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How to Attract and Retain Great Nurses – Reduce Staff Nurse Vacancy

In his interview with Business Today, Dr Bruce J Bauer of Berkley Health EDU told that the two biggest problems that Indian Hospitals face are finding and training nurse. According to NSSO, Active Health Workers’ density of nurses is estimated to be 10.6. The number drops to 6.0, after accounting for the adequate qualifications. This estimate is well below the WHO threshold of 44.5 nurses per 10,000 population. The already poor situation is further exacerbated by the 40%-60% attrition rate in the Nursing field.

Hence, Nurse Attraction and Retention has become one of the foremost agenda of the Healthcare Talent Management Strategists. Rareminds has curated some of the core focus points that HRs should regularly revisit to ensure that they recruit high-quality nursing talent and reduce staff nurse vacancy.

1. A Solid Recruitment Process:

Successful retention starts when the right talent is hired in the first place. Skills and Clinical Practice Knowledge can be refined over time, but Behavioural attributes such as empathy, openness and a strong sense of responsibility towards patient requires an inward base. The recruitment process should be able to assess attributes that will help the Hospital achieve its long-term goals. Don’t just fit the position with warm bodies. This also aids to avoid dropout of top performing nurses due to ineffective colleagues. Also, focus on the other end of the spectrum and start engaging the job seekers from the first touch. Don’t just throw light of “What” of the role but also on “Why” your
organization is the best fit. Be Employee Centric from the start.

2. Develop a Nurse Residency Program

Invest in the Training and Skill refinement of your Nurses. You don’t build a House without its Foundation, and You don’t Build a Hospitals without its Nurses. Hence, as a Medical Institution, it is of prime importance that you invest time in providing support, feedback, mentoring to your nurses for their career advancement and growth. Provide them chances to explore different avenues within nursing. Allow them opportunities in specialized roles such as Neonatal ICU nurse. It not only helps to circumvent any monotony the staff may feel. But, more importantly, it raises the competency level of the entire unit, allowing them to fill in and support their colleagues during personal exigency. A robust cohesive nursing team also improves the patient care of the Hospital.

3. Offer Flexible Schedules

The nursing profession is physically and emotionally taxing. A study reflected that nurses typically work 12 hours a shift and 40 hours a week. These timings are a significant contributor to their stress, making them prone to turnover and job dissatisfaction. Experimenting with flexible scheduling has found to have a positive impact on their psyche. Providing various shit choices helps them have more control to foster a balance in their personal and professional lives. The collaborative Staffing Model that allows the nurses to work together to fill shifts in the West has shown to have a positive impact on work efficiency. Career Breaks and Sabbaticals have also proven to be significant in high performing talents to return with greater loyalty towards the organization.

4. Recognize and Reward High Performers: Create Nurse Ambassadors

Appreciation programs for the Nurses could just be the masterstroke of your Corporate Branding. I helps to acknowledge their dedication towards the patients and makes them feel like a valuable member of the organization. Many hospitals have awards like- “Nurse of the Month” that help nurses become the Nursing Ambassadors. These institutes actively ask for their nurse’s opinions and thoughts on improving patient care. Inputs received are crucial since they spend more time with the patients than the doctors and the management. Also, circulating the views of the Ambassadors on various social media platforms helps with the engagement of the company with the job seekers.

5. Hold Retention Interviews

It is extremely important for the organizations to recognize what they are weak in but equally important to realize what they are doing right and how can they further strengthen it. Retention Interviews are an excellent way to understand why long-term senior nurses have stayed with the organizations. These testimonials, memories and reasons that comes up in the interview, work as two-fold inspiration. One it motivates the existing workforce to stay with the organization and second, it inspires new talents to become part of the organization.

The remedy for the corporates to the nursing shortage is not to find on short-term quick fixes. But to work on creating a positive staff experience, building a strong employee-centric organization identity and a supportive colleague community. You can reach out to Rareminds to receive consultation and management services on nurse recruitment and training.

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17 June, 2021