Louisiana hospitals prepare for the nursing shortage

Nurse Leader Insider, March 9, 2017

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The Louisiana State Board of Nursing predicts the state will have 1,700 unfilled registered nurse positions in 2020; so local hospitals are coming up with new strategies to attract and retain staff.

The key factor behind the projected shortage lies in the aging Baby Boomer population, as they retire from healthcare and move from provider to patient as they begin to require more medical care. This makes attracting new nurses vital for keeping up with population demands.

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and Baton Rouge General Medical Center in south Louisiana are focusing their efforts on retaining the talented staff that have. According to the journal Nursing Economic$, 30 to 50 percent of new registered nurses change jobs or leave the field within their first three years of practice. To counter that, Our Lady of the Lake is offering experienced nurses a $10,000 signing bonus for committing to a two-year contract. Baton Rouge is making a push for better equipment to make their nurses’ job easier; they bought additional bladder scanners so nurses wouldn’t have to waste time finding available machines, and they are installing equipment to help nurses when lifting patients and prevent injuries.

In addition to retention, Louisiana hospitals are working to improve their education and training programs to keep young nurses. They embed educators and training staff to work alongside bedside nurses to keep educating them throughout their career. They are now offering nursing technician jobs to students so they can get hands-on learning and form relationships even before the nurse graduates.

To learn more about new nurses and retention strategies, check out the resources below from the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading room:

What to know about New Nurses: Tips for getting and keeping RNs in a rural hospital

Nurse educators plot retention strategies

The nursing shortage? It's complicated

Time to focus on rural nurse staffing

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