Nursing needs R & R: Recruitment and Retention : Nursing2022

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Department: EDITORIAL

Nursing needs R & R

Recruitment and Retention

Laskowski-Jones, Linda MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, NEA-BC, FAWM, FAAN

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doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000892664.29257.b7
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Healthcare organizations are attempting to recover from the upheavals wrought by COVID-19. The pervasive nursing vacancies left in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic represent the proverbial burning platform that is prompting far too many nurses to resign or consider resigning from their roles and, tragically, even from the profession itself. The severe shortages are responsible for heavy nursing workloads that do not enable safe and quality patient care delivery or offer sustainable work environments for nurse well-being. In response, healthcare leaders are largely focusing on strategies to rebuild their staffing complement in their areas of greatest need. Ongoing, aggressive recruitment efforts are the new normal for many facilities to bring in a steady supply of nurses to plug critical staffing holes.

The recruitment effort is essential, but is there enough focus on retention to address the issues that provoke the continual loss of nurses, including the newly hired ones? Retention is imperative to stabilize the nursing workforce. In my conversations with recently hired nurses and those entering different practice settings, they relate that orientation time is often cut to the quick, particularly in facilities where the shortage is severe. The newly hired nurse is tasked with taking a full patient assignment well before the promised orientation period ends. There may be no experienced nurses to serve as preceptors or mentors. The lack of appropriate onboarding is especially challenging for newly licensed nurses. Their first year as a nurse is hard enough considering the real-world challenges that they face, but to be turned loose without the necessary resources and safety nets in place is a recipe for error, profound moral distress, and the very real likelihood that the nurse will leave.

Both recruitment and retention require equal focus. Simply increasing the supply of nurses will not solve the issues that ultimately drive them out the door. Yes, appropriate staffing is essential to manage heavy workloads, but there are other workplace factors to address. Nurses need resources, such as adequate supplies and equipment, to perform their jobs. They need professional growth opportunities, psychological safety, teamwork, and a supportive work culture where they feel valued. Commitment to a job is a two-way street: Organizations expect it of nurses, but nurses also expect it of their organizations. Nurses need intensive care now more than ever. It is my sincere Holiday wish that they get it.

Until next time,

LINDA LASKOWSKI-JONES, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, NEA-BC, FAWM, FAAN

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, NURSING2022

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