I debated whether of not to write on this topic, because it’s not the typical “feel good” for my blog site. However, I think this is a huge issue that has come before my generation of nurses and is ultimately hurting us all! I have had 3 jobs in my 3 years of nursing. I worked in Florida for a year after graduation. I met my husband in Georgia, and moved there a year later. After a terrible experience with management at my first hospital in Georgia, I left and went to my current position. I am quite content and happy with where I am at. I want to elaborate on these experiences and explain why I think we have created this culture of job hopping and how I truly think it could be prevented! These are all my opinions. I know many can beg to differ and have stronger opposing opinions about this, but I ask that you be kind and respectful! I hope that this can be encouraging and thought provoking to anyone reading!
New Grad Sign on contracts:
I think this is not a good idea! In theory, its sounds great! We’re helping new grads slowly transition with support. That’s a great concept and I think its good to have a program set up for new grads, but not with something that requires you to sign on the dotted line. It really depends on the program and how it’s run! I was in one that I did not benefit greatly from. I ended up leaving early and moving to GA, buying out my contract (it stunk!)! Hospitals think that by making new-grad nurses sign a contract to go through a residency program for a year and committing to the hospital for 1 year after, is a great way to retain staff! They sell it like they are doing new grads a favor by putting them through a program to transition them easily to the floor. If they choose to leave before their 2 years is up, they will have to buy out the contract ( Mine was $5000 and I wasn’t even given a sign on bonus! I was told that’s what it cost to train me)! From a business side of things, sure. That looks great to them and saves money with staffing. Training new grads and helping them transition is a good idea too. But from the nursing perspective, you are essentially “trapping” your nurses in for a year or two and they become ready to BUST out and flee when that contract is up. These new grads start to realize “wow, this professional world of nursing isn’t so professional” because they start hearing other nurses talk about how things are run, management, their work load, and how different the real world of nursing is from school….Those negative attitudes are contagious. That creates a mindset of “ well I need to get out of here and to a better place once my contract is up!” The reality is, it’s like that A LOT of places! And no, the “professional world” is not so professional everywhere. The grass is never greener. I think it messes with you psychologically when you hold somebody to a contract like this. It MAKES you want to leave. And honestly, this generation is a generation of taking out loans like it’s nothing! Buying out a contract and leaving early is nothing but another loan to them! It’s not going to keep someone from leaving if they really want to go! I also wouldn’t want a nurse who has the mindset of “I’m doing my two years and leaving.” I would want someone that I can invest in and build up to keep around. These programs are being created to keep staffing for at least 2 years. Why are we not setting up programs and incentives to keep people around AFTER that? That’s the issue I have with these new grad contracts. Why are we not investing in leadership classes to help train these nurses and better them all around after their new grad program? Why are we not offering monetary incentive for completing the program? I know some do, but a lot don’t! Instead, we hold them to a contract and pretty much know they are going to peace out after!? Why are we continuing to do this? When people are happy, they stick around. When people have a good work environment, they stick around. When employees are invested in, they stick around. When managers have good leadership and people skills, people stick around. This profession really needs to revaluate where they stand with their nurse training! This leads me to my next point!
Happy Employees equals Happy Customers:
We are so focused on patient satisfaction and numbers! What ever happened to “Happy employees make happy customers?!” Look at Chick Fil A!? It’s a fast food joint like any other one, but they INVEST in their employees. They put them through training. They hold them to high standards, but teach them how to treat each other and their customers! People love CFA because of the atmosphere and culture! Teenagers love working at CFA too! Adding computer modules with “training” to our “to-do” list for nurses does nothing for us! I’ll be honest, I click through those online courses to get to the end for the questions, and then go about my way! I need human motivation. I need face to face interaction. I need all of my fellow employees next to me experiencing the same thing so we’re all on the same page and getting the same message! I truly think retention would not be a huge issue if employees were invested in! I’m not just talking pension and retirement. Those things are happening behind the scenes! I really think hospitals need to implement BETTER and more EFFECTIVE nurse appreciation and mentoring programs. Even if they have to pay for them! The Daisy Foundation does a LOT for hospitals to help make nurses feel appreciated. That cost is worth their employee happiness. Trust me. Happy employees equal happy customers which equals the reviews for reimbursement that hospitals need. It’s a win/win. Team building experiences are huge too! There is SO much that could be done, and I feel we are so far from it, going in the wrong direction. I have no desire to be in leadership because of the politics, but these are some steps I would like to see taken.
A good manager to me is someone who not only possesses good leadership skills, but has good PEOPLE skills. Someone you can talk to. Someone who can relate and has been there. Someone who is wise. Someone who cares about you as a person, and not just as a number. When something happens on the floor, they don’t just come to you and point fingers asking you to sign a piece of paper that says “ I’ve read and understand my error.” They hear you out, and kindly instruct you how to do better. I think one of the BIGGEST issues in nursing today is bad leadership. People in positions just because they have 12 letters behind their name. All of your education doesn’t make you a good manager. Dealing with people appropriately. Empathizing. Constructive Criticism. Being fair. Genuinely caring about someone. Listening. Being reasonable, but not walked over. Compassionate: THESE make you a good manager. I know this, because I have one. And guess what, I’m not leaving my job anytime soon because I know how rare that is! I don’t work on the administrative side of things and I never want to, but I know that it’s probably not easy finding “good” managers. They want someone who is not only going to handle the business side of things, but the employee and patient side of things! That’s hard because we all know there is a giant disconnect! Maybe hospitals need to invest in leadership classes, too! For managers to learn how to effectively communicate and run a floor, but still understanding the importance of how you speak to/treat your staff! A lot of nurses run because of bad management! I know I have! And it’s hard because a lot of hospitals won’t back you up when it comes to your reasonable concern about how things are being done! Good management will certainly not hurt retention! I’m just saying…. I am THANKFUL for all of the amazing ones out there who truly make a difference! You know who you are, and thank you for all of your hard work and devotion managing both ends! YOU ROCK!
One of the BIGGEST reasons people leave is for more money. Nobody will ever leave a position without getting paid more for the next, lets be real. And to be honest, that truly is the way today how to make more! I boosted my base pay quite a bit by hospital jumping! That’s the reality of it! But in all honesty, its not fun learning a new system every year and new docs, new people, etc….that can be draining! AND that can lead to job burnout! It’s not always the right choice to job hop. I think you will be missing out on a lot of the fruit that your current position and what this profession has to offer you. Unfortunately, we are creating a culture that feels they need to do that. I do think it’s important for hospitals to revaluate how they are paying/issuing raises for employees. My hospital just adopted a program that allows you to move up in pay according to your certifications, job performance, and degree. It’s not a super easy process, but at least its offering incentive. I really think when you weigh it all out, keeping employees around by giving them decent yearly raises and incentive outweighs the LOW staffing (heavy work load) and the burnout it causes, ultimately causing employees to leave. When you are spread thin as an employee, you aren’t going to be spending time scanning supplies and appropriately charging patients for things because YOU DON’T HAVE TIME! This loses the hospital money! If you implement structure (paying better) to retain staff and make for better nurse to patient ratios, you’re saving money! So why do we continue to see the same patterns!?
My hopes are that hospitals start to catch on realize the culture that is being created. I think it definitely is a big issue in my generation of nurses. My parents about flipped their lid when they found out I was applying for my 3rd position, only being a nurse for 2 years at the time! In their days, you find a job and stay there….forever! But back then, that WAS how you made more money. You “worked your way up!” That’s not how it is anymore. You get money by jumping around and adding to your base pay. For the world of nursing, this just sucks! I totally get it because I’ve done it, but it IS leading to more burnout and employee turnover, ultimately hurting hospital staffing in a whole! Bad staffing equals unhappy employees because we’re all spread thin and overworked. This is also NOT SAFE FOR THE PATIENTS! The more patients we have, the less “quality safe care” for your loved one. What will it take for this to be realized? I’m basically just speaking my thoughts. I don’t have a giant plan, but I am involved in a group called “Show Me Your Stethoscope” on Facebook, that is currently working towards acquiring safe staffing legislation and addressing other nursing issues at hand. I encourage you to go check it out and join! My hope is that getting these thoughts and facts out there, slowly but surely, we may one day have something better. I feel like the world of nursing just needs to take a GIANT step back and revaluate the issues at hand. Until then, I speak my mind via blog post 🙂 I’d love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this subject….I know there are many.
In the mean time, I encourage yall to do the best you can with what you have. Help to start create a culture where you work of positivity. Talk openly about it! We need more of it everywhere! I KNOW this job can be hard. I KNOW work environments can stink! We are in control of our actions, attitudes, thoughts, and words! And if you are a new grad reading this, and contemplating leaving after your contract, think about talking to your hospital about these issues! I’d love to hear what they’d have to say! I know they wouldn’t want to lose you, and it might be worth it to talk to them before peacing out! You just never know what could come from it! I love you guys! Your Heart is Mine.