As an alumnus of Alcorn State University in Natchez, Mississippi, I was interested in "Mississippi Addresses the Nursing Shortage" (United States, Sharing Strategies, July). This collaboration among nursing schools, health care organizations, and the legislature to combat the nursing shortage was long overdue. Increasing the salaries of nursing school faculty, growing student enrollment, and expanding educational opportunities have positively changed the landscape of nursing in Mississippi.
I've witnessed the effects of a hospital's culture on staff retention. In 2005, I left Mississippi for better opportunities. The unit I'd worked on required that night charge nurses take on five to six patients. Unfortunately, this practice left no time to support the staff's needs. That same year, the Mississippi RN turnover rate was 22.5%.1
Initiating the Magnet Recognition Program could further decrease this shortage.2 Its 14 Forces of Magnetism call for, among other things, increasing the nurse's role in decision making and quality improvement. Currently, none of the hospitals in Mississippi are Magnet designated. But the good news is that at least one has begun the process.
Without initiating standards such as those found within the Magnet program, the turnover rate will continue to be double the national rate.
Nicole Walton, BSN, RN