Feeling the burden of the healthcare staffing shortages? You're not alone. Learn how authentic leadership increases talent retention.
Not only is a large portion of our healthcare workforce nearing retirement age, but the physical and mental demands from healthcare professionals continue to increase as our health challenges grow. This, coupled with the abysmal retention rates for most nurses or patient-facing support professionals may make you wonder—how can I gain control of the changing landscape within my organization?
New and seasoned healthcare professionals like you will be the emerging leaders of healthcare and will shape the future of the discipline and patient care. In this blog, we will look at ways that you can improve staff satisfaction and retention through empowerment, advocacy, and mentorship as nurses and leaders. You have the power to not only help improve nurse retention, but also make a positive difference in the field through the promotion of professional development, empowerment, and advocacy— otherwise known as authentic leadership.
You don’t have to be a leader to make a difference. Many newly graduated or even seasoned nurses are not always aware of the opportunities for professional growth and development that lie ahead in their careers. Nurses with potential for such growth are not given the tools and learning for professional development and advancement to meet their true potential. We cannot bring any change without empowering and developing staff and recognizing that every healthcare professional has the potential to advance and develop professionally.
Every nurse has the opportunity to make a positive impact on the profession through day-to-day mentorship and support for nurses and the nursing profession. This starts with supporting and mentoring new employees and newly graduated nurses. Newer employees greatly appreciate guidance and mentorship from more tenured employees, which can lead to professional development, better job performance, and improved patient outcomes.
Here’s how you can support and mentor your new colleagues in the workplace:
All healthcare professionals have the right to use their voice to promote positive changes. As a nurse, you must use that voice to advocate for your patients and colleagues. As a leader, you must advocate for the staff and patients.
Here’s how team leaders, charge nurses, managers, and administrators can advocate for patients, nurses, and the profession by giving the staff a voice:
The staffing crisis had led to an increased need for travelers to staff health systems and meet the needs of patient care. Travelers are crucial for our healthcare system as they help fill gaps during crisis situations, staffing shortages, and meet seasonal demands. Similarly to nurses just starting their careers, travelers don’t feel like they can go to their supervisor because of differences in pay, not being ingrained in the office culture, etc. It is just as important for us as nurses and leaders to support, nurture, and grow travel staff.
Have you seen travel professionals treated unfairly? Here’s how you can help contract employees become better integrated into your healthcare organization:
The promotion of these values tend to create a positive work culture that anyone can witness, including potential candidates, new staff, patients, and other professionals. Candidates are usually drawn to leadership styles that focus on the growth, involvement, and empowerment of employees & are more likely to work in areas that have a positive culture.
Leaders that promote these values tend to have happier employees and higher retention and recruitment rates. Employees who feel supported, heard, and empowered are likely to provide quality care to their patients by advocating for their patients. It’s a system of positive culture that trickles down and positively affects patient care, work culture, and the organization.
The healthcare system has been going through unprecedented challenges in the last few years, especially regarding staffing, employee burnout, and retention. In healthcare, we focus on a patient-centered model to provide patient care. It’s time that we focus on creating authentic leaders that can drive an employee-centered model to recruit and retain enough staff needed to care for the patients in the first place.
All healthcare professionals can be authentic leaders and staff members to drive positive change. This means being supportive to new graduates and travelers, advocating for patients and staff, and empowering yourself and others. Mentorship can mean providing or taking advantage of opportunities for education, growth, and professional development. Leaders can promote advocacy and empowerment by involving staff in decision-making processes and encouraging them to drive positive change by using their voice.
These authentic values lead to a positive work culture, happier and empowered employees, and satisfied patients. Authentic leadership draws talent recruitment and retention as staff members that feel supported tend to be happier and stay longer.
Thank you to Kamana intern Janvi Jani for contributing the content of this blog.
About Janvi Jani, RN
Janvi is a clinical nurse leader and informaticist based in Birmingham, Alabama. She's an RN with a multi-state compact license for over 6 years with experience in acute care nursing, ambulatory leadership, quality improvement and informatics, and has recently graduated with her Masters in Nursing with a specialty in Nursing Informatics. Aside from my career, I enjoy volunteering at my temple as a Youth Group Coordinator, painting landscapes, reading self-improvement books, hiking and spending time with friends and family.