celebrate your nurses’ success, thank them for a job well done, or just let them know you’re thinking about them. [more]

Quick Retention Tips!


1. Your Laughter is contagious – let them hear you roar! Good moods affect others in a positive way and bad moods infect others negatively. (From Love ’em or Lose ’em!)


2. The more information you put into your brain, the more likely you are to come up with new ideas! Continue your own learning journey by attending at least one conference a year. [more]

Take notecards to a new level!

You’ve made your new staff member feel welcome, and are almost ready for his/her 90 day evaluation. How about writing a SO GLAD YOU’RE HERE note card, signed by you and your charge nurses? Or, can you scan a picture of their preceptor(s) or shift peers to the inside of the card? How about having the entire team sign the card and present it at a staff meeting?

Kick it up a Notch:
Send a handwritten note to the employee’s family and/or their spouse/significant other! I once had a director who sent a holiday card to my home (it was near my 90 days in the department). She included a note specifically to my husband. She knew his name and included several compliments about my performance, and thanked him for “loaning” me to the department for 40 hours a week.


Both my husband and I were so impressed! I highly recommend this as a retention tool; I still work for that director!

What ideas for retaining staff at their 90 day evaluation have YOU implemented?

Excellent Quote:
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson