Tips to Confront Challenges Faced by Nurse Leaders

Tips to Confront Challenges Faced by Nurse Leaders

Certain challenges face every nurse executive. Issues like staff retention, recruiting nursing staff and keeping nurses engaged are often top of mind for nurse leaders, who rely upon nurses to help their hospitals run smoothly and efficiently and provide the best possible patient care.

What can you as a leader do to confront some of these typical challenges? Here are a few tips to decrease turnover, increase retention and continue to provide quality patient care, despite limited resources and other issues.

Tip #1: Address Staffing and Nurse Retention Challenges

Nursing turnover is associated with insufficient staffing levels, which lead to job dissatisfaction and nurse burnout (and increased risk for medical errors). A 2017 HealthLeaders Media Nursing Excellence Survey shares that the longer the shift length, the more likely that a facility has nurse retention as a top challenge.

View our blog post for strategies to reduce nursing turnover, including reducing overtime, developing shared governance programs to give nurses a voice in topics such as scheduling and workflows, encouraging a workplace culture of collaboration between nurses and physicians and more.

Tip #2: Help Nurses Avoid Burnout

Especially in the age of coronavirus, nurses are often overworked and stressed. The demands put upon nurses are higher than ever. HealthLeaders Media offers three excellent strategies for combating nurse burnout during the pandemic and always:

  1. Create coaching and mentoring programs. Nurses need support always and these types of programs can be very effective in helping growing nurses feel heard and supported. In addition, such programs allow them to build important aptitudes such as communication and delegation skills.
  2. Increase communications with staff. Even 10-minute check-in meetings at the start or end of shifts can make a tremendous difference in helping nurses feel like they have an outlet to share concerns.
  3. Incorporate frontline nurses in decision-making. These nurses know the barriers to care and are in the best position to offer solutions.

Tip #3: Ensure Staff is Trained on Technology

By now your hospital has probably embraced an Electronic Health Records system, but it’s critical that your staff is using it and up-to-date on best practices. Make sure your hospital or facility is committed to helping nurses adopt technology successfully and stay updated on changing regulations and standards. This allows nurses more time to focus on what really matters: caring for patients.

Tip #4: Maintain a Culture of Engagement

Nurses who feel empowered are happier and more effective as caregivers. When nurses are engaged in their jobs, their patients also win: research published by Gallup indicates that the level of nursing engagement at a facility is a reliable predictor of mortality and complication rates.

Encourage your nurses to speak up about practices that drive patient well-being and satisfaction. Let them know that their voices matter and are essential in making your hospital or facility a great place to work and an excellent source of patient care. Read our blog post on the essence of empowerment and instilling confidence into nurses.

Last but Not Least: Foster a Safe Working Environment

The workplace should be a supportive, safe environment. Make sure you address any issues that can hinder that, such as nurse bullying that threatens patient and nurse safety, intergenerational conflict among nurses from different generations or backgrounds, interdisciplinary conflict, and more. There are many excellent ways to reduce conflict and cultivate a positive workplace culture. Read more about confliction resolution in nursing on our blog.

American Sentinel’s online MSN, Nursing Leadership and Organizational Management and DNP Executive Leadership degree programs are designed for experienced nurse professionals who seek to develop management and leadership skills. Through case studies and hands-on course work, nurses examine the various human resource challenges facing an organization as well as the dynamic nature of the strategic planning and management processes. Learn more today by attending an Open House.

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