The Ultimate nurse retention strategy


Steven Mostyn


Chairman & CEO of Alpha Recruitment. Top Expert and Best-Selling Author in ★ Recruiting ★ Job-Hunting

The Ultimate nurse retention strategy

One of the best nurse recruitment strategies is actually not a nurse recruitment strategy but is to have an elite retention strategy. If a hospital system can improve retention of their nurse by 10%, they will have 10% less recruitment needs for their hospitals.

The following article will give you the ultimate retention strategy and if applied should improve your nurse retention rates. 

Where does the buck stop? 

I have seen some hospitals where a blame game is usually put on HR and Nurse recruiters as the reason for terrible retention rates. The truth is HR and recruiters have a small part in nurse retention but rather nurse leadership and the C-Suite.  

Does your health system reward high nurse retention? 

With many hospitals having very poor nurse retention rates it is surprising that very few hospitals C-suite and nurse leaders have bonus and other incentives tied to retention. The bottom line is if your own job and your ability to make bonuses is on the line believe me you will have more emphasis on retention.

From Charge Nurse to CEO  

All stakeholders must have a reward for having low retention rates. To start off Charge Nurses or Nurse Managers who usually do not have bonuses tied to retention either should receive a bonus for having good retention numbers. Or have promotional opportunities increased based on retention. Also underperforming retention numbers should impact the jobs of charge and nurse managers who have track records of having high turnover in their units. 

At the next level the nurse directors’ bonus and promotional ability again must be tied to how well their overall retention is. Again, a long track record of high turnover may be a sign to replace your nurse directors.

CNO obviously must have solid retention numbers and should be accountable if high turnover is found in their hospital units. Again bonus, promotion and job security should be based on retention numbers. 

Finally, hospital CEO’s and other C-suite must have accountability for high turnover of nurses and their ability to make bonus, be promoted and their very own job security must be affected by retention numbers.

Basically, the CEO ensures CNO is doing their job with retention followed by CNO on Nurse Directors who then ensure nurse managers are doing a good retention job. Finally nurse managers ensure charge nurses are doing their part in terms of retention.  This high-level accountability ensures there is no retention cracks as everyone is involved and held accountable 

I guarantee 100% that if someone’s own job is on the line and their ability to be promoted is affected by nurse retention all of a sudden you will see huge improvements.

Hiring good healthcare leaders are a must

Many times, healthcare leaders who may not be the best leaders are hired more for having a type A personality rather than their ability to lead. Hiring healthcare leaders who can coach, and mentor staff is a crucial way to ensure a low turnover of nurses.

Training Nurse leaders on retention skills 

It is one thing to tell nurse leaders that they must have great retention numbers, but it is another thing to train them in retention techniques. For this please see my article I wrote on the topic:  Top 10 nurse retention strategies – 

I hope you found this article valuable in your quest to improve your hospitals nurse retention numbers 

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