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Make Nurses Happy, Some Hospitals Say

Make Nurses Happy, Some Hospitals Say

Kaiser Permanente offers nurses (and other employees) concierge services to help with dinner reservations, car repairs, mailing packages and dry cleaning pickup, among other services.

Linda Childers | Monster Contributing Writer

Beyond Signing Bonuses

Realizing that sign-on bonuses don’t always keep nurses in the acute-care setting, many hospitals, including Yakima, are offering creative perks to recruit new nurses and retain their existing staff. These perks include flexible scheduling, professional development, and programs designed to empower nurses and improve the hospital’s corporate culture.

“We also offer all of the nurses the same pay structure,” Franz says. “They receive the same compensation whether they are working in home health, the hospital or the clinics.”

In 2006, Yakima began offering “Into the Blue,” a four-day program, to all employees. Designed by the Pacific Institute, a training and consulting company, the program aims to maximize the spirit of leadership in every individual.

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“The program essentially teaches employees how to better understand one another’s personalities and temperaments and how to foster healthy relationships,” says Jennifer Tate, Yakima’s director of organizational health and wellness. “It shows how to remove self-imposed limits to achieve your goals.”

Tate says more than 1,800 employees have gone through the program and have reported tremendous success.

“I’ve heard story after story of how this program has changed our employees’ lives both personally and professionally,” Tate says. “There was one woman who always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, and this course motivated her to do so at the age of 60. Another man closed the mortgage on his home after finishing the program.”

The course complements Yakima’s already strong corporate culture, Tate says.

“Our CEO sends all of our 2,000 employees a card on their birthday,” she says. “On Christmas, he and the VP of nursing hand out flowers to all the nurses working that day.”

While lucrative sign-on bonuses can initially attract nurses, Tate believes that a positive working environment is more important when it comes to retaining staff.

“We all spend a lot of time at work,” she says. “It’s important to be someplace where you feel appreciated and are able to make a difference.”

Next: Onsite Degree Programs >>


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    ladycyn12

    about 5 years ago

    4 comments

    I think there heading in the right direction, you have to have a happy and up beat seat too heal. Stressed out nurses are the worst thing to have, for healing patiences. Keep up the great work. Wish other hospitals would follow that lead.

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    AmbitiousFutureRN

    about 5 years ago

    52 comments

    Smart hospital! Why cant other hospitals follow their lead? I always read stores of nurses who work in crappy hospitals that only care about money and not about their staff or patients. Its sad.

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    Nicolee

    about 5 years ago

    42 comments

    Wow. Too bad all hospitals cant think aout the nurses likeing theirjobs whether than working there because they have to. They give so many extra's to keep people there, its nice. I would love to work there!

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    mandietaylor

    about 5 years ago

    234 comments

    Good to know that there are facilities out there taking care of their employees. A good working environment is so important for everyone. I hope that I am blessed enough to find a place where I feel appreciated and wanted, not just another number in a crowd.

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    gspilswill

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Your programs sounds wonderful. How can I join your team. I am a second year nursing student in Europe and is looking for summer inernship during the months of july and August 2009. Hopefully after I have conpleted my studies, I can be one of the supply that meets your demand.

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    kstiltner1

    over 5 years ago

    7170 comments

    Great article. But is it too good to be true?

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    snowbunnyRN

    about 6 years ago

    254 comments

    This sounds like a great facility to be employed. I'd love to move their tomorrow after reading this article! Why don't more facilities "catch on" and try to please their nurses so that there wouldn't be such a high turnover rate and nursing shortage??

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    cjacks5

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Spread the word! Do not be afraid to speak up. Where I work I do speak up and have been punished multiple times, but ya know, I sleep well. I may not have a job the next time I come into work, but little by little we have to make a difference. My facility's last blunder was telling the weekend option staff that they were not going to pay overtime if you picked up shifts during the week and totaled more than 40 hours per week. They told us our weekend differential (that is time and 1/2) was overtime so unless we worked more than 64 hours a week they would not pay the overtime for hours worked over 40. After calls to wage and labor ( they really think we are stupid) they withdrew that plan to take pay out of our pockets. Anyone out their with a weekend opton conntract, let me know please!

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    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    You all know my motto. If the nurse ain't happy, then there ain't nobody happy.

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    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    Awesome article. I particularly like the idea of " into the blue" program. I also like the fact that they acknowledge the fact that people have a myriad of personalities and character difference and flaws and it take time and effort to get to really know someone. I enjoy reading this article. Nursing as a profession has come a long way as far as a profession. We need more work and this hospital is on to something. Nurses on a whole values when someone looks out for them and their family. This is indeed worth far more than retention bonues.

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    joyrider

    about 6 years ago

    52 comments

    I live in North Carolina which is a non-union state for nurses. It would be nice to work somewhere that appreciates what you do for your patients. Heck, it would be nice to work in a facility that doesn't write you up for being sick or being away from work due to a death in your family!

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    kathyswarthout

    about 6 years ago

    36 comments

    The cards and flowers are thoughtful. I once worked in a hospital (as a Candy Striper, then a CNA) that provided meals for the staff who worked holidays. The meals were special: turkey, roast beef, etc. They even fed the Pink Ladies and Candy Stripers who volunteered on Holidays. The nurses were most encouraging to a young student nurse. The care my parents received at the same hospital 30 years later reflected that the same caring philosophy was in place. The nurses I had known had retired, as I found out when asking about specific people. Sufficient working equipment and adequate staff to properly care fr the clients is paramount importance.

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    nursegurl57

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I think all that is wonderful. While my hospital is eager to make sure patients come back, they forget that we too are customers of a sort and when we are abused and yelled at by patients and families who is there for us. It is always up to us to bend over and take it as if it is our fault because they are sick. No or little or non working equipment, staff being pulled from units just as busy and short as the one they are pulled to. I think we nurses need to write a book on "how to be a good patient". Most of us are in it for the right reason but verbal and yes physical abuse was not one of the reasons. I think we are all "fried"

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    erdiane

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    all I want is equipment that works (and I can FIND it). Enough nurses to do our job the way it was meant to be done, and compensation for the extremely hard PROFESSIONAL work that we do. They can take their cards & flowers & save their money for the important things.

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    dansdoodles

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I liked the article, and going to give it to my supervisor. Dont know if will go anywhere from there, but have to start somewhere. I work in a hospital that at first was different from others, they seemed to really care about their nurses. But something has changed, and doesnt feel the same anymore, We are understaffed(as I know others are too), but when you come on a shift and you are to get an assignment of 7 patients and the shift is still young and more admitts are coming, how do you keep the SPIRIT UP? I have tried talking to my superiors and no resulfs, yet. I love being a nurse, but am FRIED. Any suggestions from out there?

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