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Nurse Recognition = Nurse Retention

By Chris Nichols

Nurse Recognition is more important than ever

Understaffed. Overworked. Lack of proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Morale busting, overpaid travelers. Impatient providers. Today, nurses need support and recognition more than ever before.

“We all want to be recognized for our good work, from frontline staff to nursing leaders,” said Anne Jessie, DNP, RN, president-elect of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) and senior director of clinical operations at Evolent Health in Roanoke, Va.

Value your nurses now, before someone else does

Nurse retention begins and ends with nurse engagement according to Deena Gilland, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, national director of AAACN and vice president and CNO at Emory Ambulatory Patient Services Operations at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.

“If nurses are engaged, they’re involved in the mission, their role and how their role is optimized and appreciated,” Gilland said. “Nurses work tirelessly and not always in the limelight. Focusing on meaningful, intentional recognition for individual nurses and groups is imperative.”

What works for recognition?

Having both formal and informal opportunities for recognition is highly important.

“Some nurses appreciate public recognition, while others prefer a private pat on the back by their supervisor,” she said. “Effective recognition needs to be individualized for the person you want to recognize.”

Acknowledging good teamwork is important, too. “Recognizing an entire team for standing up a COVID-19 testing site in 24 hours or establishing a telephone triage line, rewards the whole team for doing an outstanding job on a new and urgent workflow process,” Jessie said.

Both Gilland and Jesse shared the following examples of structured, system-wide and formal nurse recognition methods for a job well done:

  • The DAISY Award 
  • Formal Dinners
  • Plaques
  • Certificates
  • Gift cards (monetary awards)
  • "Wow" wall or centrally located wall (or board) of honor
  • Staff newsletter announcements
  • Scholarships
  • Tuition reimbursement

Three examples of informal awards during this crisis include a spontaneous celebration when a COVID-19 patient is discharged from the ICU or hospital, providing lunch for staff, and staff huddles as an opportunity to recognize good work.

Our own Dan Wood, a former skilled nursing operator, says that one-to-one relationships are just as important as ever. “Connecting with your nurses, with empathy and respect, remains a tried and true engagement technique, Wood says. Many nurse managers spend more time interviewing candidates than they do meeting with their team regularly to understand their needs," 

Nurses are the difference makers

Nurses are the backbone to a healthcare system’s patient satisfaction reports. Many patients and family members primary engagements with care providers is with nurses. Set goals for patient satisfaction goals and be sure to have these results posted in areas where they can be seen and celebrated.

In your healthcare system, nurses serve as your greatest opportunity. How they treat one another, their patients, and their peers will ultimately determine your ability to attract patients and to recruit nurses over time.

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endevis has evolved into a national talent & workforce solutions provider with offices throughout the nation. With a focus on healthcare, engineering, and IT staffing, the organization has won a handful of awards across its Professional Direct Placement, Professional Contract Staffing, and Recruitment Process Outsourcing Solutions. For more information, please email ROI@endevis.com.

Tags: Human Resources, COVID-19, Nursing