Reducing Nursing Turnover Rates in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Kim Carmignani, MSN, RNC-NIC, PCN, NEA-BC, Debbie Gist, BSN, RNC-NIC, Andria Hatfield, BSN, RN, CNML, Sarah Sweeney, BSN, RNC-NIC, Rebecca Weber, BSN, RNC-NIC, Victoria Pierson, BSN, RNC-NIC, Velesha Holliday, MSN, MJ, Brooke Schwarz, MSN, CNL
Nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at RUMC provide the highest level of care for our critically ill neonates. The workload required to care for these patients is challenging both physically and emotionally, leading to high stress levels and increased turnover for nursing staff.
NICU nurses have been involved in multiple initiatives to improve staff engagement and job satisfaction to ultimately reduce nurse turnover.
One initiative was using the Schedule Advisory Committee (SAC) as a forum where nurses can discuss schedule concerns and implement changes to improve work/life balance. Through SAC, staff nurses created initiatives to improve PTO distribution and utilization, decrease weekend requirements, and move all rotating staff to day shift, which occurred in the fall of 2018.
Another initiative included peer support and increased recognition. Each new nurse in the NICU is paired with a mentor (in addition to their preceptor) to introduce them to the NICU environment after orientation. Mentor/mentee pairs meet several times a month to ensure a supportive environment and varied clinical experiences, as well as to assist with setting and achieving goals.
Based on staff feedback, the program was changed to focus on face-to-face meetings and goal-setting. The FRESH committee recognized the importance of meaningful recognition from colleagues, and they nominated nineteen nurses for hospital-wide awards in 2018 and 2019. Quarterly unit-based awards were created to recognize new and seasoned nurses who go above and beyond to meet the needs of the unit, their peers, and patients and families.