Promising Practices for

Improving Staff Satisfaction and Retention



Reducing turnover and vacancies are keys to improving patient and staff satisfaction. Health professions such as nurses and other front line care providers play a central role in ensuring the quality and safety of patient care and can help lead improvement efforts to redesign and improve care processes and systems. To operate at full capacity, hospitals and health systems need to retain and recruit these professionals to function effectively.

Quick Facts

  • Most of the country’s inpatient care is delivered in medical/surgical units where an estimated 35 to 40 percent of unexpected hospital deaths occur, and where nurse turnover is the highest.
  • Nurses and other frontline staff can help lead efforts to reduce adverse events and unanticipated deaths, reduce harm from falls and improve reliability of evidence-based care.

More from Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q)

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Aligning Forces for Quality

Latest: Staff Satisfaction and Retention

Using Peer Review Office Visits to Overcome Clinical Inertia and Reduce Disparities

June 7, 2011

Westside Health Services instituted the concurrent peer review (CPR) visit, a structured, one-time 30-minute office visit conducted by a clinician peer.

Perfecting Patient Communication By Optimizing the Nurse Call System

May 13, 2010

Staff developed new process to improve utilization and functionally of hospitals call system that patents use to request assistance from nurses.

Improving Staff Satisfaction and Patient Care by Creating an Electronic Change-of-Shift Report

June 4, 2008

Staff created a simple, electronic reporting system using Excel that nurses update with pertinent patient and treatment information at any time during their shift.

Emergency Department Nurse Recruitment and Retention

June 4, 2008

A team was assembled to develop an initiative to improve nurse recruitment and retention, including internal and external recruitment strategies, comprehensive training, and a mentoring program for new ED nurses.

Real-Time Care Planning

June 4, 2008

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System, in Watertown, S.D., developed a patient care planning process that meets regulatory standards but excludes a written report to decrease the amount of time nurses spend on documentation.

Redesigning Equipment to Reduce Time Wasted and Increase Time Spent at Bedside

June 4, 2008

The goal of this intervention is to reduce the amount of staff time spent hunting for and gathering supplies and equipment and increase the amount of time spent at the bedside with patients

Flowchart Setup Report

June 4, 2008

In order to improve the process, a new role was created for a resource nurse and the traditional charge nurse role was eliminated.

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