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  • Writer's pictureKelly Willis, MSN, MBA-HM

How To Increase Nursing Turnover on Your Unit!

Have you ever pondered how to retain your current nursing staff? Ever wonder what you can do better to keep them satisfied and engaged so they don't leave? These questions will not be answered with this article, instead, this article’s purpose is to describe how poor leadership enables nursing turnover to rise, thus giving the reader a glimpse of what not to do as a nurse leader.

Nursing turnover is costly. A recent estimate for direct cost per nurse turnover is on average $22,000 - $30,0000 per nurse, calculated with orientation hours, preceptor hourly differentials, education hours, and benefits accrued during orientation. In one facility where a nursing unit hired 7 new graduate nurses, 5 out of the 7 voluntarily terminated their positions within 1 year of hire, costing the facility an average of $130,000 in direct costs of 9-12 weeks of training ($22,000+$30,000/2=$26,000 * 5=$130,000).To effectively increase nursing turnover in your unit and cost your organization a great deal of money, follow the instructions/tips below.

1. Foster a culture of incivility and allow small cliques to run the unit. Don’t hold them accountable for backbiting, ignoring, belittling, and being rude and condescending.

2. Every time you, as a nurse leader, receive negative feedback about a new nurse, don’t obtain the new nurse’s story. This step is imperative, after all, the new nurse knows nothing right? Why would you want to hear from the new nurse when senior nurses always know better!!

3. When said negative feedback comes in, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT provide any coaching at all. The new nurse should have basic knowledge from nursing school and should not be making mistakes, after all, the senior nurse is always right.·     

4. When a new nurse files or reports verbally any instance of bullying or incivility, just sweep it under the rug and hope it goes away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? If the complaints go through one ear and out the other, then really was there a problem?


5. Senior management must not take voluntary nursing turnover seriously, after all, if the new nurse quits, there is always another to take his/her place. The cost of nursing turnover is not something you can see directly, therefore, when a new nurse quits, there are others to take their place.

This is a small list of things that can increase your nursing turnover rate greatly on your nursing unit immediately. By doing these things, you are surely going to see results, although not the results a good steward of resources would wish to see. Stay tuned for the next article on how to actually lower nursing turnover rate.

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