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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

out the door -- and taking their expertise with them -- just when we need them most."

The new study includes seven in-depth case studies examining strategies used by health care and non-health care institutions that have received recognition for their success in retaining experienced workers, as well as findings from 13 separate research projects conducted from January 2007 to December 2008 to explore the impact of interventions aimed at retaining experienced nurses in hospitals. It is a follow-up to the groundbreaking white paper, Wisdom at Work: The Importance of the Older and Experienced Nurses in the Workplace, commissioned by RWJF in 2006.

The new "Wisdom at Work" report finds that companies that have successfully retained older workers cite the following reasons for their success: sustained commitments by corporate leadership; corporate cultures that value aging; and compensation packages that cater to older workers, offering benefits such as phased retirement options and flexible work arrangements.

"At a time when managers everywhere are looking hard at their bottom lines, the 'Wisdom at Work' evaluations demonstrate that there are ways to retain experienced nurses that ultimately are cost-effective," Hassmiller added. "With our nation's population aging and health care needs growing, we need to encourage more veteran nurses to stay in their jobs so we can benefit from the knowledge and wisdom they have gained over the years. We do that by creating better working environments for employees of all ages and experience levels."

The average direct cost to replace a full-time registered nurse at the 13 hospitals in the study totaled $36,567, a sum reflecting expenses associated with termination payouts, filling temporary vacancies, additional overtime costs, and hiring and training new staff. The loss of experienced nurses is especially costly.

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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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