As nurses navigate the high-pressure healthcare environment, they are often faced with complex challenges related to staffing shortages, inadequate patient-to-nurse ratios, heavy workloads and burnout. These issues not only impact nurses’ well-being and the quality of patient care, but they also contribute to high turnover.
In fact, a 2023 Reuters survey polling more than 18,000 caregivers nationwide revealed nearly a third are considering quitting the profession entirely, as the pandemic left them feeling overworked and undervalued.
Yet, your nursing staff is the heart and soul of enhancing patient care, satisfaction and outcomes. Now is the time for healthcare leaders to capitalize on an opportunity to actively address these issues — and it all starts with simplifying nurses’ lives.
Embrace the following strategies to help support nursing staff, improve nurse retention rates and promote a healthier, more sustainable healthcare environment.
Prioritize Emotional & Mental Wellness
Nurses often bear the brunt of emotional and psychological strain due to their demanding roles. Balancing the medical needs of patients with empathy and care, all while enduring long shifts and frequent exposure to patient mortality, can be incredibly taxing. Here’s how healthcare organizations can prioritize nurses’ mental well-being:
- Emotional Intelligence Training: Integrate emotional intelligence (EI) training into nurse orientation and professional development, focusing on communication skills, stress tolerance, time management and decision-making. Such development can significantly improve the quality of care provided.
- Creating Supportive Environments: Establish regular check-ins between nursing staff and management to foster open communication. In these settings, nurses should feel safe to discuss their challenges openly without fear of reprisal and know that they can count on genuine support from their leaders.
- Access to Professional Help: Make professional mental health services readily available to ensure nurses can access help easily and without facing any associated stigma.
Advocate for a National Mandated Staffing Ratio in Hospitals
A safe nurse-to-patient ratio is fundamental to the integrity of the healthcare system. When nurses are spread too thin, patient care suffers. Conversely, an adequate ratio ensures attentive, high-quality care. Here are strategies to implement a healthy staffing ratio and improve both patient care and nurse satisfaction:
- Push State Regulations: Raise awareness about the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act and reach out to local representatives for state-level reforms.
- Implement Flexible Staffing Models: Use a mix of full-time, part-time and temporary staff to ensure adequate coverage without overburdening your permanent staff.
- Utilize Data-Driven Staffing Plans: Regularly review patient needs and staffing levels, adjusting as necessary based on real-time data.
Leverage Advanced Technology & Automate All You Can
Effective communication among care teams is essential for both patient outcomes and retaining nursing staff. In fact, recent 2023 research conducted by Huron revealed that healthcare leaders rank new technology as the most effective organizational investment in recruitment and retention year-over-year.
Additionally, the National Institute of Health found that administrative tasks typically take up at least a quarter of every shift. Streamlining operational to-dos with the help of advanced tech ensures nurses can spend more time at the patient’s bedside, fulfilling their passion to help others — and less time staring at a nurse’s station screen.
The right nurse call system is not merely a communication tool. It is a comprehensive solution that allows caregivers to focus on person-centered care over administrative tasks.
Consider these integrations and features when choosing the right nurse call system:
- All-In-One Nurse Consoles: Modern nurse consoles, such as West-Com’s Connect™ Nurse Console, display integrated maps and detailed staffing and patient information, enabling staff to view the unit census and activities at a glance. Streamlining responses to calls and assignments reduces the need for additional devices at the nurse’s station and helps nurses work more efficiently.
- Dynamic Workflow Stations Integration: Leveraging solutions like the West-Com Workflow Stations, nurse call systems can provide timely information for patient care initiatives such as error reduction and fall prevention. This empowers nurses to allocate more time to direct patient engagement, enhancing overall quality of care while keeping staff happy.
- Advanced Analytics: Nurse call systems that offer real-time analytics and reporting capabilities, akin to West-Com’s advanced analytics, enable healthcare leaders to view unit and facility-specific data, track trends and identify concerns like nurse-to-patient ratios, which allows them to proactively address staffing needs that can reduce nurse burnout.
- Electronic Whiteboards: Nurse call systems that integrate with versatile electronic whiteboards, such as the West-Com CareBoards™, are equipped not only to streamline data delivery in care settings, but also to reduce the need for manual entries. For nurses, this translates into less time spent on manual activities, fewer errors and timely information that is always up to date.
Support Nurses with West-Com’s Integrated Communication Solutions
In an industry where time is precious, staffing is short and patient care is the top priority, using advanced communication solutions is vital. West-Com has spent more than four decades pinpointing the root of these industry-specific challenges and aims to free up caregiver time so they can feel valued and satisfied throughout every shift.
From all-in-one nurse consoles to versatile CareBoards™ and mobile applications like MobileCare™, explore West-Com’s communication solutions designed to streamline workflows, reduce stress and help nurses focus on what they do best: providing exceptional patient care.