This blog was taken from a recent HealthStream webinar entitled “Invest to Retain: Developing Effective Nurse Leaders.” The webinar was moderated by HealthStream’s Drew Casteel and featured:
Healthcare leaders face a number of mission-critical issues, but perhaps there is no more significant issue than that of retention and recruitment. Nurturing and retaining nurse leaders is a meaningful way in which to demonstrate your commitment to the development of your nursing staff. The panel shared some idea on how to best accomplish this.
Gedeon began by addressing the critical nature of the role of a nurse leader. Nurse leaders are expected to be both the face and the influencer of the executive team. “They need to be innovative and relatable while still maintaining an executive presence,” said Gedeon. Dr. Glover also pointed out that we ask a great deal of our nurse leaders and she encouraged healthcare leaders to think about ways in which they could invest in the development of highly effective nurse leaders. She also had some specific development recommendations.
The presenters then turned their attention to retention strategies. Dr. Glover encouraged a holistic approach to building retention strategies and both presenters consider recognition a key component of that strategy. She stressed that nurse leaders who often have 24 hour accountability along with a broad span of control need to be recognized for their efforts and for the ways in which they are supporting their teams. While it is often overlooked, Dr. Glover shared that nurse leader retention can also be strongly contributory to frontline nurse retention.
In addition to recognition, both Gedeon and Dr. Glover also shared the importance of well-being and supporting and celebrating a healthy work-life balance. Burnout, exhaustion and a poor work-life balance are frequently cited by managers leaving their jobs. Gedeon also pointed to studies that cited poor sleep health as contributory to burnout. Offering mental health and wellness benefits can help along with supporting an infrastructure where managers can have uninterrupted time off. In addition, protected time for professional development and offering resources such as HealthStream can also build retention.
Gedeon went on to stress the importance of early development of nurses and leaders along with the importance of mentorship and building real opportunities to grow based on a solid understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses.
She also shared the essentials of the framework for development and retention – support, develop and accomplish. Healthcare leaders need to support the processes and infrastructure that will offer work-life balance and support the professional development that is critical to the development of leaders and a personal and organizational journey to excellence. Senior leaders also need to recognize and reward accomplishments as well as educational and career milestones.
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