1. Harris, Marilyn D. MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
  2. Narayan, Mary Curry MSN, RN, HHCNS-BC, CTN-A, COS-C
  3. Piskor, Barbara MPH, BSN, RN, NEA-BC

Article Content

The demand for registered nurses (RNs) is outpacing most other occupations, and is projected to grow by 15% by 2026. This makes nurse retention even more critical than in the past. Nursing administrators will need new skills and strategies to retain nurses once they attract them, assuring that nurses feel respected and appreciated, that their physical, emotional, and professional needs are honored, and that their work is challenging and rewarding (Hall, 2018). For example, millennials value working for organizations that are creative and genial, and value flexible schedules that accommodate family needs (Krause, 2018).


Bowers (2018) suggests that new perks really do work, stating "When you're trying to recreate culture, it's not the high-dollar, high-end stuff that makes the difference. It's the time you spend with your people, and it's the recognition that's as easy as a thank you card and giving them more responsibility. That's what we're finding is really making a difference for us."


To show staff that you appreciate them as part of the team and that you would like them to stay, consider the following suggestions:


* Show respect, with please, thank-you, smiles, and caring.


* Share information with staff; communication promotes trust.


* Be a good listener when they are frustrated or discouraged.


* Before taking action, ask appropriate questions to understand the issues.


* Provide "verbal bouquets." Express your gratitude for work done well.


* Post thank-you letters where everyone can read them.


* Feature home care nurses and the work they do in internal publications.


* Say thank-you for providing quality patient care following stressful accreditation/certification visits.


* Establish a culture of caring.


* Promote evidence-based practice; staff like being on the cutting edge.


* Build teams that support one another, despite working remotely.


* Send personal thank-you notes.



Ideas for thank-you gifts include:


* Reusable trash bags designed for cars.


* Hip packs for keeping work items, such as pens, penlights, and hand wash.


* Hire a masseuse for a day of stop-in back and neck massages.


* Fun, interactive events such as sharing thank-you letters or funny and heart-warming home healthcare stories. Include door prizes.


* Hold an ice cream sundae social. Serve CEO-prepared homemade fruit sauces.


* Host drop-in breakfasts and/or lunches. One agency's CEO brought in a camp stove and other accoutrements and made pancakes and waffles served with different toppings.



Given the current use of electronic records and staffing patterns, home care nurses no longer need to go to the office at the beginning and end of the day. Thus, management staff should take advantage of every opportunity to have personal, supportive, and caring contact with staff. National Nurses Week, May 6th to 12th becomes an important opportunity for agency leaders to show how much they value and appreciate their nurses.




Bowers L. (2018). New perks that really do work. McKnight's Long Term Care News. New Horizons, PD Guide, 39, 6-7. [Context Link]


Hall J. (2018). Can senior care survive the workforce storms? McKnight's Long Term Care News. New Horizons, PD Guide, 39, 3-4. [Context Link]


Krause C. (2018). Can senior care survive the workforce storm? McKnight's Long Term Care News. New Horizons, PD Guide, 39, 3-4. [Context Link]