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Nursing Staff Retention and the Work Environment

Work Environment Key to Controlling Nursing Costs

Evidence suggests that a positive and healthy work environment creates better staff satisfaction, better staff retention, improved patient outcomes, and better staff performance. The Nursing Organizations Alliance issued a joint position statement that identified the following nine workplace elements for establishing a healthful practice environment:

  • A collaborative practice culture
  • A communication rich culture
  • A culture of accountability
  • The presence of adequate numbers of qualified nurses
  • The presence of expert, competent, credible, visible leadership
  • Shared decision making at all levels
  • The encouragement of professional practice & continued growth/development
  • Recognition of the value of nursing’s contribution
  • Recognition by nurses for the their meaningful contributions to practice

A goal for hospitals should be to work toward achievement of Magnet status through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program.® Developed by nurses, the Magnet status is considered to be the gold standard in nursing for hospitals who have built a professional practice environment that supports the work of nurses. Cultivating the right work environment is critical to improving nurse retention, reducing labor costs and creating better patient outcomes. Achieving a superior work environment requires timely performance feedback, equitable compensation, learning opportunities, career development, opportunities for advancement and supportive leadership.

Developing comprehensive talent management strategies and implementing workforce planning systems is a key element for healthcare organizations who want to retain key staff, stay competitive, improve patient outcomes and increase staff satisfaction. Integrated solutions are available to healthcare organizations of all sizes for modest costs and should be considered a crucial element of any strategic business plan.

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