How to Retain Bedside Nurses: Strategies for Success

Jun 18 / Teresa Sanderson, RN, CCM
Empty space, drag to resize
Retaining bedside nurses is a top priority in the current healthcare environment. As the backbone of healthcare, nurses play a vital role in ensuring the delivery of quality patient care. However, with high turnover rates, short staffing, and new nurses leaving the profession, it's time to take a closer look at what can be done to retain experienced nurses who continue to serve and fill essential roles, even during challenging times.

Stay Interviews

One effective strategy for retaining bedside nurses is conducting stay interviews. These interviews provide an opportunity for leadership to converse with experienced nurses, understand what keeps them in their roles, and identify potential factors that could lead to their departure. By listening to their opinions and making them feel valued, organizations can gather valuable insights and take proactive steps to address any concerns.

Flexible Scheduling Options

Another way to retain bedside nurses is by offering flexible scheduling options. This may include job sharing, self-scheduling, or other innovative approaches that deviate from traditional scheduling systems. By thinking outside the box and involving nurses in the brainstorming process, organizations can create schedules that better accommodate the needs of their nursing staff, leading to increased job satisfaction and retention.

Wellness Programs and Mental Health Support

Promoting nurse wellness and mental health is crucial for retaining bedside nurses. However, it's not enough to simply talk about it or create designated relaxation spaces. Organizations must ensure that nurses have the opportunity to take lunch breaks and provide them with the necessary time management skills and workflow adjustments to support their well-being. Additionally, offering reasonable accommodations and benefits that allow nurses to take time off for mental health without affecting their attendance records can go a long way in retaining experienced nurses.

Emotional Intelligence and Personality Science Training

Incorporating emotional intelligence and personality science training into nursing education and professional development can also contribute to nurse retention. By utilizing values-based personality assessments, organizations can identify the strengths of their nursing staff and foster better communication and understanding among team members. This approach helps cultivate a positive nursing culture where differences are embraced, and nurses feel valued and supported.

The Cost of Nurse Turnover

It's important to note that the cost of replacing a nurse is significant, averaging around $56,000, with a median length of time of 85 to 109 days to fill the position. By investing in strategies to retain experienced nurses, organizations can ensure continuity in patient care, maintain a safe and effective nursing workforce, and ultimately save on the costs associated with nurse turnover.

Join the Nurses Feed Their Young Community

To support nurses at all levels and promote a culture where nurses feed their young, the Nurses Feed Their Young community membership is now live. This platform provides unique forums for nursing leaders, specialty nurses, and those seeking burnout recovery support to connect and access valuable resources. By joining forces and daring to do nursing differently, we can create a stronger, more resilient nursing profession.

Retaining bedside nurses requires a multifaceted approach that prioritizes their well-being, professional development, and job satisfaction. By implementing strategies such as stay interviews, flexible scheduling options, wellness programs, mental health support, and emotional intelligence training, healthcare organizations can create a supportive environment that encourages experienced nurses to continue their vital work at the bedside.