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5 Ways to Reduce Nursing Turnover in Year One

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 7, 2011

5. Track and measure criteria that to drive accountability.

Successful systems use metrics to drive retention. One system tracks data on turnover, engagement, and patient satisfaction on a unit level, and will intervene for units that do not meet the metrics. Another system measures key performance indicators that reflect retention, such as patient satisfaction. Managers select indicators each year, and attainment is tied to a bonus-sharing program.  

Patel says accountability is a common theme for all hospitals with high retention rates. "There is a drive to be measurement oriented," she says. "Management owns this. They believe that their management is a huge contributing force toward retaining talent."

Obviously, different hospitals face different challenges, but Patel says good management has been shown to overcome outside pressures beyond the hospital walls. "I talked to organizations – and not just in healthcare – where there is high turnover versus those who have a low turnover and you can definitely tell there is a difference between the programs," she says. "The way they speak about their programs, the depth of their programs and how they manage the new hires, there is a difference."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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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.