Nursezone.com reports that Modern Healthcare has released its list of 100 Best Places to Work in Health Care in the U.S. Is your facility on the list? What do these places have that yours doesn't?
According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, there are some hospitals that are experiencing no shortage of nurses. One such facility is Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack NJ where they actually aren't using registries or travel nurses to fill their staffing needs. They also don't recruit foreign born nurses. And they have a waiting list of nurses who want to work there.
On the other hand, New Jersey lists a nursing shortage of 13%. So what's up with this? Some recent research has found that money is not all that nurses are looking for. In fact hospitals that have offered great sign on bonuses for years have found that they can recruit nurses with this incentive, but they can't seem to keep them once their commitment is up. They'll move on to another hospital willing to pay a bigger bonus or better incentives.
So how do hospitals retain nurses? Well, for one thing by doing what we've been trying to tell them for years....Listen to the nurses!!! Not all facilites are created alike, and the needs will vary. Working conditions have long outweighed salary needs in most surveys although nurses will probably never make what they're worth.
Flexible schedules is a BIG item. Working twelve hour shifts simply cannot be maintained year after year by most nurses. Rotating days to nights is another issue. The average age of nurses is increasing and older nurses simply cannot handle the physical stress of twelve hour shifts. Even eight hour shifts may be too much.
Thinking outside the box is essential. Just because hospitals require 24/7 coverage does not mean that two or three shifts works well and provides quality health care.
Help with repaying student loans and tuition reimbursement is another important issue.
High housing costs are prohibitive in some areas. A couple of innovative hospitals invested in apartment buildings near their facility and offer lower rents to nurses and other health care professionals who work in their hospitals. Assistance with downpayments and mortgages is also an enticing incentive.
Concierge services such as car washes, drop off and pick up of dry cleaning, purchasing movie and theater tickets, and other errand services can help to reduce the stresses of everyday life for staff.
Another big issue is documentation. Many facilities are finally implementing ways to reduce the amount of time nurses spend on paperwork.
Facilities where nurses are able to participate in decisions and feel valued also tend to retain nurses.
If you are interested in working in health care, consider a healthcare management degree.
WashingtonPost.com, September 13, 2008, What Nurses Want by V. Dion Haynes
MedicalNewsToday.com, September 16, 2008, Hospitals Offering Better Working Conditions Instead of Financial Incentives to Address Nursing ShortagesIHI.org, No Nursing Shortages Here