Nursing Retention Plans: 3 Programs Proven to Reduce High Turnover in Nursing Care

December 9, 2020

Nurses make up the backbone of every successful healthcare organization, from local doctors’ offices to massive hospital systems. They interact with patients more than any other clinical staff member and provide the ongoing care patients require to maintain or recover their health.

And yet in spite of their critical contributions, turnover among nursing staff remains high, negatively impacting both patient care and the bottom line. Keeping highly-trained nurses on staff requires better communication strategies to help support, recognize and educate nurses.

This is exactly why hospitals, clinics, and other types of medical healthcare centers need to implement elaborate nursing retention plans for nurse retention. So, what are hospitals doing to retain nurses and what can you do in your business for the same?

A coordinated digital signage program that uses existing in-clinic screens and targeted messaging should be the spine of all your plans and strategies for nurse retention.

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Why is nurse retention important?

Nurse retention is an important issue that experts in the healthcare industry are looking to address. The global crisis was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with staff shortages and high turnover still affecting hospitals and clinics alike. The result is increased stress on existing staff, higher turnover rates and decreased quality of care. 

Nurses make up the backbone of the healthcare industry, playing a critical role in daily operations and providing patients and their families with support that is vital for recovery. Improving retention rates in nursing staff can reduce healthcare costs and help healthcare systems ensure their patients receive the care they deserve in a few different ways. 

Higher retention rates, and therefore lower turnover rates, means that healthcare systems keep experienced nurses on staff for longer. It reduces the risk, time and expenditure associated with the recruiting and onboarding of newer, less experienced nurses. What's more, these veteran nurses are invaluable resources to team members, providing their colleagues with knowledge that can only come from being on the floor for so many years. 

Keeping nurses happy in their role not only makes them stick around longer, it can also make them better at what they do. Recent studies find that nurses who report poor wellbeing are between 31 and 62% more likely to make mistakes. Supportive workplace environments can help combat these statistics. 

 Knowing this, it’s hard to imagine a world in which nurse retention and wellbeing isn’t a priority for healthcare professionals. 

Improve Nurse Retention Rates by Supporting your Nurses

An example of signage displaying shift availability

Long shifts and mandatory overtime contribute greatly to nursing staff turnover. While your hospital system may not be able to change policies around shift duration or include every nurse in your scheduling process, you can support your nurses in other ways by offering them greater control over their shifts. Afterall retention in nursing, as in other professions, is all about keeping the employees happy and empowered.

One of many retention plans for nurses would be to use a digital signage system for displaying shift information in staff rooms and at nursing stations. A simple integration with your scheduling tool and your digital signage solution allows nurses to trade shifts with each other. Your scheduling process cannot accommodate every staff member all the time, so empower your nurses to be self-sufficient with their shift management while maintaining the schedule. This ability to choose their schedule promotes autonomy among your nurses, allows them greater flexibility, minimizes the risk of burnout and maximizes nurse retention.

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Make Recognition a Part of your Nurse Retention Programs

An example of signage congratulating a nurse on her 3 year work anniversary.

Providing recognition where it’s due goes a long way when you want to increase employee satisfaction. Nurses often feel overlooked and undervalued, especially in larger hospital systems. Luckily, digital signage offers quick and easy solutions to recognizing nurses as part of effective nurse retention programs.

Highlight work anniversaries for nurses on screens throughout your hospital. Use your digital signage to display awards your nurses have won. Patient feedback holds tremendous power, and a little “thank you” often goes a long way. Display positive patient feedback on screens in and around nursing stations as an essential component of your nursing retention plan to make sure your nurses feel appreciated. 

When nurses feel appreciated and their hard work receives recognition, you increase nursing turnover and increase nurse retention.

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How to Retain Nurses Better with Education

An example of signage promoting a continuing education opportunity.

If you support your nurses with scheduling flexibility and recognize their contributions within your health system or practice, your nurses retention strategies looks good! But you can do more by adding one more nurse retention program.. 

Employees in all sectors want to know they have room to grow. Offering your nurses easy access to continuing education, training seminars and conferences is a must have for any effective nurse retention program. Use digital signage throughout your practice or hospital to highlight these opportunities. Combine this messaging with QR codes to provide nurses with easy access to the information that interests them. A good digital signage solution provides you with feedback when nurses scan your QR codes, giving you insight into which opportunities interest them so that you can use this actionable information for improving your retention strategies for nurses.

Studies repeatedly show that employers who give their employees a voice have higher retention rates. Give your nurses the chance to provide feedback. Disseminate simple surveys via your digital signage. Nurses can interact with QR codes from their phones to provide quick responses without interrupting their day. Nurses who feel like their opinions matter to their employers report higher job satisfaction, resulting in higher nurse retention and lower turnover.

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Digital signage is a powerful tool that drives nurse retention when integrated into a larger retention strategy.

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