Members might collect information from other employers about how they distribute nurse workloads.
The committee might compare and contrast scheduling models in other health care settings and develop a unique model to meet staff needs. It could develop a process for gathering nurse input by piloting the model before implementation. Self-scheduling may even be a part of the model. The retention committee would be an excellent way to develop clinical advancement programs for your unit. Tracks for management and education can be implemented for those nurses interested in these areas.
Clinical advancement programs that provide higher salaries for expert levels of clinical expertise are an integral part of a professional work environment. Help administration develop compensation methods that reward productivity. Request that the human resources department provides a written annual update on individual compensation packages. Many nurses are unaware of how much their employers contribute to fringe benefits.
Nursing staff can discuss new competencies and skills required on your unit. Inform staff development personnel of the evolving clinical challenges nurses face as acuity levels rise. Also, include suggestions on education topics that improve the workplace, such as communication, teamwork and quality improvement.
And encourage programs that improve both work life and home life, such as stress reduction and financial management. Maintain a personal continuing education file and look at a variety of options from which to obtain offerings, such as professional journals and online courses. Nurse-physician communication and work relationships are reported as a retention issue in a number of agencies.
Many facilities have developed and implemented nurse-physician policies that outline unacceptable behavior, a process for reporting that behavior, and recourse for correcting it. Any communication or behavior that demeans another should not be tolerated in workplace interactions. Encourage employers to develop nurse council governance structures that promote nurse autonomy and allow nurses to provide input into workplace decisions.
Health care requires diverse ideas to care for our patients and provide a quality work environment. Nurses need to embrace diversity in the workplace. While we want to encourage colleagues to conform to mutually agreed-upon work and performance standards, we also should recognize individual preferences and differences.
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We need to be open-minded and willing to learn from others. And not just the skills and competencies of nursing care — we need to learn and appreciate the individual perspectives that each person brings to the job. We need to be open to exploring and understanding how colleagues perceive health care and the world differently. When diversity is discussed, the immediate thought or focus is usually ethnic background — African American, Asian, Caucasian, Latino, Native American, and so on.
Diversity is broad and includes many differences in our nursing workforce, including age, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and a number of other attributes. And what difference do differences make? They can help patients quickly identify with particular caregivers.
Diverse skill sets and expertise allow teams of nurses to provide care for a wider variety of patient needs. Think about how overwhelming it would be if the skills of only one nurse were available to care for the patient needs of an entire unit.
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Differences shape the work culture of a unit. Employ inclusive rather than exclusive practices with your colleagues. Look for opportunities to include colleagues and make them feel an integral part of the work culture. As nurses are introduced to your unit, invite them to go on break. Use the Platinum Rule instead of the Golden Rule. Treat others the way they prefer to be treated rather than treating others the way you would like to be treated. We can use similar assessment techniques that we use with our patients — ask. Watch for nonverbal cues.
When you observe that something is not quite right with a colleague, ask if something you did offended the person and how you might respond more appropriately in future interactions.
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Agree to disagree. You might decide that a political rally would be appropriate, whereas a staff meeting might not be the place or the time to express your sentiments. One is new graduates and the other is mature or experienced nurses. Retention strategies must be individualized to meet specific needs of individuals and groups. Much has been written on the challenges new nurse grads face as they move into the workplace. However, evidence is revealing that new graduates begin to integrate evidence-based practice in the six- to month period, and that can be the most difficult role adjustment time period.
Therefore, they are most likely to become disillusioned with nursing and leave six to 12 months after starting their first job. Mature nurses 50 years and older are the fastest growing segment of the nurse workforce and they can make up anywhere from one-fourth to one-half of your nursing staff. Consider work environment improvement strategies such as including larger text and fonts and improved lighting on your units. Implement lift technologies and use supply, specimen, and patient delivery services. Maximize schedule flexibility and scheduling options by incorporating compressed work schedules, flexible start and stop times and job sharing alternatives.
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