The R&R Behind High Turnover Rates in Healthcare (Recruitment and Retention)



Healthcare turnover rates are a serious concern to those leaders in the healthcare industry. From hospitals to clinics to physician’s offices there seems to be an inordinately high number of staff who work for a bit then leave and go elsewhere. Healthcare is labor-driven and the success of any facility or practice is highly dependent on a cohesive team of workers. From those in the C-suites all the way to the part-time patient care, there must be a show of mutual respect and cohesiveness and that can’t really happen when there seems to be a revolving door in front of the HR office.

So, what to do? Is it possible to stem healthcare turnover rates and retain a well-balanced and bonded staff? First healthcare facilities and physicians offices must review the reasons for higher healthcare turnover rates. Only then can they determine strategies for recruiting and retaining those employees who will help achieve success in patient care.


Reasons For High Turnover in Medical Facilities

  • Relationships: In order for a group of people to work together in a cohesive manner, with a common goal toward successful patient management and care, trust is essential. Building that trust can only come from mutual respect and support; Being able to count on one another. That being stated, it’s not a pre-requisite for team members to be best friends for life. Sometimes close relationships among colleagues can become somewhat “adolescent” in nature, excluding others and giving the appearance of fraternization and undermining coworkers. Even if there is nothing of the sort, trust can be broken. The best way to avoid this problem is by monitoring staff members and offering frequent employee satisfaction surveys to stay ahead of the issue.


  • Staffing Issues: There are many reasons staffing issues can arise and cause healthcare turnover rates to increase. Understaffing causes burnout, while overstaffing-a rare event indeed-can lead to too many cancelled shifts and the appearance of disorganization. The ideal solution when it comes to conquering staffing problems is to invest in a software program that allows your shift-working staff to schedule themselves, within certain parameters, of course. Additionally staffing software can provide vital data to HR and management, such as the patient assignments for each nurse, preventing a feeling among staff members of inequitable assignments. Your nursing staff especially will feel a better sense of control over their shift assignments, which leads to greater job satisfaction.


  • Personal: You can’t control the events in the lives of your employees that may lead them to leave their job. Though a small part of why healthcare turnover rates may be high in your practice or facility, personal reasons are a factor. Try to promote staff in a timely manner so that they will continue to see their trajectory rise. Additionally, avoid burnout due to compassion fatigue by making sure patients assigned to nursing staff are a fair mix and not the most desperately ill. Lastly, use thorough screening methods to help determine whether certain staff members are best qualified for the position they are expected to fill.


Best Approach to Recruit and Retain Quality Staff

Recruiting and retaining (R&R) quality staff is the first line of defense against rising healthcare turnover rates. Here are some tried and true methods of R&R that can help you avoid increased turnover in your facility.

  • Recruit thoughtfully. Cast a wide net. This may mean working through a national recruiter and using a staffing agency. This can help you facility recruit a wider variety of talent and a more diverse array of staff members to suit your patient’s needs.


  • Retain by following up strong recruiting with equally strong retention plans. Introduce a mentoring program so that new hires won’t feel lost, even after intense training. Monitor satisfaction of all employees and keep staff in the loop with regular meetings.


  • In order for retention to be successful you must stay engaged with your staff members. You can ensure employee satisfaction via promotions, recognition, and opportunities for advanced training that they can take with them should they decide to leave, but will entice them to stay.


  • Offer opportunities for your employees to get away from the job environment and relax. Host an all day in-service that includes lunch, promotes health via yoga or meditation, and includes a little employee pampering. Let your staff know how much you value them.

Slow Healthcare Turnover Rates and Improve Patient Satisfaction

Keeping your employees satisfied with their career, and career trajectory, is the key to retaining quality staff members and significantly lowering the healthcare turnover rates in your hospital, clinic or medical practice. Obviously it’s not possible for your entire team to stay until retirement. There will still be many reasons a staff member moves on, from professional to personal. By learning to recognize the chief causes of healthcare turnover in your medical facility you can work on R&R to the betterment of your patient care.

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