Ask the nursing expert: How do I reduce turnover in my new facility?

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert

I just took a position as director of nursing in a large facility with a high turnover of staff in the nursing department. This is the largest facility I have worked in and I would like to reduce the turnover rate and build a stable team. My previous facility was only 90 beds and very well established in the community. Where would you suggest that I start in renovating my new nursing department? 

Meet with your nursing leadership team first to assess strengths and weaknesses. Be very clear about your expectations as their new leader. Allow for them to professionally express their concerns. You will need their buy-in and support for any programs you put into place. They might also bring good new ideas to the table.

If not already in place on your nursing units, work with the nursing leadership to establish permanent team assignments on all shifts. Meet with the staffing coordinator to review how nursing coverage has been determined in the past. Discuss any “special” schedules, the budgeted PPD for your department, scheduling based on permanent team assignments and any other guidelines you might want to review.

You must establish a trusting and respectful relationship with those who report to you. Communicate openly, honestly, clearly and directly with all levels of staff. 

As your staff sees that you demonstrate what your expectations of them are, they will begin to follow your lead. It might take a little while and, face it, some people might never “get it,” but change will come, and for the better.

 In all things, be fair and you will clearly see a decrease in your turnover rate.  That will help create a more efficient department, and build better reputations for everyone involved.




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