5 Reasons why nurses leave your facility too soon

It’s no secret the nursing shortage is a growing problem that hospitals and healthcare systems continue to face.

The demand for healthcare services and providers is growing and facility administrators often struggle to find a balance between the time-consuming hiring process and ensuring that patients receive high-quality care — among a barrage of other administrative responsibilities.

The management of healthcare facility staffing can be a cumbersome task. And sometimes turnover happens much faster than leaders can maintain. In fact, nearly one in five new nurses leaves their first job within a year! According to the 2016 National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report, the average cost of turnover per bedside RN ranges from $37,700 to $58,400.

But why are these nurses leaving? Consider the following five reasons nurses leave a facility:

1. Lack of professional growth/development opportunities. Professional stagnation is one of the main reasons that nurses leave. Allowing them to feel stuck or like they’ve hit the ceiling in their career is one of the quickest ways to demotivate and disappoint. While some employers make sure their nurses have opportunities to learn and grow, others do not actively identify professional development paths, or worse yet, look at internal movement and growth in a negative light. Many employers have needs in areas across their health system. Helping your nurses look inside for new opportunities prevents you from losing their talent to the outside.

2. Lack of recognition/reward. Many nurses feel that their hard work goes unnoticed and unappreciated, leaving them disheartened and disconnected with their purpose – the reason they became a nurse in the first place. Why go above-and-beyond when management seems indifferent? The importance of putting a system in place to highlight nurses’ hard work and individual contributions is something that is often overlooked, but not hard to create.

3. Better work/life balance and dissatisfaction with workload. These go hand in hand. With the current nursing shortage, it’s common to stretch the ones you have on staff too thin – or expect them to work a lot of overtime or hard-to-fill shifts. This leaves nurses feeling exhausted, overworked and resentful. Luckily, this is easy to track and assess.

4. Better pay. Pay obviously varies by specialty and location. But, larger hospitals in metropolitan areas often offer a lower salary than those in rural areas. So the hospitals who are in dire need are looked over because a nurse is offered a higher salary somewhere else that may also be a more enjoyable commute or less demanding workload. If your facility can make it work, a raise for a high-performing nurse or a higher initial salary can go a long way for retention. If salary adjustments aren’t in the cards, think about offering other benefits that nurses find attractive such as health and wellness benefits, discounts to local retailers and on-site or near-site child care services.

5. To obtain a higher education. What does your facility offer as far as furthering nurses’ education? For many nurses, higher education will help them advance in their nursing career. The ability to work around a school schedule, or even some sort of tuition assistance, would be a great motivator to stay in their current job. This is also a great opportunity to tie back into professional development opportunities and growth.
Many of these turnover culprits are more easily preventable and fixable than you think — and you may find that making even small changes will increase your nurse retention. The fact is that getting to the root of the problem can help decrease turnover, which means more time to focus on what really matters: patient care.

April Hansen, RN, MSN, is the Vice President of Clinical Services with Aya Healthcare. April has an extensive background in critical care nursing, education and leadership in healthcare systems, the ed-tech industry and the staffing industry. April is the co-founder of a clinical management technology as well a nurse engagement mobile application and has dedicated her professional career to solving real-life workforce challenges through innovative solutions.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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