Addressing the Nurse Shortage: 5 Tips for Attracting and Retaining Nurses

Creative Compensation  To help fill these positions, Duke offers a comprehensive compensation package for incoming RNs. That comprehensive compensation package is in addition to other incentives for recruitment, such as tuition reimbursement and loan repayment programs.  Additionally, Duke pays for staff to go to work-related conferences and pays a bonus if employees want to get certified in a nursing specialty. Through Duke's clinical ladder program, nurses also can advance to levels with higher compensation based on experience and expertise in leading different projects. So a nurse coming into the organization is able to earn 11 percent above their base salary on the clinical ladder. 

Simplify the Application Process  Each day, two recruiters (Children's has 10 on staff) cull through the video submissions and forward each submission to the recruiter with a position suitable for that particular candidate. For example, if a nurse submits a video, it will be sent to the nurse recruiter. Someone interested in working in the cafeteria will be passed on to the recruiter hiring for food services.   Weaver says candidates usually hear back from a recruiter within one to two days and are told one of the following responses: "'Here's a job we think you're a great fit for; apply for this job today;' or 'Can we keep you in mind and call you when we do have something?'" she says. 

Implementing Residency Programs  “Residency programs are not new to the hospital scene, but it’s been a rare experience for us to bring on a new grad [and] get them trained and ready to work,” Swierkowski said. 

Build Recognition and Development  "The predictors of intent to stay for nurses who had been practicing less than two years were things like praise, recognition, nurse manager support, certification, and joy in work," says Dempsey. "For those who've been practicing for more than 20 years, [intent to stay] was about leadership, influence over their schedule, and quality of care."  Additionally, the study found "career development, workgroup cohesion, RN-to-RN consults, and missed care were less influential on intent to stay among the new nurses than on the experienced ones." 

Promoting Diversity  By implementing a model where student nurses embrace and encourage cultural awareness, student retention and satisfaction improves. Creating an engaging model that embraces cultural diversity is imperative to minimize student attrition. When student nurses support each other, it enhances the outlook for the entire nursing profession. 

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