Addressing the Needs of Staff Nurses
Information and Incentives
Often nurses feel inadequate or unprepared to work on a different unit. Providing skills labs and orientation sessions can go a long way to help nurses feel more comfortable in floating. Posting maps on units to point out where supplies and other basics are kept can help to ease the feelings of being “lost.” Each unit develops a culture of its own and providing an informal guide to whoʼs who on the units can also help to ease some of the tensions.
Sometimes small incentives can make nurses feel that their efforts to be team players are appreciated. Partnering with local business can promote mutually beneficial opportunities. Movie tickets or coupons for two free drinks an popcorn at the theaters; discounts on such basics such as dry cleaning, groceries, drug store purchases and gasoline; and even just a “get out of jail” card good for saying no to floating after a nurse floats 2-3 times in a row, can take some of the sting out of this commonly distasteful process.
Listen to the Nurses
If poor working conditions are causing nurses to quit or to call off frequently, then the administration needs to take a careful look at themselves and how they can better handle the situation. What do the nurses want and need? It isnʼt always salaries and benefits. Most of the time itʼs primarily recognition for the job well done! Again, a simple “please” and “thank you” can go a long way to improve the situation along with a few “bravos”!
Managers need to learn to invite the nursing staff to be a part of the solution. Ask for their ideas. Donʼt make it a time to vent frustrations, but rather a time to come with their ideas for solutions to the problems. Set ground rules for everyone that this is not a place for pointing fingers in any direction, nor for formulating retaliations.
Brainstorm together and let the staff have some of the ownership of the problems as well as the solutions. Keep the mood positive, and come ready to listen, and be willing to work together to make your facility a place where nurses want to work. Thank the staff for their input and participation.