Tips from CNOs on Increasing Nurse Engagement in 2018

By Shari Dingle (Sandifer) Costantini, RN, MBA

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April 02, 2018

CNO Roundtable Discussion Series #4

Keeping nurses committed and satisfied with their jobs can be challenging in the face of a nurse shortage. It’s up to the nurse leader to provide a work environment that fosters passion and positivity for registered nurses (Bamford, Wong, & Laschinger 2013). As crucial as it is for nurse leaders to provide a positive workplace, nurse engagement also relies heavily on appropriate staffing (Aiken, 2008).

As the CEO of Avant Healthcare Professionals, I asked other nurse leaders how they would approach a nurse engagement program in 2018. Combining the expertise of a nurse staffing specialist and nurse leader, below are the predictions that will drive nurse engagement in 2018.

A good work/life balance

Offer your nurse staff flexible shift options on holidays and days where you are short-staffed. Offering 4 to 6-hour shifts will increase the likelihood of a nurse coming in on their day off to help the facility.

Allow your nurses to self-schedule their shifts. If they create their own schedule they feel involved and in control of their work/life.

Establish a weekend-only program where nurses volunteer to work Saturday and Sunday shifts. On weekdays, those that volunteered can take time off. This way the same nurses won’t be stuck working every weekend.

Create or offer a wellness program in your hospital that addresses self-care such as yoga/exercise classes, rest and healthy eating. If you’re interested in this approach, be sure to tie it into the facility’s culture.

A recognition and reward program

Create a compensation program that awards nurses for going above and beyond. Some hospitals have their own monetary system where workers give nurses “bucks” to cash out their rewards with free car washes or free Starbucks.

Establish a patient/coworker recognition program to incentivize better patient care. When a patient commends your nurse, reward them. Including the DAISY awards in your recognition program is a great start.

Encourage nurses to share exemplary stories of their peers in your hospital newsletters or internal communications.

A shared governance policy

The chief nurse officer, managers and directors should drive and encourage participation among nurse staff. A robust shared governance program will only work if it has the backing of the facility leaders.

Empower your employees to make change through shared governance – let them use this as an opportunity to participate in their practice by establishing a leadership council that reports up to unit chairs.

Define unit chairs to increase responsibility for RN roles. If nurses are given liberty to influence change in your facility, they will be more committed to their job.

Nurse engagement is essential in providing quality patient care. Including a nurse engagement program in your facility in 2018 is highly encouraged. If your facility is using other engagement methods not listed in this article, please share with us!

About the Author

Shari Dingle (Sandifer) Costantini, RN, MBA, founder and CEO of Avant Healthcare Professionals, is a renowned expert in the healthcare industry, with 29 years of experience in strategic leadership, nursing and international nurse staffing. As a registered nurse and accomplished business owner in healthcare staffing, she offers a unique perspective and keen insights into a wide range of issues affecting medical staff today, and she is an authoritative source on issues concerning international workers.

About Avant Healthcare Professionals

Need nurses? Avant Healthcare Professionals is the premier staffing specialist for internationally educated registered nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Avant has placed thousands of international healthcare professionals across U.S. facilities to help improve the continuity of their care, fill hard-to-find specialties, and increase patient satisfaction, revenue and HCAHPS scores. Avant is a Joint Commission accredited staffing agency and founding member of the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR). Avant Healthcare Professionals is a member of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies.


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