As part of a multisite survey to assess workforce issues among nurses over age 45 from my institution, we found that among “mature nurses” (defined in our study as 45 and over), who we were most worried about losing from bedside care and mentoring, the No. 1 key to retention was not better parking and reduced work hours -- it was recognition. Are you surprised? I was.
The Nursing Professional Development Council at our organization and a subcommittee we named SAGE, which stands for Senior and Generational Excellence, took on the initiative of making our mature nurses feel more valued. Here’s what we did:
- Had a breakfast celebration with a carefully chosen gift, thank you note, and presence of senior administrators to mingle with mature staff.
- Posted “Celebrating Commitment” posters throughout the hospital showcasing people who have stayed at the organization for several years and why they are committed.
- Offered an Inspiring Nurse Leader Award to recognize someone each year who really touches/mentors others within the field of nursing.
- Organized regular meetings and a subcommittee to focus on issues of retention unique to mature nurses -- who did a "mature nurse" focused service project and, last I heard, were working on a visible way to demonstrate years of nursing experience on their badges.
Does your organization do anything special to retain the mature nurse? Is it recognition specific? What are some key retention strategies that work within your organization for mature nurses or nurses of any age?
Oncology can oftentimes be a difficult field to work in so we need to be creative in helping to retain nurses who are experienced and great at what they do!
- Bryant-Hampton, L., Walton, AM, Carroll, T., Strickler, L. (2010). Recognition: A Key Retention Strategy for the Mature Nurse. The Journal of Nursing Administration. 40 (#): 121-123.