Staff Stability – Entry 3

Dear Diary:

We’re using the tracking tools from the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes website to track staff turnover. When we started, I was shocked to realize our 60 day staff turnover was running at 47%! We now have an action plan to reduce turnover. Our goal is 20% annual staff turnover.

The new employee orientation program is making progress. A workgroup of staff from all departments, developed a plan to enhance our classroom orientation using resources they found on the Advancing Excellence website. The leadership team really liked their plan!

The three-day orientation will include an overview of our organization from all departments. And there’s a section on Quality Assurance Performance Improvement! I was happy to see that. It will strengthen the introduction of the mission and vision for new employees, as well as stress the importance of ongoing quality improvement being everyone’s job. Developing the QAPI section of the orientation began a discussion of ways to make it easy for staff to bring forward ideas. We’ll highlight our suggestion box and how we include QAPI in the agenda of every staff meeting as examples.

The workgroup also reviewed exit interviews from the past three years. Several staff wrote that they didn’t feel prepared or supported in working with persons who have dementia. So the workgroup recommended expanding the training on dementia. They chose two videos and discussion questions from the “Hand in Hand Toolkit” that CMS produced on dementia care. A great idea came out of the leadership meeting: organize an employee focus group to find out what employees believe new staff should know before caring for residents who have dementia.

The team should finish the orientation enhancements in the next two weeks. We’ll try them out during the next new employee orientation class. The group will meet after the class to make revisions based on feedback from our staff development coordinator, as well as the new staff.

This is just one step, but I really feel like everyone’s on board and we’re making progress. I have several ideas for other things we can do. Resurrect the mentor program and implement regular interviews with new staff are just a couple. What are other nursing homes doing to retain new employees?

Signed, Donna

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