4. Bullying and toxic behavior
Bored of hearing about this topic? So am I. So are nurses. Nothing makes nurses want to walk out the door more than toxic colleagues—whether physicians, nurses, or anyone else—who are allowed to behave badly.
It's not enough to have a zero-tolerance policy. Enforce it. Preach it. Talk about the importance of respectful behavior. Explain expectations, not just at orientation but at multiple times through the year. Send information via emails, hold continuing education classes, and have the topic as a standing item on meeting agendas.
Give managers the tools to confront problem employees and back them up when they do. Have a plan in place to educate offenders. If the behavior continues after that, fire them. Support managers through this work. Nurses would rather work a nurse short than keep a disruptive employee who sabotages the morale and cohesiveness of the others.
You've heard it before: People don't leave companies, they leave managers. Yet hospitals still don't pay enough attention to leadership skills for nurse managers. Bad nurse managers who don't know how to lead are retention nightmares. Skilled managers are retention magnets.
Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at email@example.com.