Combatting nurse burnout and fatigue and increasing nurse retention amidst the pandemic has been a growing concern for health systems globally. Wolters Kluwer, one of our collaborative partners in the healthcare space, recently explored multiple strategies healthcare organizations can employ to address these challenges. These include:
Using innovative care models by shortening shifts, placing more experienced staff to oversee newer nurses, exploring opportunities for remote work, and understanding what guidance and knowledge are needed for novice nurses to be successful in their roles.
Offering flexible staffing with rotation opportunities for those who need a change of pace, or part-time options for nurses that can no longer commit to full-time, rather than losing their skills completely if they choose to leave the organization.
Developing unique compensation offerings with at-home professional development, paid time off on special holidays, reduced on-call time, and more emphasis on recharging to boost morale and well-being.
Establishing a formal mentor program and a shared governance committee to encourage and empower experienced staff, recognize their level of experience and knowledge, and also allow them to share this with others within the unit.
Providing needed supplies and equipment to enable nurses to quickly obtain materials with ease, lessening the frustration around time spent on meaningless tasks, and increasing time providing patient care.
In addition to the strategies suggested above, we’ve seen first-hand how skills management can positively impact healthcare organizations as they strive to reduce nurse burnout and fatigue, and increase nurse retention.
Support nurses with validated skills data
Working alongside our healthcare customers, the need to address the challenges of nurse retention, burnout, and fatigue are at the forefront of problems to solve. Properly digitizing and managing nurse competency with skills management is a key strategy healthcare systems are employing to help retain their nursing staff.
Kahuna Solutions Engineer and RN shed light on her experiences in the healthcare industry and how she’s seeing skills management put into practice to help alleviate these burdens and empower nurses.
Ensure quality patient care and improve nurse retention
In speaking with our current clients, nurse retention has been a theme we continue to hear. To ensure that quality patient care remains a top priority, it’s important for health systems to address nurse turnover in new ways. Through Kahuna’s digital platform, educators can provide their caregivers with more opportunities to promote professional development and retain top talent. Here are a few ways our clients are leveraging Kahuna and skills management.
Provide visibility into potential growth roles
In my experience, working as a nurse at a large hospital system in Houston, TX, there was not a clear picture of what my future path could be. Besides progressing from an RNI to an RNII, I couldn’t fathom a potential career in the healthcare world that didn’t involve bedside care. For some nurses, that path is sufficient, whereas others may want to consider alternatives. Kahuna’s “Role Predictor” functionality allows nurses to query potential roles within an organization and gain insight into the required skills it would take to get there. Giving a nurse a vision of what their future could possibly look like, empowers them to pursue that and grow within your system. Retain your top talent by giving them a glimpse into their future.
Promote nurses for their skillset rather than tenure
Current Kahuna clients are using our digital platform to promote a nurse based on their current skill set, rather than automatically promoting them based on the number of years they have been a nurse. Providing nurses with clear objectives of how to move from novice to expert, and tying that to increased compensation, can motivate them to meet higher-level skill expectations.
Allow for flexible work options within your health system
The new generation of nurses is interested in as much flexibility as possible. With many of their friends having the opportunity to “WFH”, nurses feel a bit of “FOMO”. By digitizing a nurse’s skill set, their ability to move from unit to unit and work independently becomes much easier. Their skills “passport” within Kahuna proves their capabilities. If an organization takes advantage of this transferability, the option for nurses to pick up shifts across a system becomes much easier. This flexibility gives nurses a sense of control, despite the requirement of always being at the bedside.
Put the WHY behind learning modules and resources
Assigning a nurse forty new required modules annually only feeds the fire of burnout. Linking these required learning courses with other resources (YouTube videos, policies and procedures, and internal materials) paints a fuller picture of what is required for a nurse to complete their tasks. Kahuna helps nurses see the entire picture of a competency, which empowers them to engage more effectively with the learning materials they are provided all in the flow of work.
Understand nurse competency with skills management
With a 30% increase in nurse burnout rates — from 40% before the pandemic to 70% in 2021 — it’s imperative that nurses are supported in their caregiving roles. When you use skills management as a basis for building your shift staff, assigning learning resources, transferring from unit to unit, and encouraging career growth, your nursing staff will not only feel more valued but be equipped to provide the best care possible to each of their patients.
Want to learn more about increasing nurse retention and engaging your caregivers with skills management? Talk with a skills advisor!