Health systems seeking to keep their nursing workforce should watch these factors

happy nurse
Providers can reduce nurse turnover by monitoring certain "intent to stay" factors, according to a new report. (Getty/dusanpetkovic)

Turnover among nurses is a persistent workforce problem. But there are often signs of whether or not nurses intend to stay in their jobs that health systems can use to their advantage when it comes to recruitment and retention, according to a new report.

Researchers at Press Ganey analyzed survey data from nearly 250,000 registered nurses at different ages and experience levels and identified several predictors to identify which nurses are most likely to stay in their jobs or with an organization for the long term. Among them: expected factors like job satisfaction and finding joy in work, but also adequate staffing, supportive and effective management and cohesion in work groups.

Newer nurses, they found, put greater emphasis on support and praise from managers, while their more experienced counterparts are concerned about having some level of control of their scheduling and care quality.

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“Nursing is at a critical crossroads,” Christy Dempsey, Press Ganey’s chief nursing officer, said in an announcement. “Given the critical role that nurses play in fulfilling a patient promise of safe, high-quality, patient-centered care, leaders across the healthcare enterprise must recognize the diverse needs of a multigenerational workforce and develop recruitment strategies and a nurturing culture to attract, engage and retain the best nursing talent.”

RELATED: Press Ganey: Nurse burnout varies by generation, shift

In addition to identifying certain factors that can improve retention, Press Ganey’s analysts also identified some risk factors that could point to the nurses at greatest risk for attrition. The survey data showed a link between tenure and risk, according to the report, with nurses who were in practice for between two and four years at the highest risk.

The solution to addressing this problem, according to the report, is simple—hire the right people. This means finding the correct balance between newly licensed and more experienced nurses, as hiring more young nurses solely to fill ranks can increase turnover.

Leadership, human resources and clinical teams should collaborate on hiring to find nurses who are the best possible fit for certain units and positions, the report says.

Providers should also explore ways to offer greater flexibility in scheduling and benefits to boost retention. This is especially true for younger clinicians, who more highly value the work-life balance.