Hospitals are losing nurses at an alarming rate. In fact, it’s been estimated that 33.5% of new RNs leave the bedside within the first two years. All of that turnover can affect patient care and satisfaction, and has a significant impact on a hospital’s operating expenses. The average cost of turnover for just one bedside RN ranges from $37,700 to $58,400. A recent Healthcare RN Retention study found that each percent increase in RN turnover costs the average hospital $373,200.
In this second part of our two-part blog series on nurse retention, we share two ways that hospitals can start bending the curve on nurse turnover.
Reduce Nurse Call Fatigue
A typical nurse does much more than provide bedside care to patients. In the course of a 12-hour shift, one might be answering patient calls to adjust the room temperature, or be tasked with getting food ordered for a patient’s guest, in addition to tracking the patient’s recovery. As their time to perform the job they were trained for – clinical patient care – gets squeezed by nonclinical requests, nurses get frustrated and burned out, and patient care and satisfaction can suffer.
Simplifying workflows to take nurses out of playing middleman to field patient requests to other departments is key. An interactive patient engagement system does just that. For example, Allen’s E3 Patient Engagement Solution lets patients and guests order food through their patient room smart TV, with the order sent directly to the food service department. When they want to change room temperature or lower the window blinds, the patient can simply use their pillow speaker and TV to make those adjustments automatically. This not only lowers nurse interruption but can also improve patient satisfaction, safety and reduce falls.
The Allen system integrates with hospital HVAC systems, cutting down on calls to nurses for those requests. One California hospital found that over a one-year period, its patients used the E3 system 123,000 times to adjust their room temperature. That translates to 337 patient requests each day which are no longer pulling staff away from their primary duties. There’s a financial bonus as well, by the way: the hospital saved more than $101,000 in the past year alone, from the energy savings feature integrations with Allen.
Factor in fewer calls to staff for dining menus or for blankets, or for other comfort requests made possible by an E3 Solution, and the positive impact to nurses’ workload is clear. The solution is a win-win: nurses are less burdened by non-critical, non-clinical tasks and can be more productive as clinicians. And patient requests can be handled faster and more efficiently, improving the patient’s overall experience.
Applaud Great Nurses
We all like to be recognized for our good work, and nurses are no different. Numerous industry studies have shown the powerful positives that come from offering nurses meaningful recognition for their work. When one New York hospital turned to the Allen E3 system to offer patients an easy, fast way to recognize its staff, the results were impressive. The number of times patient recognized nurses jumped by an astounding 470 percent over the previous paper-based process. And the payoff was evident in employee – and patient – satisfaction metrics. Its annual employee satisfaction ratings saw an immediate increase, as did HCAHPS scores. As one employee noted, “It is so wonderful to be recognized by patients and co-workers, it gives employees the inspiration to do even more.”