Nursing

Nurse retention through meditation

Nurse Leader Insider, September 24, 2007

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There's no doubt that nurses are hot--in hot demand, that is. In fact, The Institute for Policy Research estimates that 8.5% of nursing positions in the United States are unfilled. That percentage is projected to triple by 2020. What can hospitals and healthcare organizations do to keep nurses, especially a newly licensed nurse, on the job?

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Nursing, the top two priorities for hospitals to address the retention issue are improving nursing management and taking steps to reduce on-the-job stress. The latter is of particular importance. Given the nursing shortage, nurses who are on the job frequently have to work long hours, striving to provide quality care for a large number of patients or residents. The high level of stress working in this type of environment leads to discouragement, burnout, and staff turnover.

How can nurses (and individuals in general) ease the stress? One simple idea is to meditate.

Especially during hectic times, learning how to quiet the mind and focus on a peaceful thought lowers stress. Meditation teaches focus, which is just the antidote for this busy and sometimes chaotic, multi-tasking world.

Whatever healthcare position we find ourselves in, be it hospital administrator, staff, patient, or family of the patient, the application of relaxation techniques can be a tremendous help to all concerned. Even hospital outreach efforts as simple as creating designated "quiet areas" and making meditation books and CD-listening kiosks available in waiting rooms can help to create a holistic atmosphere that can go a long way toward blending the physical and emotional needs of people in the most stressful health-related situations.

Editor's Note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "Can meditation lead to retention?" featured in the Reading Room on HCPro's new online resource center, www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com!



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