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Nursing News: Mentors Increase Nurse Retention

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 8th, 2012

Considering that 20% of first year nurses quit, it is more important than ever that they have a mentor for their first 6 to 12 months on the job to increase nurse retention. Equally important is for the mentor to be compensated for this extra investment of time and responsibility. Some hospitals give money, others extra days off, and one that I know of gives airline tickets!

Preceptors should be of the highest level in training, maturity, and experience and possess a willingness (and patience!) to train other nurses. They need to be knowledgeable in aspects of leadership and hospital policies and foster open communication to help the newcomer overcome fear of a new job. Checklists and competencies must be monitored by the preceptor and the education coordinator to help the new employee cover all the stated areas of the hospital policies and procedures.

Retaining these first year nurses is crucial, because training new employees due to high turnover rates is expensive for healthcare facilities. Costs include advertising and recruitment; orientation and training; and vacancy cost to fill the position temporarily with overtime.

Often the preceptor and new hire form a relationship and bond that grows over the years. The newly-hired nurse can also bring fresh ideas to the organization.

Mentoring is a great investment…everybody wins.

To learn more nurse recruitment and retention strategies and how to increase work life balance for nurses check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. After you take a look, please feel free to reach out to me directly at leann@leannthieman.com with any questions or to set up a call.

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