Focus on Nurse Benefits, Wellness, and Education To Support Retention

Let’s face it. Keeping your organization fully staffed may never be an item you can cross off your nurse recruiter to-do list. Turnover will likely be an issue for years to come. As you recruit, take a good look at the nurse benefits offered and how they support retention. 

According to a 2023 NSI Nursing Solutions report, the hospital turnover rate is 22.7% and the RN turnover rate is 22.5%. Turnover rates vary depending on geographic location and nursing specialty. That’s why it’s so important to hire nurses who match your organization’s needs and will be satisfied with the benefits offered.

As a nurse recruiter, the obvious (and necessary) benefit to call attention to when posting job positions is that your employer provides competitive salaries.

But as enticing as a good salary is, in the current market, salaries aren’t your only go-to option for attracting and retaining nurses.

The 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report found that among the top benefits that nurses don’t have but desire are bonuses, followed by malpractice insurance and profit sharing, paid continuing education, and wellness resources.

Touting these benefits, if your organization offers them, can be attractive to nurses and help fill your open positions.

Nurse benefits should include positive work environment

In a 2018 LinkedIn study, employees said support for healthy work-life balance was important to their commitment to a company. Allowing nurses to work part time or full time with schedules that suit their personal commitments can help promote that feeling of balance.

Promoting wellness education and fitness programs can help your staff handle the stresses that come with caring for patients. Recognizing burnout risks and actively working to counterbalance them will help your team stay healthy and provide better care to their patients.

Another deciding factor for staying with a job is the organization’s culture, according to the same LinkedIn study. A feeling of belonging is an important part of that intangible benefit but can be an extra challenge to cultivate within inpatient and outpatient settings. It’s critical to communicate frequently with your team members and connect with them on a personal level.

The study further revealed that employees also value engaging in a job that has a positive impact on society. You can remind your staff that they are making a difference in clients’ lives by helping older adults improve or maintain their health and retain as much independence as possible

Keep nurse managers and leaders involved in retention

Employees are more likely to stay if they feel engaged and appreciated. Nurse leaders play a vital part in achieving that goal. “Professionals today prioritize a sense of belonging, supportive leadership, and social impact in their day-to-day work lives,” LinkedIn researchers note.

The right manager can influence employees to stay with your organization longer. The wrong one can drive them away.

Connecting with nurses from the start is one way to ensure a long-lasting, collaborative work relationship. Find out their personal and professional motivations, and meet with them regularly, in person or virtually, to cultivate a positive manager-employee relationship.

Communication lays the groundwork for building a climate of trust and respect. Ask for and give regular feedback to ensure that each staff member feels included and heard. Coach them when improvement is needed and praise them for a job well done.

It’s important to note that nurses want to feel they are making a difference with the work they do, and their managers can help nurture that feeling by sharing success stories among the whole team.

Support ongoing education from day one

Clearly, every nurse benefits when an employer provides education that will enhance job skills. Doing so also can bring advantages to employers.

Having personalized onboarding with role-based training plans can streamline the orientation process and ensure that new hires get consistent information about expectations and company culture.

For compliance-based training and professional development once they have settled in, consider tools that help you assess competency and identify gaps. That way, managers can ensure that the time invested in learning pays off with better care for clients.

A 2019 study notes that leadership plays a strong role in encouraging professional development, as 75% of participating employees said they would take a course their manager assigned.

Using a learning management system (LMS) that automates assignments and allows group announcements can relieve manager stress, especially when you have high turnover. When regulations or policies change, you can ensure that everyone receives the notification and relevant information.

Accurate Home Care has found that being able to provide competency assessments, learning, and tracking of online education on one LMS is ideal. Starting new hires off with training on required knowledge and skills is a top priority, notes Nicoleen Meyer, RN, Home Nursing Manager for Accurate Home Care. “That core education when a new employee comes aboard with us is the only way to ensure their success and the safety of our patients.”

If education and skills training opportunities are available when and where employees need them, you can build a better and brighter team and combat turnover. If nurses or caregivers are interested in gaining additional certifications, you can support their career growth via online and mobile learning.

Elevate your own leadership skills

To ensure good support for those you supervise, consider enhancing your own skills with education in communication, management and leadership, quality improvement, cultural competence, and more.

And encourage team members to explore stretch activities and education as well.

When leaders and learning opportunities support nurses and caregivers in being competent and confident professionals, they are so much more likely to stay onboard.

The payoff is an experienced and dedicated team dedicated to measurably improving your level of care and client satisfaction.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was published in September 2021 and has been updated.

Find out more about how to reduce turnover.