The physical demands of nursing are great, especially for older nurses. To alleviate these burdens—and help reduce turnover among veteran nurses—several health care systems in the “Wisdom at Work: Retaining Experienced Nurses” study implemented ergonomic initiatives to help nurses lift patients and heavy equipment. Administrators at hospitals evaluated in the study purchased special ergonomic equipment, employed lift teams and hired nurse “ergonomists” to help ensure safe patient handling.
The initiatives contributed to improved morale among experienced nurses and cut expenses associated with work-related injuries, the study found. And although these efforts did not lead to an overall drop in turnover rates at all hospitals evaluated, one hospital nearly halved turnover rates among experienced nurses thanks to its ergonomic initiatives, and others reported that nurses took fewer days off due to injuries.