How to retain healthcare staff

Though we may feel like the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, we’re still feeling its impact on the industry. Between the first two years of the pandemic, more than 600 registered and licensed nurses left long-term care or community health agencies. Nursing vacancies are at an all time high, with over 34,000 positions available.

With so many healthcare professionals considering leaving the industry, or already having left, it’s more important than ever for your organization to focus on retaining staff members. We’re going to walk through some of the reasons why staff retention is key to your organization’s success.

Continuity of care

Residents of your long-term care organizations will naturally build relationships with the healthcare professionals who are taking care of them. Whether it’s daily direct care, or interacting with staff on a casual basis during activities and meal time, residents want to know they can trust the healthcare professionals involved in their care.

If staff are developing meaningful relationships with the residents, they too will get more out of their day-to-day work and will be less inclined to leave. Work can be challenging, but the working environment and people we surround ourselves with can help ensure we have more positive experiences than not. They’re an important deciding factor when it comes to staying at an organization or choosing to leave.

Company culture

One of the best ways to retain staff is to build a strong company culture that people don’t want to leave. The last thing you want is for your organization to become a revolving door when it comes to staff. You need the members of your team to formulate relationships with each other as well as your residents. If staff are leaving regularly, this will become challenging.

Company culture comes from the top-down. If you create a workplace of respect, trust, inclusivity, opportunity and positivity, there’s a good chance that your company culture will be one that healthcare professionals will want to participate in. Strong staff morale will be a byproduct of a positive company culture.

An important part of a strong company culture is recognizing achievements in your team. A culture of recognition fosters employee motivation, engagement and generally, a positive work environment. When staff receive regular recognition and appreciation for their work and contributions, it boosts morale, job satisfaction and overall desire to perform at a high level.

Recognized staff are more likely to stay loyal to your organization, leading to increased retention rates and a more stable workplace. A culture of recognition also promotes teamwork, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose. All of these things are key to creating a strong company culture that attracts and retains talent.

Quality training

This one might seem obvious, but if you invest in properly training your staff, not only will they feel prepared for their role, but they’ll also know your healthcare organization values their own and the residents’ wellbeing.

Long-term care facilities also need to prioritize resident safety and risk management. Training programs educate staff members on important safety protocols, infection control measures, fall prevention strategies, emergency response procedures and proper use of equipment. By receiving comprehensive training up-front, staff members can create a safe and secure environment for residents.

Legal and ethical training also helps ensure that resident rights, privacy and confidentiality, abuse prevention, documentation requirements and ethical decision-making are top-of-mind and understood by staff.

By investing in training, long-term care facilities prioritize the well-being of their residents; creating an environment where staff members thrive professionally and deliver compassionate, person-centered care.

Sharing of institutional knowledge

When staff stick around for years at a time, it creates a foundation of institutional knowledge that gets shared with each new healthcare professional that joins the team. New team members shadow long term members and learn accordingly. With each long term staff member that leaves, that foundation of knowledge gets eroded, and it can negatively impact operations, decision-making processes and continuity of care.

Long-term care homes specifically are also subject to Long-Term Care Home Quality Inspection (LQIP) inspections, which are unannounced inspections. If you have staff members that stick around, it’s more likely than not that these inspections will go smoothly, as everyone will have a strong understanding of their role and responsibilities from past inspections.

If your healthcare organization is a revolving door of staff members, your LQIP inspection may not go as well, and the negative implications of a bad inspection rating are damaging. We’ve actually put together a handbook to help you get ready for the LQIP inspections.

Recruiting and reputation

Recruiting is a necessary part of running a healthcare organization. Staff will naturally leave and need to be replaced for the most part. That said, if you’re constantly in a state of recruiting for new staff, a perception will arise that your organization cannot retain its staff. People in the industry will chatter, or they’ll draw their own conclusions as to why that is. Either way, it will have a negative impact on your reputation and that’s a tough obstacle to overcome.

Moreover, recruiting is both a time consuming and costly process. While it’s important to maintain the right amount of staff required to properly run the business, recruiting can be a major distraction if it isn’t someone’s full time job, or an expensive process if this function is outsourced or even brought in-house.

So, if your healthcare organization focuses on creating a strong company culture, provides high quality training to new healthcare professionals and long term staff members, and encourages the sharing of institutional knowledge, you’ll have a much better chance at retaining staff. In turn, your residents will receive better quality care, which is ultimately what matters most.

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.