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New Study Identifies Strategies to Retain Experienced Nurses as Nursing Shortage Looms & Nation's Health Care Needs Grow
Date:7/29/2009

Improving Morale, Utilizing Innovative Staffing Approaches among Keys to Success

PRINCETON, N.J., July 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Experienced nurses provide quick and accurate assessments of patient health and well-being, mentor less experienced staff, maintain institutional memory, and perform numerous other vital functions. As the population ages, creating a greater demand for hospital care, retaining veteran nurses will be even more critical. But today's nursing workforce is also aging, and numerous surveys find that more than half of today's employed nurses plan to retire in the next 15 to 20 years. There are solutions; hospitals, medical centers and other health care organizations can initiate activities that help to keep more veteran nurses at patient bedsides, according to a new study supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and coordinated by The Lewin Group.

The study, "Wisdom at Work: Retaining Experienced Nurses," finds that a number of health care organizations lowered turnover rates among experienced nurses by making a concerted effort to improve nurse morale and productivity. Successful strategies included innovative approaches to staffing; employee health and wellness programs; and training and development opportunities for veteran nurses. Ergonomic initiatives, such as teams and equipment to help nurses lift patients and other heavy items, did not contribute to an overall drop in turnover among experienced nurses; however, they did improve morale and cut expenses associated with work-related injuries, the study finds.

"We know that there is no quick fix to the crisis in health care," said Susan B. Hassmiller, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., RWJF Senior Advisor for Nursing. "But the approaches explored in our 'Wisdom at Work' initiative are pieces of a larger puzzle that will help health care organizations keep experienced nurses from walking
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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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