It's more important than ever for frontline nurses to be engaged in their work, committed to their organization's mission, and capable of delivering high-quality care in a complex and constantly changing environment.
This report identifies the unique challenges of engaging nurses and equips nurse leaders with five strategies for building a highly engaged workforce.
Nurse engagement increasingly critical—but falling short
Among all frontline staff, nurses are the least engaged—a troubling situation for the largest segment of the health care workforce. The fact that 7.4% of RNs are disengaged becomes even more disturbing when you consider the critical role nurses will need to play in care transformation.
It is now more important than ever for frontline nurses to be engaged in their work, committed to their organization’s mission, and capable of delivering high-quality care in a complex and constantly changing environment.
Today's most promising opportunities to improve engagement
Most organizations try to improve engagement using well-trodden, generic practices that originated in a more straightforward operating environment—tactics that fail to address the challenges posed by a rapidly transforming health care landscape.
To identify the most powerful strategies for driving engagement in today's rapidly transforming market, we analyzed The Advisory Board Company's National Engagement Database. It contains more than 300,000 respondents at 250 health care organizations.
Based on this analysis, we isolated five solvable challenges that have the greatest running room for increasing engagement, along with ways to address them. We emerged with 15 best practices to help nurse leaders meaningfully improve nurse engagement.
15 best practices for improving nurse engagement
Translate Market Forces into Frontline Terms
- Executives host unit-based, town hall forums
- Staff nurse liaison relays information from senior leaders back to peers
- Interactive exercise shows managers how adverse events affect unit budgets
- System identifies, addresses rumors circulating among frontline staff
Rationalize the Flow of Change
- Limiting organization-wide emails helps minimize change fatigue
- Email color coding indicates priority level
- Change events calendar maximizes awareness, minimizes overlap
Pursue Quality Ideas Over Quantity
- Structured idea submission form focuses suggestions on organizational challenges
- Frontline staff asked to not only identify challenges but also suggest solutions
- Idea progress board allows daily vetting, tracking of potential process improvements
Build Meaningful Recognition into Leaders' Workflow
- Frontline recognition kit equips managers to mail staff hand-written notes
- Special staff rewards, recognition triggered by specific performance criteria
- Weekly organization-wide email recognizes individual/team achievements
Broaden Access to Nontraditional Development Opportunities
- Have staff members build customized professional development portfolios
- Internally train high-potential staff and backfill with new hires to reduce costs
Next, Check Out
5 nurse engagement strategies for today's health care environment