Increase Nurse Engagement and Alignment Using Tangible Data

Guest Contributorby Brittney Wilson | Posted | Engagement

Increase Nurse Engagement and Alignment Using Tangible Data

Nurses are constantly asked to do more with less, meet changing regulatory demands, and change their method of doing things. Most nurses take this in stride, and despite their frustration will usually comply without asking a lot of questions.

However, they're usually frustrated by being asked to adapt to changes without seeing the evidence to support the changes, understanding the full scope and effect of the changes, or being involved in the planning of these changes.

Many administrators forget to consider that the best way to get nurses on board with new initiatives or organizational goals is to show them tangible data that supports the change.

Generation Y expects more data...

Every generation of nurses has different expectations of their employers. In the past the security of a stable job may have been enough to quiet the masses but nurses from Generation Y expect a little more.

This is not to say that they expect special treatment, more than their coworkers, or unrealistic things. It simply means that Generation Y nurses are constantly asking "Why?"

The Google generation of nurses has grown up with more access to data and are more connected than any generation before them. They've been taught to question, research, and confirm the information they are given.

So to give a Generation Y nurse a task to complete without giving them the research to support it, the results associated with putting it in place, or the rationale for changing from the old method is akin to putting them in a boat without a paddle. They might be able to float along, but they aren't going to get where they need to go very quickly.

Data improves nurse engagement and retention

Rosabeth Kanter's theory of Organizational Empowerment states that "empowerment is promoted in work environments that provide employees with access to information, resources, support, and the opportunity to learn and develop."

This means that employees who have access to more information and the resources they need to do their jobs are happier, more competent and more committed employees. More information can support higher nurse engagement.

This empowerment leads to increased staff retention and allows for more opportunities to reward employees with events or tokens of appreciation because the healthcare organization isn't having to foot the bill for constantly training new staff.

Research shows that the "average cost of replacing an RN ranges from about $22,000 to over $64,000." Think of how much better the gifts for nurses' week would be if you could add that type of money to the budget.

Maintaining accreditation standards

In order to maintain accreditation standards it's important to track the licensure of your nurses as well as yearly clinical competencies and education. One of the best ways to track this information is through talent management software.

The benefit? Nursing managers can use integrated reporting and data automation to ensure that minimum standards for nurse training are met. This data can easily be provided to auditors at will, as well as shared with staff to keep them abreast of their own education and competency needs.

Share the data for better change management

Healthcare organizations have the data to support the changes that they ask nurses to make every day. However, many of them neglect to share this with the front line staff.

The best way to encourage nurses to meet the organization's goals is through transparency, communication, and tangible data. A nurse shouldn't have to guess the reasons they are being asked to make changes in their practice. This information should be actively shared by their employer.

Your turn: What suggestions do you have to improve the sharing of important data with nurses and drive up nurse engagement?

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