engage your nurses

How to Keep Nurses Engaged and Motivated on the Job

Nurse engagement is the measure of a nurse’s commitment to their job, their employer, and the nursing profession as a whole. Engagement on the job plays a vital role in terms of delivering quality patient-centered care. If nurses lack engagement, the quality of care the patient receives is likely to suffer. But with long hours on the job and an often chaotic, stressful work environment, keeping nurses engaged can be an uphill challenge, especially when the facility is dealing with staffing shortages, budget cuts, and a lack of resources. Learn more about the factors that contribute to nurse engagement and what it means for the healthcare industry.

What Is Nurse Engagement?

Nurse engagement isn’t just about a nurse’s overall job satisfaction; it’s also about their commitment to their employer, the healthcare facility, their patients and the nursing profession. Nurse engagement has a direct correlation to the overall quality of care patients receive and patient and staff safety. If nurses aren’t engaged on the job, the hospital will likely see a lapse in efficiency, less patient satisfaction, and more work-related injuries. If a nurse feels engaged on the job, they will be more likely to go above and beyond for their patients, perform routine procedures quickly and accurately, and be more sensitive to the patient’s needs.

Research conducted by the organization Press Ganey, a performance analytics firm in the healthcare industry, shows that around 15% of all nurses are disengaged with their profession. According to estimates, one disengaged nurse can cost a facility an average of $22,200 a year. If a facility employs thousands of nurses, these costs could add up to millions of dollars. The study also shows that nurses tend to be more engaged the farther away they are from the patient. That is, nurses that deliver bedside care to patients tend to be the least engaged, which makes it difficult for a facility to provide patient-centered care.

Signs of Nurse Disengagement

Nurses that fail to engage with their profession tend to exhibit behavior that inhibits the facility’s ability to deliver patient-centered care. They may have a poor attitude at work, which affects their ability to care for patients and listen to their concerns. Disengaged nurses may also rush through routine procedures, which increases the chances for errors. They may also suffer from compassion fatigue and nurse burnout, which affects their ability to focus on the task at hand and respond to the patient’s needs. They may show up late to work, fail to offer assistance to those in need, or fail to communicate with their peers in a timely manner.

Nurse managers should be on the lookout for these signs, so they can address these issues as they arise. They can then take steps to remediate the situation and help the nurse get back on the right track.

How to Keep Nurses Engaged on the Job

If a facility wants to improve nurse engagement, everyone will need to play a role. Staff members should be willing to speak up if they feel that one of their peers is disengaged with the job. The facility will need to do everything it can to provide nurses with the assistance they need, including advice and support for those that may be struggling with excess grief or stress on the job.

A lack of nurse engagement tends to be more common in facilities with staffing shortages. Nurses shouldn’t be made to overextend themselves on the job or work too many shifts in a row. Having a healthy work-life balance will lead to a more sustainable work environment and higher levels of nurse engagement.

Nurse engagement is a pressing issue for the nursing industry as more facilities grapple with staffing shortages and budget cuts. To improve nurse engagement, nurse managers and other staff members should be aware of the signs associated with nurse disengagement, so they can take steps to improve the situation. In some cases, simply reaching out to a nurse in need and listening to their concerns can help boost engagement.

To learn more about nurse engagement, take a look at our Nurse Engagement White Paper.