Nursing Shortage and Turnover
Nurses are considered pillars in any healthcare industry. They play significant roles in promoting healthcare and wellness within communities. However, staff shortage and turnover has been a problem especially in the United States. Surveys conducted have revealed a 90 percent turnover of the employees in the nursing sector and healthcare facilities (Hunt, 2009). The main reason for the shortage and high turnover is dissatisfaction witnessed among nurses in regards to different aspects of their jobs. Nursing shortages and turnover can be solved through the implementation of effective leadership skills and management strategies. Fundamentally, nursing leaders and managers play critical roles in ensuring job satisfaction and ultimate retention of valuable talents. Discussion of the issue takes into account the examination of roles these leaders play, different approaches and theories they engage and the sources of funding to eliminate the problem.
Nursing Leaders and Managers Approaches
The healthcare system has gone through a series of changes and transformations. One area has been the development of strong, creative and effective managers and leaders. These individuals formulate policies, define goals and manage other staff. Therefore, their actions can impact positively or negatively on performance of staff and the entire organization. For instance, leaders and managers are aware that employees must be motivated, committed, demonstrate integrity, courage and ability to handle different challenging situations. Effective leaders must have the skills and abilities to encourage and inspire nurses to work as teams towards the achievement of set objectives and common goals. Further, they must demonstrate ability to think critically, set goals and improve communication as they help others achieve their higher potential. Similarly, managers are equally important in the healthcare system. They help promote and deliver safe and quality care by facilitating and effectively managing the healthcare environment.
Shortage of nurses and high turnover has been occasioned by increased demand for care especially from the aging population, presence of better career alternatives, low salaries, work pressure and the never ending health challenges. Hence, retention depends on the ability of leaders to demonstrate effective management skills. Leaders should display a caring attitude towards their staff to show that they are valued. Evidence has proved that employees perform well when they feel valued in organizations (Kleinman, 2004). Leaders should also treat their staff as assets because without them, there would be nothing to manage. Leaders must address the need to reduce work pressures, design excellent policies, and formulate lucrative salary structures that would contribute towards job satisfaction to help avoid job shifts. That is, they must be good motivators. Moreover, leaders must display appropriate supervisory skills especially for staff on-the-job training so that they can nurture and develop good working relationship. This is critical in developing sound participatory skills to improve quality of care, autonomy and responsible decision making. When this is done, nurses will develop appropriate working knowledge and a sense of interest for their current jobs.
On the same note, nurse managers are responsible for identifying valuable talents, recruiting, training, managing and retaining them. Thus, they must develop essential critical thinking to effectively manage diverse staff within the healthcare system. Experts reveal that managers are expected to put to practice, their educational backgrounds on human resource practices, financial management, quality management and normal managerial skills to be able to work excellently with their employees (Punke, 2013). These skills are crucial in solving problems in regards to shortages and turnover. Furthermore, managers must fully understand the psychological needs of nurses and provide appropriate solutions to problems likely to arise.
Leadership and Management Theories
Theories depict practical skills preferred by an individual in a leadership or management position. For a fact, leaders and managers should have skills centered on patient care, networking and self-actualization. Situational leadership theory and open communication best summarizes the problems revolving around shortage and turnover of nurses. Leaders and managers are always required to demonstrate situational leadership skills that help them take appropriate decisions in different healthcare situations and environments. Shortage and turnover situation have bedeviled the healthcare system. Hence, managers and managers must deal with the problem on a case to case basis. Specifically, this leadership theory enables managers and leaders to focus on improving complex situations likely to create problems for the nurse. Such problems may encompass scheduling of duty rosters, management of complex salary issues, handling dissatisfaction and motivating nurses to continue with their career within healthcare facilities. Besides, the theory should encompass open communication that fosters interpersonal relationships between management and nurses. In many cases, problems have arisen in the nursing practice as a result of communication breakdown. Poor working relationship is occasioned by communication breakdown where nurses fail to follow unclear instructions. Furthermore, open communication channels will present nurses with the opportunities to communicate freely about problems they are experiencing, work load pressures among others. Fundamentally, communication will help improve working relationships while fostering interpersonal associations between nursing staff and their leaders.
Best-fit approach effectively maps to the adoption of situational leadership theory. Leaders and managers have the opportunity to tackle different situations using best methods that effectively fit such circumstances. As pointed out earlier, medical and healthcare situations change every day. That means that managers face different challenges and scenarios that require their attention. The moment they fail to address these challenging situations appropriately, some nurses may decide to abandon their tasks and seek employment elsewhere. Problems faced by nurses may range from personal to organization issues. Each requires a specific method to address. Distinctively, nurse leaders and managers must possess varied qualities of independence, assurance and confidence that assists them lead by example. Best-fit approach for situational leadership style may help leaders develop motivational techniques aimed at improving nurses’ job satisfaction. Sometimes, nurses just require motivations and encouragements to help make them feel to be part and parcel of an organization. Situational style of leadership and management is adequate in integrating a sense of belonging, satisfaction to help reduce high turnover while promoting provision of quality services.
Nursing shortage and turnover can be solved through establishing stable financial incentives and funding to the healthcare system. Funding can be in the form of investments by the federal governments or grants provided by institutions such as CDC. This will help create a culture of nursing staff retentions, reduce turnover, lower operating costs, improve profitability and better outcomes. At the end, everybody will be happy and there would be no dissatisfaction currently witnessed. Federal incentives can be invested on infrastructure that ultimately resolve current problems, and these monies need to be made available. Funding from CDC will also play a significant role in promoting access to infrastructure, knowledge and skills that is helpful in promoting job satisfaction.
Hunt, S. (2009). Nursing Turnover: Costs, causes and solutions. Available at:
http://uexcel.com/resources/articles/NursingTurnover.pdf. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
Kleinman, C. (2004). Leadership: A key strategy in staff nurse retention. Journal of Continuing
Education in Nursing, 35(3), 128-132. Available at: http://tools.hhr-
rhs.ca/index.php?option=com_mtree&task=att_download&link_id=5677&cf_id=68&lang=en. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
Punke, H. (2013). 3 biggest causes of nurse turnover. Available at:
www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce-labor-management/3-biggest-causes-of-nurse-turnover.html. Retrieved June 9, 2018.