How to Stop Nurses from Leaving

 In Nurses Weekly

According to a 2015 study, “the number of nurses leaving the workforce each year has been growing steadily from around 40,000 in 2010 to nearly 80,000 by 2020.”

Common reasons for leaving are insufficient staffing and increased stress levels. More reasons include a hostile work environment or a milieu of low autonomy or empowerment. For graduate nurses, in particular, inaccurate job expectations or an inability to adjust to the pace of the job are possible causes.

What Interventions Work?

Interventions need to occur on multiple levels: individual, leadership and organizational. In other words, the organization as a whole needs to be committed to keeping nurses.

From a leadership level, nurse managers should be cognizant of retention trends within the country and should work closely with the organization’s human resources department. Leadership training also can provide support to the nurse manager but more research is needed to understand leadership’s role in retention efforts.

Individual levels of retention focus on the nurse graduate demographic. They need internships and residencies and the availability of a support system, such as a nurse educator. According to a 2017 analysis, “the highest retention rates were associated with retention strategies that used a preceptor program model that focused on [the] new graduate nurse.”

The challenge of retaining nurses in the workforce is still an obstacle to higher quality health care and higher nurse satisfaction. Some interventions work and strategies are most effective when implemented from several levels: organizational, leadership and individual. Not only is our nation’s health care on the line, our nursing profession is as well.

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