The cover story of the July 3, 2006, edition of Nurseweek examines hospitals' greater emphasis on retaining experienced nurses. The article also highlights findings from “Wisdom at Work: The Importance of the Older and Experienced Nurse in the Workplace,” an RWJF report that offers strategies that hospitals may use to make nursing attractive to and supportive of older nurses.
According to Susan B. Hassmiller, R.N., Ph.D., F.A.A.N., senior program officer at RWJF, “It's important to recruit new nurses in, but we have to find a way to keep them.” Hassmiller describes some of the creative ways hospitals are retaining experienced nurses on their staff, including flexible scheduling to alleviate the stresses associated with 12-hour shifts. Physical design changes to the workplace, such as improved lighting and patient lifts, are also being implemented.
The article also profiles three nurses who have worked in hospital nursing for 60 years, 46 years and 34 years. The nurses cite camaraderie among nursing staff and opportunities for educational support as the reasons they have remained in the hospital for as long as they have.