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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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    kathyswarthout

    over 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

    over 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

    over 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

    over 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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    yneone

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I work in the Administrative Offices of a public health facility. This is a very good article, very creative ideas. Love it! I especially like the comments made by (you) nurses. Nice to hear a different perspective. In public health, we have much less resources and a budget that barely meets demand. It is nice to hear about what really appeals to you. i have forwarded this link to all of the Division Managers because I think this will give them insight to what we might possibly do differently. It is so hard attracting clients to work in Public Health. We are in dire need of Public Health Nurses.

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    justinenursing

    almost 7 years ago

    238 comments

    I think that this is trully a blessing. when was the last time someone in vp gave flowers to u. I gess for me it's the little things that count, I haveing worked in the medical field for some time know and I know first hand it is hard to find a job where you can fell appreciated.

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    tdjrn

    almost 7 years ago

    6 comments

    I beleive management need to be able to look at all of us as humans , show a little respect, and maybea pat on the back a little more often. Signings bonuses are nice , but I feel a good thank you can go along way. They just need to make us feel appreciated.

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    Account Removed

    almost 7 years ago

    I reread what I posted theala and I said, although flowers etc are nice, they certainly are not necessary and could care less about them

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    vickielee1970

    almost 7 years ago

    808 comments

    As with most of you, a card on my birthday means little as do flowers. Making it easier for me to deal with the daily stress we all encounter and giving me a positive work environment, those are the perks we all would appreciate. I work for public health and although we have our problems, the reason I have stayed at my present job for 11 years is the family atmosphere our health district has always tried to promote. We encourage each other, we grieve with each other and we stand together. My work takes up a large chunk of my life, therefore many of my friends are work friends. These men and women have been instrumental in my sucess. They have had my back. I had theirs. I could never put a price tag on the advice and encouragement I have received. I have raised a daughter, survived bumps in my marriage, faced losing both parents, going back to school and so many day to day obstacles with these people. Our relationships at work can either enrich or sour our lives. A company that encourages us to enrich our lives and relationships will always have loyal employees. Finally someone has an idea that works!

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    theala

    almost 7 years ago

    418 comments

    Char, that's a great idea for that agency. Visits puts a lot of wear and tear on a car. I drove a car delivering pizzas when I was in college. I drove it into the ground.

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    DaMomb

    almost 7 years ago

    1242 comments

    I'm sending this article to my supervisor. I know it'll probably stop there, but it's worth a shot. I think this company has the fast track to success for nurses cornered! Finally, someone who listens!

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    charlita

    almost 7 years ago

    2976 comments

    This is a wonderful way to attract nurses and to keep them. I recently posted an article on a local Home Health agency that is furnishing it's nurses with a brand new car for their home visits for as long as they are employed. They also pay for the maintemance of the car. I think this is a wonderful incentive.

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    theala

    almost 7 years ago

    418 comments

    That's how to retain nurses. Make them feel valued, and listen to them. Help them make living in the 21st century easier while working long, hard shifts. dmazement: well, the flowers and cards mean less to me than the effort of the CEO and VP of Nursing actually making a real effort to connect with staff. How many CEO's come into the hospital EVERY Christmas? The CEO of the last hospital I worked for required EVERY employee to work part of Christmas Day. That made things hard on empolyees who had to travel to visit family on Christmas, including me as I have a 5 hour drive so Christmas was a bust for me. The CEO and managers got to spend the entire day with family, or travel if they wished. Employees were not allowed to take vacation.

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    Account Removed

    almost 7 years ago

    I think it's about time, facilities actually realize to retain nurses is to create a healthy work environment, excellent retirement and insurance benefits, flexible shifts, tuition reimbursement and for those with children onsite child care. I could care less about flowers, birthday cards etc, although nice is not necessary to me.

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