Poor nurse retention has plagued the hospital industry for many decades. As the years pass, the concern of retention remains costly and harmful to hospitals and patients alike. At a national average RN turnover rate of 17.1% year after year, healthcare holds the dubious distinction for having one of the highest turnover rates among all industries.
The trend doesn’t come without a cost to hospitals’ bottom line. The average cost of nurse turnover ranges from $37,700 to $58,400. Hospitals can easily spend $5 million per year on rehiring, retraining, overtime and more.
Nurse retention doesn’t just impact the bottom line. The happiness and well-being of a hospital’s nurses positively impacts patients, too. In hospitals clamoring to recruit nurses to fill vacancies, patients tend to suffer. Studies have shown that the higher the nurse-to-patient ratio a hospital has, the lower its mortality rate.
Challenges of Nurse Retention
Why is nurse retention low? As in any field, there are many reasons – family changes, relocation, retirement. Of all of the reasons imaginable, job stress and dissatisfaction overwhelmingly top the list. Three out of four nurses cited the effects of stress and overwork as a top health concern in a recent American Nurses Association Survey.
That fact wasn’t lost at the recent Beryl Institute Conference we attended. In his opening session, Beryl President Jason Wolf, Ph.D., CPXP, reminded participants that to care is human. Human beings caring for human beings is at the heart of what we do. His challenge to the healthcare community to support one another falls in line with the growing buzz around the Quadruple Aim.
Moving to the Quadruple Aim
Most of us are familiar with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim: enhancing the patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs. The Triple Aim is widely accepted as the end point of health reform. The Quadruple Aim approach goes one step further; the care of the patient requires taking care of the provider.
The authors of the Annals of Family Medicine article make a strong case for a fourth dimension, the healthcare of the provider, as essential to achieving the Triple Aim. Taken from a physician perspective, implications of the Quadruple Aim are enormous considering the totality of all those who work in the healthcare sector (physicians, nurse prescribers, physician assistants, nurses, psychologists, social workers, OT/PT, case/care managers, peers, just to name a few).
Interactive Technology for Better Nurse, Patient Experience
As it turns out, empowering nurses is just as critical to patient satisfaction and outcomes as is empowering patients. We can empower nurses by showing them a willingness to make tangible changes that will make their jobs easier, said researchers in this recent Kaiser Permanente study.
Simple steps like implementing the Allen E3 interactive patient engagement solution make it easier for the nurse to assign and track patient education, and to provide the patient with medication information and prepare them for discharge. As Medical Daily notes, “As length of stay is shortened, there is more pressure on nurses to spend enough time with patients and their families in order to teach them how to care for themselves when they arrive home.”
Interactive technology relieves the nurse from handling non-clinical patient requests that add to his or her workload and detract from the time available to deliver true patient care.
Happy Nurse = Healthy Patient = Happy Patient
Allen Technologies provides tools like our E3 Patient Engagement Solutions that put education directly in the hands of the patient. Using this technology, nurses provide critical bedside reinforcement, and patients can easily to thank them! What nurse doesn’t appreciate a thank you for a job well done? When Allen Technologies did a study with client hospital Phelps Memorial in New York, the Allen Technologies E3 Patient Engagement Solution allowed patients to thank nurses leading to a significant increase in patient satisfaction scores and an impressive jump in employee satisfaction ratings.
There’s no single answer to maintaining nurse retention. Technology helping nurses work efficiently and gain valuable time for patient care has proven helpful. This technology plays a vital in improving nurse retention and satisfaction; happy nurses lead to healthier and happier patients.
Learn more about how Allen Technologies is improving the hospital experience for patients and nurses.