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Tackling the Turnover: Strategies to Reduce Nurse Exodus | E10 - Amplified RN News Show

Rebekah Dzida MSN, RN, 2023-2025 Membership Director, 2023 ANA\California Advocacy Institute Fellow and media-trained nurse, advocates for a multi-pronged strategy to retain nursing students, educators, and admin.


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Jared Fesler 0:16

Welcome to the Amplified RN News Show where we're turning up the volume on nursing news in California. I'm your host, Jared Fesler. And today we'll be diving into the topic of tackling turnover strategies for reducing nurses leaving the profession. We're joined today by ANA\California's Membership Director and media-trained nurse Rebekah Dzida. Rebekah, thank you so much for being here. Could you tell us a little bit about why you're an expert on this topic?

Rebekah Long 0:41

Thanks so much for having me, Jared. I am a masters prepared nurse. I'm an RN supervisor for urgent care at Dignity Health. And I'm an expert on this topic because I have experienced firsthand the pressures of working as a new graduate nurse with the start of the pandemic in March of 2020.

Jared Fesler 1:01

So you know, since 2020, there have been numerous reports about issues, nurses leaving the profession, can you tell us a little bit more about this problem? And what is happening? What is the breadth or extent of this issue?

Rebekah Long 1:15

So nurses are leaving the bedside at alarming rates in 2020 to 2021, there was 100,000 nurses who left the bedside and majority of those nurses were under the age of 35. And this was heightened by the stress of and pandemic, and primarily affected acute care settings as well as long term care settings across the US.

Jared Fesler 1:43

What is causing this to happen?

Rebekah Long 1:48

So there's a lot of reasons why there is a mass exodus of nurses, primarily, it's due to lack of nurse educators. And there's a lack of clinical sites and preceptors. And 1000s of nursing students every year are getting denied admissions solely because there's not enough staff to teach them how to be a nurse, as well, there is a large amount of nurses who are entering retirement and the medium, a medium age is about 50 years for the average nurse. And so about 1 million nurses are expected to retire by 2030. So there's a large need for a new influx of nurses to replace the retiring nurses. And there's also a large change in demographic, the baby boomer generation is getting older. And there's a large amount of nurses needed for geriatric care for management of chronic diseases. And there's just not enough education to provide that, that need for specific geriatric care.

Jared Fesler 3:15

It seems like a lot of burden on the academic institutions as well as the health institutions who are to address this. Do you know what either of these audiences are doing currently to address this issue?

Rebekah Long 3:29

Yes, so the nursing schools are partnering with hospital institutions, and they're creating externships. So the nursing students can work as a CNA or patient care technician, and their last semester of school so that they can get real hands on experience before they enter the workforce. And that allows the student to develop relationships with the staff members and the nurse manager so that they can receive employment as soon as they graduate rather than having to struggle to find a job after passing the NCLEX.

Jared Fesler 4:09

And still, if there's an issue with nurses entering and leaving the profession, what is the ultimate outcome or issue that is being presented?

Rebekah Long 4:25

So as a result of not having enough educators and thus not having enough students, there is a decreased availability of experienced nurses to provide care and so as a result, the current nurses are being stretched extremely thin and are quitting and ultimately, it leads to decreased patient outcomes. Patients are passing away those increased medical errors. And it just it's a streamlined effect. If there's not people are able to take care of the patients, they will receive suboptimal care.

Jared Fesler 5:06

We'd be interested to hear some more numbers on what those patient outcomes look like if they are decreasing it by how much but perhaps on a return to this episode.

Jared Fesler 5:18

What are the solutions that you are proposing to nurse educators to hospital administrators and to nursing students? What, what can they do to curb this exodus of nurses from the profession?

Rebekah Long 5:34

Definitely, in getting involved in legislature, the nursing educators can propose bills to have increased nursing, funding for skilled nursing schools. And as well as providing the hospital administration can provide tuition reimbursement because nursing school is expensive, and students are getting in to 1000s of dollars of that, in order to receive a nursing education. And if they were able to reimburse, it's an incentive to stay with a hospital, it's an incentive for them to have staff retention. And for nursing students, I would encourage them to get involved in a professional nursing organization, like ena, and where they can learn how to better advocate for nursing, as well as connects with nurses who are from older generations and really learn from them and how they were paving the way with similar issues that they struggled with during their careers. And personally, I found I've been able to connect through a California with some really amazing nurse leaders and and learn from their examples. And so that's just a way that younger nurses can really start advocating for change is getting involved in their local professional organizations.

Jared Fesler 7:12

You mentioned a lot of things that will help impact and increase pipeline of nurses through the educators for the students and their advocacy work. What are some ideas that administrators within health institutions can do to increase retention of their nurses who are already within their workforce?

Rebekah Long 7:31

So definitely having mandated ratios is one way for administration to be able to really retain staff because nurses should be taken care of 12 patients at once. And as well as tuition reimbursement is a huge one and offering referral bonuses I found in my place of employment, when there's an incentive to hire new staff. It's a encouragement to be able to hire, you know, people that you know, are comfortable with, as well as receiving a referral bonus.

Rebekah Long 8:12

And also with just supporting the staff, nurses are viewed as replaceable, and they are an expense and when budgets are cuts, nurses are the first to go. So I think just reframing their focus on supporting the nursing staff, and then they will be able to see a lot more retention. When nurses feel like they have a voice and that they have a place of support, they will be encouraged to stay and be encouraged to continue working even if it's a difficult shift.

Jared Fesler 8:48

Rebekah Dzida, thank you so much for having some time to join with us today. Incredibly important topic, but incredibly hard to pick up are all the elements that actually impact us having a supportive nursing workforce. So thank you for highlighting these issues as well as solutions where administrators, nurse educators and students would love to have you back on the show again soon to talk more about this topic. Thank you for your time as those tuning into the amplified our new show. Thank you so much, and we'll see in the next episode.

Rebekah Long 9:21

Thank you.


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