It’s hard to hang on to a good nurse. Especially for long term care providers. According to a 2014 report from McKnight’s, the turnover rate in long term care is a significant problem, ranging from 55% to 75%.
Why are they leaving? For lots of reasons, including lack of a strong career path, the desire for a fresher, more exciting environment, and not enough personal development. But three out of four nurses cited the effects of stress and overwork as a top health concern in a 2011 survey by the American Nurses Association.
Medscape.com comes to the same conclusion. And, they report that nursing stress is also linked to lower morale, reduced job performance, increased tardiness, absenteeism, and, ultimately to turnover. According to sources referenced by Medscape, 1 in 5 nurses intend to leave their jobs as a result of dissatisfaction, burnout, and stress.
Here are five reasons often cited for nurse stress and burnout:
- Lack of support; being left to handle things without help.
- Being pulled into too many directions; not enough staff.
- Concerns about injuring or in some way harming a resident.
- Not enough free time to re-coup energy.
- Concern about making errors in medication management.
What can long term care providers do to help turn the tide on turnover?
Here are the five strategies that healthcare and human resources experts recommend:
- Provide stronger supervisory training.
- Clearly communicate work expectations.
- Build teamwork between nurses and other staff members.
- Take the time to know everyone’s name; it makes a huge difference!
- Reduce activities spent on things other than direct resident care.
Stress and Med Passes go hand in hand.
Note #5 in both of the lists above, because there is a correlation. Medication management and administration is a time consuming activity which removes nurses from direct personal care and plunges them four times a day or more into error prone, poorly accountable, and stressful tasks that may take hours per med pass to complete. “Passing Medication” is regularly listed by nurses as one of their leading causes of burnout, which can lead to turnover and a poor facility reputation for many long term care communities. Now, note #3 in the first list above “concerns about injuring or harming a resident”. We’ve all read the tragic stories of medication errors in senior care and hospitals. It continues to be a major problem.
Thankfully, there are technologies to help. Here’s an example … the Talyst InSite System.With its advanced multi-function software and its in-facility automation of inventory control, medication management, just-in-time packaging, and instant delivery, InSite delights nurses more than any other method. Think of how Talyst InSite could turn that frazzled nurse’s day around!
Happier nurses, stronger bottom line.
Without question, great nurses are needed today more than ever, especially as we prepare for a huge influx of aging baby boomers to begin populating long term care communities. Using technology to help nurses communicate more effectively, organize their work flow, and automate mission critical tasks like meds passing, can go a long way towards reducing stress. Creating an atmosphere that reflects an appreciation and a commitment to both the professional and personal lives of your nurses can make a huge impact on your retention rate. And, in addition to hanging on to those great nurses, you’ll have a much stronger bottom line.