Three Common Nurse Retention Mistakes

One of the most common nurse retention mistakes is hiring the most qualified available nurse for the position. This results in nurse turnover, as experienced nurses are reluctant to take on new and different positions because they are worried about being placed in a nursing position that does not match their skill level or pay level. One way to avoid retention problems is to find a balance between the available nursing staff and the need for new nurses. Find one or two nurses with enough experience to fill the post without necessarily having to hire the highest bidder.

Another mistake that many nurses make when it comes to nurse retention is to try to retain experienced nurses by paying them too much money. Many hospitals are able to maintain a ratio of experienced to inexperienced nurses by offering competitive compensation packages. However, there are some areas where this cannot be done, such as in emergency rooms. For these situations, it may be more cost-effective to pay an experienced nurse less than the rate for a new nurse and allow him or her to learn on the job.


Not all nursing positions are easy to find and maintain. If a nurse has been with his or her current employer for a number of years, they may feel they know the office and the people associated with it. However, as time goes by, a nurse begins to see what makes the difference at work, and how the office fits his or her personality. A new nurse may not understand why certain things are done or why someone is happy, but by observing the office carefully, a nurse can learn these details and try to improve them within their own skills.


Many nurses also make the mistake of trying to get their new bosses to help them achieve their goals by having overly intrusive meetings, feedback sessions, and personality tests. In order to improve retention, a nurse should focus on building relationships with supervisors and other staff members before attempting to build relationships with the doctor or other patients. The bottom line is that while a nurse does not have all the answers, he or she does have enough of a voice to offer guidance and be listened to. By offering your opinion and helping the department build better patient care teams, you will build the loyalty that will help you retain your nursing jobs.


Another common mistake that new nurses make is to assume they already know everything they need to know about patient care. Oftentimes, the best way to build strong relationships with others is to get to know them, so visiting with the entire staff and taking the time to the network will help create stronger relationships. When you visit other facilities or hospitals outside of your own, take the opportunity to talk to everyone you meet. Take notes on the personalities of the nurses you talk with and see if there is a commonality that will lead you to a new set of skills and experiences that you can add to your resume. Networking with other nurses will also help you develop your leadership skills because you will learn how to direct conversations in a way that helps the other people in the room.


While these are not the only tips for nurse retention, these three will help you build a solid case as to why you need to try and stay on top of your career and education. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to nursing, but you do need to be aware of what’s out there. Building strong networking connections with other nursing staff will help you do just that. In addition to making a good first impression on your new peers, having a network will ensure that you will have access to other resources such as hospitals that you may not have otherwise used if you stayed within your own small area. With a good network, you will have no problem finding employment opportunities throughout your profession and ensuring that you always have job security.