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How can Hospitals Improve Nurse Satisfaction & Retention?

Acute Care January 10, 2019

To say that nursing is a stressful career is not news. As far back as 15 years ago, nursing was ranked as the fourth most-stressful job in the country, with high turnover rates to prove it.

Those are numbers that not only impact nurses’ personal lives and livelihoods. They carry serious financial implications for the hospitals they are leaving.

The high costs of nurse turnover

According to the 2016 National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report, hospitals can lose $5.2 million to $8.1 million annually due to nurse staffing turnover.

“When nurses leave a healthcare organization, they create a vacancy that can affect the cost of operation. The vacancy is also costly to other nurses, who may have to work overtime and can experience burnout due to long hours and a high patient load,” notes a University of New Mexico study.

And with nursing vacancies taking upwards of three months to fill, according to Nursing Solutions Inc., those costs are not short lived.

Why are nurses leaving?

Sure, some nurses resign due to a move, personal issues or retirement. But two key reasons are the scope of what the job demands, and short-staffed hospital clinical teams.

“Today’s nurse does it all; you name it, nurses do it. Administer meds? Check. Assist patients with dressing, bathing, and mobility? Check. Perform bedside procedures once done by physicians? Check. Coordinate care between all disciplines of the hospital? Check. The list is endless—and that’s the problem. Nurses are responsible for so many aspects of a patient’s care that it can become overwhelming for one person to manage during a shift,” writes Nachole Johnson, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, in a recent Minority Nurse magazine article.

There are some simple steps that hospitals can take to help lower nurses’ stress, improve their morale and retain them for the long term. In this first segment of our two-part blog series, we share one way that hospitals can make their nurses’ jobs easier.

Streamline tasks

As hospitals work to engage patients in their care in ways that improve their health literacy, reduce the likelihood for a readmission, and prepare for recovery at home, patient health education has never been more important. And that task falls largely on the shoulders of the bedside nurse. Interactive patient engagement tools streamline and automate how the nurse manages the patient education process –improving hospital efficiently, while more effectively engaging each patient.

An interactive system like Sentrics’ E3 Patient Engagement Solution enables a hospital to pre-select education so that nurses aren’t tasked with that responsibility. Rather than spending time searching for appropriate content for each patient, the nurse has more availability to focus on bedside care.

In addition, once educational videos and medications education are viewed, their completion is automatically noted in the patient’s electronic health record with no nurse intervention needed. During rounds or anytime in the EMR, a nurse can see which education the patient has viewed and can determine their understanding of the information. If the patient is prescribed medications for home, E3 can automatically send the patient important safety information about each medication to help ensure the patient understand its purpose and any potential side effects.

Streamlining the patient education process helps nurses work more efficiently, adds bedside care time back into their day and lets them focus on what they do best — delivering exceptional patient care.

Watch for our next blog later this month: Two Ways to Help Retain, Engage Your Nurses

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