It’s no secret that nurses are central to the operation of any medical facility. Not only do they facilitate patient care, but they also play a crucial role in the overall operation of the facility behind the scenes. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing nurse shortage, SNFs, hospitals, and other facilities have had to operate with glaring staffing gaps. If you’re one of those facilities, you know the story. Until facilities are able to bounce back, it’s more important than ever to maximize the skill set of every single nurse working at your facility. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly how to do that.
1. Recognize nurses' talents and put them to use
Nurses are a talented group of individuals with a wide range of skills. From patient care to administrative duties, nurses are capable of handling a wide variety of tasks. By recognizing the talents of your nurses, you can put them to use in the most efficient way possible.
If a particular nurse is exceptionally skilled at bedside care, they can be assigned to a unit where they will have the most impact. Similarly, if a nurse is good at multitasking and has strong organizational skills, he or she can be put in charge of coordinating the activities of the nursing staff.
2. Develop a system that allows nurses to rotate through different departments
Another way to maximize nurses' talents is to develop a system that allows for free rotation. By exposing nurses to other areas of the facility, they will gain a better understanding of how the entire operation works. Additionally, this will allow them to develop new skills and knowledge that can be utilized in their current position.
For instance, if a nurse has an interest in behind-the-scenes operations, allow him or her to see how the billing, coding, or insurance teams operate. Through this exposure to different departments, that nurse will be able to develop a well-rounded skill set that can be used in any number of situations.
3. Encourage nurses to mentor and train new staff members
As nurses gain experience, they develop a wealth of knowledge and skills that can be passed on to new staff members. Mentoring and training new staff members is an excellent way for nurses to share their talents with others while also expanding their own skill set.
Mentoring relationships can be developed informally, or medical facilities can formalize the process by establishing mentorship programs. In either case, it is crucial to encourage nurses to take on this responsibility to share their talents with the next generation of medical professionals.
4. Promote creativity and innovation among nurses
Nurses are a creative and innovative group of individuals. They are always looking for new ways to improve the care that they provide to patients. To promote creativity and innovation among nurses, medical facilities must create an environment that encourages these activities.
One way to do this is to provide nurses with opportunities to present their personal ideas. This can be done through regular meetings or by establishing a process in which nurses can submit their ideas for review by senior management.
Another way to promote creativity and innovation is to encourage nurses to participate in research projects. By allowing nurses to contribute to the body of knowledge in their field, they will be more likely to develop new and pioneering ways of providing care.
In doing so, medical facilities can ensure that their nurses are constantly working to improve care quality and efficiency.
5. Reward nurses for their hard work
Nurses work hard to provide the best possible care for their patients. So, they deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Facilities can do this in the following ways:
- Provide nurses with opportunities for advancement. You may be surprised by how many nurses would be open to taking on additional responsibilities for the facility.
- Offer financial incentives for those nurses who stand out amongst the rest. This can be done by offering them bonuses or hourly raises.
- Allowing high-performing nurses to choose their schedules whenever it's feasible.
By rewarding nurses for their hard work, you can ensure they remain motivated to continue putting their best foot forward.
6. Nurses should be encouraged to continue learning and expanding their knowledge base
Nurses are life-long learners. So, they should be encouraged to continue learning and expanding their knowledge base throughout their careers. Here’s how to do it.
You can provide nurses with opportunities to attend educational programs. This can be done by offering tuition reimbursement or providing nurses with paid time off to attend classes.
In addition to that, facilities can subscribe to nursing journals and distribute them digitally or physically to nurses. They can also provide nurses with access to a library of online resources in their field.
By encouraging nurses to constantly pursue knowledge, medical facilities can ensure that their nurses are always up-to-date on the latest developments in their field.
7. Ensure that nurses aren't overworked.
Bogged down, stressed-out nurses cannot perform efficiently. Therefore, it's essential for medical facilities to ensure that nurses are not overworked. That way, they can do their best work.
To do this, facility management should monitor their nurses’ workloads regularly. Tracking the hours nurses work each week and the amount of time they spend on each patient can also be helpful.
Another way to prevent nurse exhaustion is to maintain adequate staffing levels. You’ve got to have enough nurses on staff to handle the workload in a given department. With the current nursing shortage, keeping enough nurses on hand can be difficult, so we recommend getting in good with a reputable nurse staffing agency. They can help supplement your in-house staff and ensure that your nurses are never overworked.
These are just a few ways medical facilities can maximize their nurses' talents. By implementing these strategies, facilities everywhere can ensure that their nurses' talents are utilized to their fullest potential. We wish you the best as you weather the healthcare worker shortage and make important decisions to keep your facility humming.