The National Center for Workforce Analysis predicts that in 2021 there will be over 800,000 unfilled nursing positions. Coupled with the need for more nurses, healthcare organizations also struggle with high RN turnover rates. This puts nursing home administrators, executive directors of senior living communities and hospital administration in the precarious position of dangerously high RN vacancy rates.
What contributes to the high turnover rate for RNs? There are plenty of reasons: stress of long hours, short staffing, and physical/mental demands. The lack of career growth opportunities is another top reason nurses say that they want a career change.
How can you better retain your RN staff?
Consider providing online and in-person training courses for those nurses who demonstrate a high standard of professionalism and clinical skills. With the support from administrators and directors, dedicated RNs can continue to maximize their skills and growth potential. If you want to eliminate the second highest reason why good employees leave the healthcare industry, you need to put yourself in their nursing clogs.
Almost nobody wants to do the same job day in, day out, year after year. Look for opportunities to promote within your own organization. Communicate openly with your staff to learn about their career goals. Then, encourage them to pursue them. Look for internal opportunities to invest in your current pool of employees with scenarios like these:
- Perhaps you have a highly qualified RN Supervisor who is skilled clinically and has excellent supervisory skills. Would they like to become an ADON (Assistant Director of Nursing) or eventually a DON? If they answered “yes,” help develop their skills with a career plan.
- Do you have a nurse on staff who is interested in taking the Nursing Home Infection Preventionist Training Course? There is a free online course designed for those who are responsible for infection prevention and control (IPC) programs in nursing homes. By training staff members in IPCP, not only are you growing their skillset, you are also benefitting the residents of your community.
- Do you have an exceptional Director of Sales and Marketing? Are they interested in career growth and eventually moving to a regional role? Consider investing in leadership and sales training to help them move up the career ladder.
- Do you have an MDS Coordinator who would like to take their career to the next level? Consider having them take the RAC-CT certification. This program “ensures your knowledge of clinical assessment and care planning, completion of the MDS, and the regulatory body surrounding the RAI/MDS process.”
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Many organizations like the American Health Care Association and Argentum provide training opportunities including certifications and online training courses. Check out their resources for more ideas.
If you manage to have a good nurse or healthcare worker on staff, reward them. Your team is already aware of the daily ins and outs of your nursing home, senior living community or hospital, so promoting from within makes good business sense.
When new hires realize that their career development is taken seriously, they are less likely to look for work elsewhere. Not only will your retention rates improve, but once word gets out that you truly care about professional development, you will be the “go to” healthcare organization where everybody wants to work.