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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.

What to know about new nurses: Motivating millennials

Last year, millennials passed Gen Xers in workforce numbers, and now make up the majority of the workers in the  U.S. according to the Pew Research Center. Another study shows that two out of three millennial workers hope to have a different job in five years, and that one in four said they might leave their job to pursue a different career. Nursing is not immune to this trend, so it’s more important than ever to keep your young staff motivated and engaged to prevent short-staffing. Below are some tips for engaging your millennial staff!

Show trust: Millennial workers tend to have an independent streak and want to find their own way; by showing your staff that you trust them to make decisions will bolster their confidence and engage their creativity. If you micromanage young workers, their more likely to pull away from your group and look elsewhere for career advancements.

Provide support and access:  Showing trust does not mean leaving them alone. Millennial workers want to hear feedback from their superiors, and providing frequent in-person contact is very important for their job satisfaction. Make sure you’re willing to listen to them and provide support whenever possible.

Emphasize relationships: Similarly, millennial workers have a strong sense of commitment to others and seek to establish meaningful connections with their coworkers.  Try to cultivate a close-knit staff by encouraging social outings and holding staff events; the unit will work better as a team and young staff will feel more connected to their job.

Talk about the future: Millennial workers are not likely to wait around for career advancements. If you can outline a career trajectory in your facility and help them get there, your young staff will be much happier in their position. Try to keep bureaucratic road blocks to a minimum, and you could have a future nurse leader for your hospital.

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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!

Change agent: Download your action plan for new staff

preceptor package

Yesterday I promised you a free tool adapted from
The Preceptor Program Builder, by Diana Swihart
and Solimar Figueroa.


If you’d like to download their Action Plan for New Nurses, you’ll find it here

Change is good: An action plan for new nurses

As a nurse manager, one of your challenges is to lead the change process for your staff. And, while new procedures and practices need to be assimilated by your experienced staff members as they arise, your new nurses experience the greatest number of changes every day as they transition to service from preceptorship.

Unfortunately, by and large, people are programmed not to change. New staff members may think that the skills learned in school or in a previous position will map directly to your workplace, and they will tend to fall back on the way things were done before. You, on the other hand, need them to adapt quickly, putting behaviors learned in orientation to work. In other words, you need them to change.

Try using the action plan below to help identify specific areas to address. It will give you the framework you both need to keep improving and changing.

Note: Check back tomorrow for a link to download this tool from our library of nurse manager resources. It is adapted from The Preceptor Program Builder, by Diana Swihart and Solimar Figueroa.

ActionPlan

You can’t teach with apathy: Why it’s important to support your preceptors

by Julie Harris, MSN, RN

I occasionally peruse online nursing forums to see what the hot topics are. Last night, I was on a highly popular forum and came across an interesting discussion. A new graduate was being oriented and her preceptors were not interested in training her. She perceived their behavior as intimidating and somewhat hostile and she didn’t know what her next step should be. Should she quit and look for a new job? Should she stick it out?

Responses to her post ranged from “This is part of orientation. Try not to take it personal,” to “Those nurses shouldn’t be preceptors. If this facility supports that kind of behavior, you need to leave and find a new job.”

I find myself agreeing more with the last response. Nobody should be forced to precept. Some nurses are wonderful caregivers with excellent clinical skills; however they do not possess the desire to train orientees. Other nurses have a strong craving to teach and pass on their knowledge to orientees. Both options are perfectly acceptable.

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Effective precepting: Giving feedback to orientees

Whenever I conduct a preceptor workshop, I always ask the question, “What is the most difficult aspect of precepting?” I usually get a range of answers, but at least one nurse will always say, “Providing feedback to orientees.” Providing feedback can be difficult, especially if it is your first time doing it.

In a preceptor-orientee relationship, the best type of feedback to provide is constructive feedback. Constructive feedback focuses on improving orientees’ performance by reinforcing desired behavior, and correcting poor performance. It allows orientees to maintain their motivation for learning, and enables them to experience at least partial success.

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Nursing reviews change across the country

Everyone has to undergo a performance review, including nurses. At some facilities, it can take place annually, maybe every six months, or even every other year. Nurses may be asked to fill out a 10-page form that helps their managers score qualities such as “leadership” or “respectfulness.” Or maybe the nurses don’t have to fill out a form, but rather have an electronic system tracking every project they do, and if a task is not completed on time, the information is logged into a performance system.

No matter the case, many organizations are changing the way performance reviews are conducted to separate top performers from underachievers. According to Hewitt Associates, 10% of managers and 11% of other employees are now judged solely on the results they achieve, as opposed to a combination of hard figures and additional behavioral characteristics. [more]

Book clubs help nurses connect with patients

When the phrase “book club” comes up, one thinks of a group of people, meeting at a coffee shop or a member’s home, discussing the most recent best seller showcased on Oprah Winfrey’s daytime television show. However, the definition of a book club will now have to include nurses reading medical-themed literature to better connect with their patients.

The first hospital to institute the idea of a nurse/physician-based book club was in 1997, and over the past decade, similar ideas and book clubs have become more popular across 25 states, including California, Massachusetts, and New York. [more]