Healthcare Expert Shares Nurse Retention Tips

Staff turnover is costly and impacts the care nurses provide. The average cost of turnover for a staff RN is $52,350, according to the 2023 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report, published by the NSI Nursing Solutions, Inc., a national nurse recruitment agency.

The Relias 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report found that among the factors that would motivate nurses to stay in the profession are higher pay (73%), better support for work-life balance (57%), more reasonable workload (53%), better benefits (43%), better manager interactions (30%), and more professional development options (23%).

In a recent Relias webinar, Cara Silletto, President and Chief Retention Officer at Magnet Culture, shared several strategies to help healthcare organizations improve staff retention.

Nurse retention tips

1. Listen to your employees

Leaders and managers should execute listening tours to keep the finger on the pulse of their employees.  Ask employees questions like, Tell me about a great day you had. What made it great? Or Tell me about a frustrating day you had. You can use stay interview questions to help you understand how employees feel about the work place. “Make sure to really make yourself approachable and let [the employees] know too,” said Silletto. “You want to learn more about being on the front line.”

2. Reset realistic and sustainable workload expectations

Healthcare work is demanding and challenging, and staff is overloaded. Unrealistic or unsustainable workload expectations cause employee turnover. Leaders should set realistic workloads to keep employees from leaving.

3. Build HR retention capacity

In addition to recruiting and talent acquisition specialists on your HR team, create a part-time or full-time position for a retention initiatives specialist. The person in this role will support the HR team by focusing on employee retention and decreasing turnover. If you don’t have the budget to hire that person for that role, create a retention task force that will include a multidisciplinary group that meets weekly or monthly to discuss what your organization can do to improve retention.

4. Create onboarding checklists for new hires

The first 30, 60, and 90 days are a huge flight risk for new hires. The onboarding process to new roles and teams takes time. Create onboarding checklists that specify what new hires in your organization’s various roles and departments need to know on their first day, first week, first month, and first quarter. You can include some onboarding micro training, team building activities, and mentoring in existing team meetings that new hires participate in.

5. Build a training plan for managers and supervisors

Give your supervisors and managers the tools to be successful leaders. Look at your management and leadership training programs and ensure they include training for the supervisory level, middle management, directors’ level, and advancement programs. Build training and development programs for your senior leaders also. “When you make your managers better at every level, especially in the supervisor and management roles, they can buffer issues on the frontline and resolve conflicts,” said Silletto.

To learn more about what’s important to nurses, you can review the findings within the 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report.

Download the report here.