Nurse Retention: Highest Nurse Turnover in Long Term Care

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, October 23rd, 2014

The turnover rate for long-term care nurses is much higher than the national average, increasing the need to improve nurse retention strategies and self care in this important field.

While it is known that long-term care sees high turnover rates, the hard numbers show just how serious the issue is, said Frederick Morgeson, Ph.D., of Michigan State University. The national turnover rate for all professions is about 4.5 years, while the rate for registered nurses in long-term care is about one year. Organizations with 150 nurses could face between $1.25 million to $2 million a year in the costs of losing nurses!

caring for elderlyLTC operators can begin to improve retention by adjusting their recruitment, selection and on-boarding of workers.

Recruitment messages should show opportunities for career advancement, the lack of which is often cited as a source of dissatisfaction, according to Morgeson. However, if a provider cannot actually deliver on this promise, the company is likely to attract and hire an applicant who will be unhappy and leave.

LTC operators should analyze their recruitment sources and depend on those that produce dedicated workers. Employee referrals often lead to high-quality hires, and they should also reach out to previous employees who left on good terms. Morgeson said research has shown these “boomerang employees” return with accurate expectations and institutional knowledge, which contribute to retention.

In selecting a candidate, providers should consider work attitudes and personality traits associated with workers likely to stay on the job. These include conscientiousness and emotional stability. Interviewers should ask applicants to describe how they responded in a crisis situation to gauge emotional stability.

To learn more about my program that improves nurse retention and nurse recruitment, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss this program that teaches your nurses to care for themselves so they can care for others.

One response to “Nurse Retention: Highest Nurse Turnover in Long Term Care”

  1. Nurses notice the obvious: poor pay, staffing, work conditions, and prestige. Ridiculous and stifling documentation. A culture entirely focused on blame and punishment, without any systems improvements. Given current conditions they come in mostly when they must, and leave as soon as possible. Substantive changes are the only solution. I’m in geriatrics and wouldn’t dream of SNF work.

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