Offer volunteer overtime, mentors to retain nurses

With staff shortages and an influx of 16 million insured patients on the horizon, retaining high-quality nurses is vital to keeping up with the increasing demand for care. Although there is no one strategy to keep nurses at your hospital, a new study published in the Journal of Nursing (JAN) found that offering more hours of voluntary overtime can help decrease turnover.

This study analyzed data from 1,653 newly registered nurses working in hospitals in January of 2006 and 2007.

Central Regional Health Authority (RHA) in Manitoba, Canada, has shown these findings to be fairly accurate, as nurses have taken on overtime work to fill vacant shifts.

"Without them working overtime and things like that, we'd be in a much worse situation. But that being said, we don't want them working overtime forever either," Jim Hunter, RHA Vice President Human Resources told the Portage Daily Graphic.

Hospitals should take note of other strategies RHA has used to retain its nursing staff, especially new graduate nurses, who are prone to high turnover rates. For example, RHA recently hired a nurse development retention officer to mentor the new grads, offering counseling and advice.

It also has enhanced training in its own region with new nursing education programs at local colleges. The hope is that local training will entice newly registered nurses to stay in the area--added motivation for hospitals to create or improve dedicated nursing education departments.

For more:
- check out the JAN study abstract
- read the Portage Daily Graphic article