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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

n the "Wisdom at Work" study offer suggestions to help health care systems address the issue. Although no single initiative lowered turnover rates at all of the health care organizations evaluated in the study, several hospitals and medical centers improved nurse retention rates with programs that met nursing needs at their individual institutions. In one example, Carondelet Health Network in Arizona improved retention by offering an on-site BSN education program that nurses requested when asked what the health network could do to retain them. Later, it signed an exclusive contract with Grand Canyon University to offer its nurses an MSN program, offered on a part-time schedule over 25 months. "How could I leave Carondelet after they have given me this opportunity?" one nurse asked.

The "Wisdom at Work" in-depth case studies of recognized top performing companies identified among the reasons for their success: a sustained commitment by company leaders to retain older workers; corporate cultures that value the experience of older employees; ongoing data collection and analysis to address concerns of senior employees; opportunities for older employees to transfer to less demanding roles; compensation packages that reward longevity; and benefits catering to older employees such as phased retirement options, flexible work arrangements and opportunities to receive in-home care for parents and spouses.

The strong practices at these companies include:

  • building a "culture of aging" at Bon Secours health system in Richmond, Va. with flexible work and retirement arrangements, mentoring, and ergonomic programs;
  • a "snow bird" program at Carondelet Health Network in Tucson, Ariz. that makes it easier for Carondelet to offer temporary RN assignments to licensed nurses from other Nurse Licensure Compact states; and
  • comprehensive retention programs at Scripps Health in San Diego th
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SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
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