How to Keep Nursing Staff Motivated and Engaged

How to Keep Nursing Staff Motivated and Engaged

Shane Parker, RN
Co-founder and Chief Nursing Officer

As a nurse, it’s easy to become burned out. Whether it’s because of a staff shortage or long working hours, nurses can become overwhelmed with their workload and lose motivation to provide quality care. In fact, a study done in 2012 took a look at responses from 95,499 nurses and found that 34 percent of respondents who worked in a hospital felt burned out in their job, while 24 percent said they were dissatisfied in their current position.

In order to maintain quality patient care, it’s important to do your part to prevent nurses from feeling this way. By making an effort to keep nurses motivated and engaged, you can improve your overall success as a healthcare provider.

Show Understanding and Let Your Nurses Do Their Jobs

You know how tough it is to be a nurse on the floor. Just because you’re now in management, doesn’t mean the job has gotten any easier. Show your nurses that you know how tough it is. Listen to their complaints and try to affect change that will make their daily lives easier. Studies done by the Harvard Business Review confirm that this is a key principle of keeping employees engaged and focused on their job.

On that same note, give your nurses a little bit of autonomy. Chances are, they will be able to work just fine without management breathing down their neck. If your nurses feel stifled by bureaucracy, chances are they’ll put in less effort and start looking for jobs where they can have more freedom.

Match Them With Positions That Fit Their Talents

Not every nurse is great at needle sticks. However, there are some that truly excel at finding even the most invisible veins. Instead of giving this job to a person who has no desire or skill to do it, give it to the person who is practiced and proficient. Unfortunately, the Harvard Business Review estimates that only five percent of employees in the general workforce are in tenured positions that allow them to use their skills. However, these employees were found to perform 18 percent better than average employees and 35 percent better than an employee who isn’t engaged, talented, or tenured.

Provide Positive Feedback

Words are more powerful than you may realize, especially in the workplace. Even simple pleasantries such as “thank you” and “please” can go a long way in helping your nurses feel valued and worthwhile. Even better, instead of always providing reprimanding when mistakes are made, start focusing on the good things your nurses do on a daily basis. As you know, being a nurse is emotionally draining and some days, it can feel like nothing goes right. By offering encouragement, they’ll know you care and stay more optimistic.

One way to accomplish this is to schedule a weekly meeting with each nurse to offer personalized feedback on their performance. This will allow you to gently correct sub-par work while still fostering positive relationships.

Offer Extrinsic Motivation

Nurses have to have intrinsic motivation, as the occupation centers around helping people heal in a challenging environment. However, to keep these intrinsic levels raised, it doesn’t hurt to also provide extrinsic motivation. While you may not have the budget for monetary incentives, even small things like offering gift cards or a fancy dinner for the top performing nurses can motivate them to work harder and provide better care.

By choosing to enact some of these principles in your workplace, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your staff motivated and engaged even during rough patches.

Read More:

Balancing Patient Care and Staff Management – A Nursing Leader’s Perspective

How to Become a Nurse Leader

Communication Without Frustration

Fostering a Culture of Nurse Leadership

Healthcare Staff Scheduling. Developed by Nurses for Nurses.

ShiftWizard makes nurse scheduling and communication easy, so you can focus on what really matters---improving patient outcomes.