A Guide to Reducing Staff Turnover and Improving Staff Wellness in Long-Term Care Facilities

Reducing Staff Turnover and Improving Wellness in Care Facilities

The healthcare industry is experiencing a turnover crisis. Learn more in this guide to reducing staff turnover and improving staff wellness in long-term care facilities

Retaining good nurses is an ongoing problem for senior living facilities. The turnover crisis was serious before the pandemic hit, and it continues to grow.

When there aren’t enough nurses, the rest of the staff is overworked and stretched thinly. This is bad for the staff, bad for business, and even worse for the residents.

Facilities that retain a quality nursing staff provide better care to their residents and peace of mind to their family members. A focus on improving nurse staff wellness and providing ongoing education can help in reducing older adults’ nursing staff turnover.

Here’s a look at some strategies for meeting the needs of your nursing staff.

Start With the Hiring Process

The first step for retaining nurses is to remember they are in high demand. A strong onboarding and orientation process is necessary.

Make sure job descriptions are updated and realistic. Do not wait for vacancies.

Line up quality talent ahead of time. Look for someone who wants a long-term position and has the dedication and physical abilities to handle the demands of the job.

Check references and do a thorough background check. Make sure they understand the company’s values and their unique role in the organization.

Make them feel welcome, supported, and valued from day one.

Allow a potential hire to shadow a seasoned staff person around for a shift.  The last thing anyone wants is to go through the time and expense of recruiting and training a nurse, only to find they were not prepared for the job.  No one wins when a nurse leaves because they didn’t understand the job they were actually being hired to do.

Offer a Competitive Salary and Benefits

The pay for senior care nurses is often lower than in other medical specialties. This is one reason senior care employees are often looking for something better.

You want to attract nurses looking for long-term employment. Offering a competitive wage, performance-based bonuses, decent benefits, and regular paid time off is a huge incentive for nurses.

Competitive pay and good benefits attract good nurses. This can have a significant effect on morale and boost chances for retaining quality nursing staff.

Get creative with benefits.  For instance, a cell phone allowance can amount to a small yearly cost, but can pay big dividends in the areas of appreciation, recognition and ultimately, retention. 

Implement Fair Scheduling

Once you’ve hired a quality team, it’s important to keep them. Beyond a fair salary and competitive benefits, you must consider workload and scheduling.

Nurses who feel their employer respects them and considers their needs are more likely to stay in their position longer. Although you cannot guarantee all schedule requests, do your best to allow people to request the shifts most desirable to them.

Offering flexible schedules and promoting a healthy work-life balance shows you care about your nursing staff and their health.

Provide Advancement Opportunities

Investing in your staff is an investment in the company and the residents, as well. When staff members see there’s a ladder for advancement and salary increases, it’s a strong incentive to stay.

Career development and ongoing education boost employees’ skills, as well as their confidence. It provides an avenue for continual improvement, which benefits staff and residents alike.

A highly trained nursing staff is a valuable asset. Providing a path for advancement is a way to retain quality staff for the long-term and show them you value their skills and talents.

Enlist the Help of Technology  

No matter the experience level, everyone can learn and improve their skill set. Identify areas that need improvement and ask your employees what they need as well.

Ongoing education that reinforces the company’s goals and mission helps employees feel empowered and connected to their workplace. Training through technology is cost-effective and user-friendly.

Technology enables nurses to train at convenient times without sacrificing patient care. Dedicated nurses are willing to learn and eager to improve resident care.

When nurses feel they have the training, skills and tools they need to provide quality care, it’s one more incentive for them to stay.

Promote Structured Mentorship

Nurses and CNA’s need support. One of the most important ways to retain quality staff is to provide a support network from day one.

A mentorship program is critical for new hires and provides a source for advice and a sounding board when they need it. Putting a new employee to work in an eldercare facility without any support is a recipe for disaster.

Without support, nurses may become overwhelmed with the unique struggles of eldercare. Ongoing support is critical for job satisfaction and staff wellness for those caring for and engaging with older adults..

Share in Decision Making

Nurses care about the continuity and quality of healthcare they’re able to provide. And most nurses want a voice in best practices.

Involving the staff in decision-making allows them to voice their feelings and concerns about what matters to them. When nurses feel their voice is valued, it fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment.

Provide opportunities for nurses to share their input on policy decisions and resident care. The more invested they feel in their profession, the more likely they are to stay.  

Lead by Example

The level of support from administrators is a huge factor in retaining nursing staff. Effective leaders understand this, value their employees, and lead by example.

Some qualities of successful healthcare administrators include:

  • A proactive approach
  • An open-door policy for staff members
  • An emphasis on ongoing education and training
  • Concern for employee wellbeing and job satisfaction
  • Appreciation and respect for all staff members

When nurses respect their administrators, they have more job satisfaction and more incentive to stay on the job.

Establish a Close-Knit Team

When employees feel a sense of connectedness, they feel as though they have a family at work. This makes work a more welcome place to come each day.

Creating a family atmosphere is a great way to make your employees happy and keep them around. Investing in training, career advancement, mentorship, and employee empowerment is key to retaining excellent staff members.

Team building and opportunities for socializing among employees promote a close-knit team. This increases job satisfaction and a sense of belonging that promotes long-term retention.

Value a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy employees make for happy employees. Wellness perks can be a big incentive for employees. 

Providing a place or the opportunity for employees to exercise or engage in team sports promotes a sense of wellness. When you take measures to reduce workplace stress and address mental health concerns, you show employees you care about their wellbeing.

Promoting a healthy work-life balance is good for boosting morale and reducing nursing staff turnover.

Reducing Older Adults’ Nursing Staff Turnover

The demand for nurses is high and is only expected to grow. This makes it harder for long-term care facilities to attract and retain quality nurses.

If you expect nurses to provide quality care, you must also take care of your nurses. There’s no one solution for reducing older adults’ nursing staff turnover.

Instead, there are many ways you can support and nurture your nursing staff. Make a concerted effort to train, mentor, and reward them. This helps to increase job satisfaction and retain excellent nurses for years to come.  

Engage With provides interactive training with a focus on providing skilled nurses with the necessary skills training to confidently care for and engage with residents in long-term care facilities. Our Older Adults Skills Training program has been proven to reduce staff turnover by up to 40% in long-term care facilities. Contact us to learn more.


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