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5 Ways to Reduce Nursing Turnover in Year One

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 7, 2011

"With this economy, what we have experienced is a nurse gets an offer they are going to take it. But if there is a lot of competition in the area, they are going to take the job to get the experience and then jump at the next best offer," Patel says.

PwC Saratoga found that first-year nursing turnover can run as high as 60% in some of the 40 healthcare systems that participate in its Human Capital Effectiveness Benchmarking Report. The median first-year turnover was 17.1% for the report's "best practices" health systems, and PwC Saratoga interviewed them to find a common theme for their relatively successful nurse retention.

Here's what they found:

1. Schedule competency-based interview processes/selection testing that includes cultural fit.

Best practice hospitals use competency-based interviews/selection testing based on a standard set of questions to identify qualities and skills. One system grades "B" or "C" level candidates for certain roles but must hire only "A" candidates for others. These systems have found a correlation between those who meet the requirements of the upfront selection process and lower turnover.

Successful health systems also are increasingly aware of the importance of creating a good fit along cultural and ethical lines. The candidate assessment includes behavioral questions and bringing other nurses in for a team interview. One system job shadows during the interview to give candidates a firsthand view of the work environment and culture.

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6 comments on "5 Ways to Reduce Nursing Turnover in Year One"


vdutton (3/4/2011 at 2:53 PM)
This is just more Hogwash! - The main problem with retaining nurses, patient safety, drug errors and nurses leaving the bedside (Hospitals do not hire enough nurses to safely take care of the patients)Hospitals are the biggest obstacle to improved healthcare.

Beth Boynton, RN, MS (2/12/2011 at 12:51 PM)
Great article! I especially like that you are including "employee feedback" in #3. I would add, "look for ways to invite and integrate input from staff for any problem solvin". It increases buy-in, role models collaboration, increases creative options, enhances outcome success, and builds assertiveness! Beth Boynton, RN, MS, author of "Confident Voices: The Nurses' Guide to Improving Communication & Creating Positive Workplaces"

Christina M. Guillen-Cook, MBA,BS, RN (2/8/2011 at 5:40 PM)
The key point that was not mentioned, was how hospital administrators[INVALID]managers, directors, CNOs, CEOs, etc.[INVALID]need to actually engage in practices that let nurses know how valued and respected all nurses are, new and seasoned, if they want to retain them. As I nurse of over 30 years, I continue to witness the chronic mismanagement of our profession. What nursing needs is actual leaders. Leaders who care about each other and the profession. Leaders who advocate for the profession. Leaders who can inspire and bring out the best in all nurses. I'm tired of nursing managers who cares only about themselves, their next job or the next rung on the professinal ladder. The current behavior among to many nursing managers is killing our profession. We need nurses who care about the profession, nurses and can advocate for our value in the workplace. Until we have that kind of leadership, we will continue to have nursing leave the profession and who can blame them.