How Nurse Leaders and Employers Can Foster Resilient Nurses
Building Nurse Retention at Your Senior Care Facility
The nursing professionals that work in your senior care facility are challenged every single day. In any given moment, they can be tested physically and emotionally. Amplify these daily challenges by the unprecedented impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and it is not hard to understand why fostering resilience among your nursing staff is difficult.
Last month, we discussed how nursing professionals can become more resilient. Now, we would like to explore how nurse leaders and employers can play a role in helping nurses to build their personal resilience.
A June 2018 article in Nursing Management® journal titled “Building Nurse Resilience” overviewed how leaders and employers can decrease factors that cause nurses to become dissatisfied in their roles and, instead, help nurses strengthen their resilience. We find it to be particularly timely for those in health care given COVID-19 and its challenges on our nursing professionals over the past 8 months. The article states three primary factors that lead nurses to experience job satisfaction: compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burnout.
Compassion fatigue usually occurs when a nurse is handling a high volume of patients and dealing with a high level of trauma on a daily basis. If a nurse is experiencing compassion fatigue, he or she is likely to also be experiencing a form of secondary trauma, which can lead to sleeplessness and anxiety. All of this leads to burnout. When a nurse experiences burnout, he or she may not be delivering consistent, high-quality patient care—not only putting patients at risk, but increasing the likelihood of job dissatisfaction and turnover.
How can employers and nurse leaders reduce those factors that lead to job dissatisfaction and, ultimately, improve the resiliency of their nurses to better handle daily challenges?
- Provide educational opportunities. While there are formal education programs, you may also consider bringing in a local expert to speak on the topic of self care and building resilience. Make sure your nursing staff understands the signs of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burnout so that they can speak up early if they need extra support and resources. Help them find ways of self care and strategies to improve their resilience.
- Recognize the efforts of your nurses. The Nursing Management® article discussed focusing on “meaningful recognition,” which is certainly important but may be difficult to do on a regular basis. Remember that recognition can be as simple as personally thanking a nurse who had a particularly hard day or went above and beyond for a patient. Let your nursing staff know you value them and they are making a difference for their patients.
- Promote social support opportunities. While COVID-19 certainly restricts social gatherings for the time being, find innovative ways to connect your nursing staff. Consider facilitating group gatherings that allow nurses to share and bond over their experiences. Giving nurses an outlet can help prevent the factors that lead to job dissatisfaction.
If we can offer additional ideas or support for you as you guide your nurses in becoming more resilient, please do not hesitate to reach out.