Creative Benefits to Recruit and Retain Nurses
Linda Childers | Monster Contributing Writer
“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.”
Onsite Degree Programs
At Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, nurses enjoy working in an academic medical center that fosters innovation and puts them on the forefront of cutting-edge research.
Since the medical center is adjacent to Stanford University, nurses enjoy a number of university perks in addition to their standard employment benefits. The Work/Life office helps nurses identify childcare options and offers guidance on elder-care responsibilities and adoption assistance.
Packard also promotes further education by offering onsite master’s- and bachelor’s-degree programs for nurses, tuition reimbursement, scholarships and flexible scheduling to support nurses who want to continue their education.
The hospital introduced a shared governance model in 2006, in which clinical nurses have a voice in determining nursing practice, standards and quality of care.
Making Life Easier
Some hospitals have also started offering more work/life balance options to their nurses.
“We offer a variety of part-time shifts and eight- and 12-hour shifts to better accommodate [nurses’] needs,” says Sharron Hadick, RN, BSN, MPA, nurse recruitment program manager for Packard.
At Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center, employees can tap free concierge services for help with dinner reservations, car repairs, mailing packages, catering and event planning, picking up and dropping off dry cleaning, and lawn and garden care. The organization offers the concierge services to all of its 3,000 employees and 300 physicians as a gesture of appreciation.
“If you want to attend a dinner and play in San Francisco after work, the concierge service can make your reservations,” says Kathy Sommese, a clinical nurse supervisor for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland.
Sommese has also taken advantage of the employee health-club membership and tuition benefits. She is currently pursuing her BSN in an online degree program and regularly works out at a fitness club, paying a discounted rate.
“We also get discounted tickets to a number of local attractions,” Sommese says. “I bought tickets to Disneyland at a substantial discount and took my sons there last summer.”
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