Ask the nursing expert ... about dealing with workplace 'sabotage'

I have been in my director of nursing position at my new job for about three months now and I find that our turnover rate is outrageous. I interview and hire but after orientation, it is hard to keep our new hires. Any suggestions on how to improve retention?

Interview some of your recent hires and ask them how their new positions are going. Meet with some of your current staff to discuss their work needs. Sit down with HR and your education coordinator to discuss your current orientation program. Review any exit interview information you might have.

Ask the staffing coordinator about his/her routine for posting schedules and daily staffing technique. Most of your turnover issues will surface in these areas.

Once you have reviewed data, develop a QA plan to improve problem areas. If your nursing staff believes that their DON is interested in improving their work environment, improvement will be evident. When you have specific areas that need addressing and you are not sure how to proceed, let me know.

Summer vacation requests are already being submitted and as usual, there are multiple requests for vacations during the same time period. Most often, staff makes their travel plans and then request time off. I cannot honor everyone’s request. Any suggestions on how to handle this issue?

I used to put out a memo this time of year that clearly stated guidelines for vacation requests. The memo would include: notice required for requests, maximum time off per request and a strong suggestion not to make travel plans until time off is approved.

Post a calendar in the staffing office with current requests approved so that staff will see available openings.