Health Care Incentives: Targeting and Retaining Nurses

  • Nov 15, 2012

Nurse  Retention Programs Can Help Reduce Employee Turnover

ideas to help retain nurses

Nurse Retention


Austin, Texas: Many of my health care clients are looking for ways to motivate their nurses–whether it be for recruitment, retention or even referrals.

Here are some examples of how some hospitals have used nurse retention strategies to their advantage in reducing turnover.

Retaining existing nursing staff is a key objective for hospital HR departments.

A recent study calculated the advertising, training and lost productivity costs associated with adding a new nurse to a facility to total $37,000 per nurse.

The study goes on to say that nurse turnover costs have been estimated at 1.3 times the salary of a departing nurse (or higher) — so it is obvious to see why it is so crucial to increase nurse retention. 

Not only is there a real and direct costs, but with increased inefficiencies due to the missing nurse, short term staffing problems, new hire training time,  interview time, overtime for other staff members, unemployment costs, etc. — it is much less expensive to have and to implement a nurse retention program than it is not to have one.

Many retention programs are point based — where nurses can acquire points each week or month for perfect attendance.  These points can be accumulated and redeemed at the nurses discretion, so he/she can redeem each month or save for bigger and better gifts down the road–from a virtual or print gift catalog.

Additional points can be awarded for nurse of the week (or month), going to meetings and seminars, volunteering for new jobs, etc.

Instant points can also be awarded to the nurses for “catching them doing things right” — right on the spot.

Points can also be awarded on the anniversary date of their first hire– with bonus points for each three or five year milestone.

The key to nurse retention programs is for the program to be fun.

Be generous in awarding points – and always look for reasons to reward your nurses –especially at random moments to keep enthusiasm high.

Keep rewarding your nurses — so that Nurse Appreciation Day is not just a one day event.

Nurse appreciation should be a 365 day event..

Remember this fact and you can dramatically reduce your nurse turnover rate– and increase your bottom line.


  • Category: Blog, Health Care Incentives
  • Tags: employee turnover ideas, nurse incenitves, nurse retention, nursing incentive programs, retaining nurses