Sherrie Dornberger, RN, CDONA, FACDONA Executive Director, NADONA

Staff members are showing up to work, but are wiped out so they are not really completing all of their duties with the finesse they once did. We try to hire but there are no applicants. Suggestions?

What many long-term care staff members have is PRESENTEEISM. Signs can include:

• Making more mistakes than normal

• Producing work of lowered standards

• Lower productivity

• Reduced attention to detail

• Arriving late or leaving early

• Missing lunch breaks and or working long hours

• Working while sick

• Looking tired/exhausted

Recruiting and retaining staff right now is a huge undertaking. Facilities are offering sign-on bonuses and all sorts of incentives.

It may also help to have your facility approved as a clinical site for CNA, RN and LPN programs. When they come in for a tour, ask clinical instructors to meet with students during a pre- or post-conference. Buy snacks or lunch for them, and take applications. 

If you don’t already have a nursing student category for those in an RN program, consider a different level for them than a standard CNA. Consider a clinical ladder. For instance, if staff become certified in ALS or IVs, they may climb the ladder, and perhaps get a raise or extra PTO/vacation time. 

Money is not the only incentive! Extra time off, massages and pedicure/manicures also work. Consider working with a nearby daycare to also assist staff with those needs, possibly at a reduced rate or with facility support.

Think out of the box. Ask your employees what they would like as an incentive, and let them know you care.