How to Boost Nurse Retention Rates: 5 Effective Strategies

group of nurses

If you work at a healthcare facility and are concerned about nurse retention rates, you’re not alone. 

Recently, research found that a massive 1.1 million nurses were needed to fill the gap in the current nursing shortage. 

In a time where healthcare workers are stressed and overloaded with duties, medical facilities need to think of ways they can retain their nurses, and hopefully gain more. 

Below are five strategies to ensure your healthcare staff is happy. 

Strategy #1: Ask Questions

If you want to retain your nursing staff, you need to know what they think of working for you. We know this may spark fear, but it’s essential if you want to keep (and grow) your team! 

Investing in an effective employee survey strategy is the number one way to get insight into how nursing staff views your facility. The cost of outsourcing an employee survey for this is 100% worth it, we promise. 

Additionally, employee surveys can help you implement an effective nurse retention program by relying on team feedback to offer action-driven results.

Employee surveys offer a huge number of benefits–here are some of our favorites: 

  • Happier employees
  • Actionable data
  • Improved work environment
  • Emphasis on healthy work culture
  • Opportunity for new ideas

So, how do all of these come from a single survey? Through solid feedback! 

This is especially true if you use a third party for employee surveys. You and the team can then work together to target key areas of concern and include related questions in the survey. 

For instance, you can focus multiple questions on ideas around culture, if that’s an issue you’re looking to improve.

While it’s great to get positive feedback, certainly don’t discount the negative feedback. These statements can be used to address issues within your facility to make sure your nursing staff feels heard. Additionally, the act of running an employee survey for your nurses is a way to make them feel like their voices matter. 

Whether you’re looking for a highly customized nursing staff survey or a premade template, we’ll work with you so you know what employees need to thrive. 

Still have questions? Watch our video on employee survey benefits: 

💡 The Key Takeaway: When learning how to improve nurse retention, employee surveys must be at the top of your to-do list. They allow employers to understand what’s really going on with their staff along with key improvement areas. 

Recommended Reading: 11 Benefits of Employee Surveys

Strategy #2: Reduce Burnout

As part of your action plan for nurse retention, make sure some good old-fashioned fun is a part of it. 

Even though it’s highly rewarding, nursing is also an incredibly stressful job (we’ll get into this later). Finding ways nurses can bond with each other and have a good social support system is not only crucial for a happy staff, but a healthy work environment. 

Implementing fun, social ways nurses can let off steam is highly important. Think of ways your nurses can connect with each other (outside of their profession). 

For instance, consider activities like: 

  • Holiday parties
  • Team lunches and dinners
  • Fun “theme” days at your facility 
  • Joining a community sports team 

There are certainly more ways than these four, but we think this is a good starting point. When nurses feel they have a good support system from other nurses, work becomes a place of safety instead of stress. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Get creative when thinking of fun ways nurses can bond with each other. This can take many forms, from team lunches to festive holiday parties. 

Recommended Reading: How (and Why) Organizations Should Improve Employee Wellbeing

Strategy #3: Promote Flexibility

If you’re wondering how to increase employee retention, try offering a more flexible schedule. 

As with any job, a flexible schedule is appealing because it allows employees to have autonomy over their time and choose when they work best. 

The same goes for nurses. While scheduling nurses is certainly different from other professions, this doesn’t mean flexibility is impossible. 

Be sure you’re taking into account nurse feedback on what hours work best for them, what days, and what times they feel most productive. Again–this is key for effective nursing. 

When you have nurses coming in that are overworked and running on next to zero sleep, that’s a recipe for major problems (both for nurses and patients)! This is why employee surveys for your nurses are so important because you can get feedback on this exact topic. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Your nurse retention rates will likely improve or stay strong if you prioritize the staff’s scheduling abilities. Overworking nurses is (unfortunately) quite common and leads to nurse attrition. 

Strategy #4: Provide Emotional Support

Being a nurse isn’t only physically grueling, but it’s a highly emotional job, too. 

Many nurses are constantly being exposed to (often jarring) life and death situations on a regular basis

Due to the nature of the profession, they have to look past this and continue to do their job effectively. Additionally, nurses must always be highly alert and focused to ensure they’re getting medications and proper dosages correct for each patient. On top of all this, they have multiple patients to juggle each day

Sounds stressful, huh? Think of how the nurses feel! 

Chronic stress can hinder anyone’s thinking process, but the stakes are especially high for chronically stressed nurses. They need some way to release that stress while on the job. 

A good way to boost nurse retention rates is through offering some form of regular, or semi-regular emotional wellness initiative. 

This could take the form of: 

  • Therapy sessions
  • Nurse wellness days
  • Group sharing sessions 
  • Nurse appreciation days

This, of course, depends on your facility’s budget–but it’s essential to consider at least one of these strategies to help your nurses unload their stress. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Show your nurses they matter by offering emotional support initiatives. This can be done in a number of ways–through appreciation days, sharing sessions, and other strategies. 

Strategy #5: Offer Room for Growth 

When it comes to any group of employees, things are going to get stagnant real fast if they know they can’t grow in their position. 

In our last section, we covered just how stressful nursing can be. Imagine going through that stress on a regular basis, as part of your job–and then knowing you can only rise so high. 

This is why it’s essential to foster a space where nurses know they’re rewarded for their hard work in the form of raises, promotions, and increased independence. 

Because nursing requires an educational background that’s heavy in physiology and other challenging courses, we know that this is easier said than done. But finding some way to ensure your nursing staff knows they can grow professionally is a must. 

For instance, many nurses with an ADN (associate degree in nursing) will go on to get their BSN (bachelor’s of science in nursing) while still working. Some healthcare facilities will even offer to pay for the BSN, which is a great way to offer motivation for career advancement.

Additionally, for those looking to become nurse practitioners, there are many flexible programs that can be completed by nurses who are actively working. It was recently found that NPs can expect nearly 115,000 openings by 2030. Even in the midst of a nursing shortage, there’s a reason for continuing education in the field. 

If you think your nurses may be interested in growth through further education, be active in promoting it! 

Ensure they can learn about the many specialized degrees that are available to them, and how they can grow as nurses.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Lack of advancement can cause nurse retention rates to plummet. Consider different growth strategies you can implement in your practice. 

Contact Our Employee Survey Company 

Need a solid nurse retention strategy? We got you covered (hopefully you already knew that). 

Located in New York, Drive Research is a full-service market research company. Our team of pros has years of industry experience and is highly familiar with healthcare research. We can work with your practice to ensure your nurses are getting the best professional experience they can ask for.

Want to know more about our market research services? Talk to us through any of the ways listed below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Lark Allen

As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.

Learn more about Lark, here.

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