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6 Tips to Help You Reduce Nursing Turnover Rates

By Tammy McCausland

A recent article* published in Radiation Oncology News for Administrators offers suggestions on how to fix a nursing turnover problem.


1) It starts with the job description.

A radiation oncology nurse job description—or any description for that matter—must clearly outline the job responsibilities and the training and competencies needed. If you find that applicants lack the competencies, you may need to consider developing them in-house or paying for a new hire to get the training needed.

2) Onboarding and orientation are also important and should extend beyond general onboarding.

In the case of nursing, new hires need the opportunity to get to know the workings of nursing in the radiation oncology department. Figure out who can serve as preceptors for new hires. Fine-tune as needed based on each new hire’s feedback.

3) Consider changing how you conduct phone interviews.

Be upfront with candidates about what the job requires and ask them to be frank about whether the position as described is of interest. Doing so can help you avoid wasting your time interviewing candidates who might not be a good fit.

4) Listen to your team

Have conversations with staff, listen and ask nurses for their input. Adopt and maintain two-way communication—don’t opt for a top-down, “we’re doing it this way” approach. And be willing to ask for feedback for improvements and be prepared to abandon an idea that’s not working.

5) The job description is the initial tool used to attract applicants, but it’s only the starting point.

Beyond framing the job description, consider whether you have what’s needed to retain a new hire. For example: Do you have training for all the competencies? Will the nurse have the support needed? Will they get what they need out of the job?

6) Remember, turnover is inevitable.

Trying to change employees’ minds is likely only a temporary delay to their inevitable departure. Be supportive of outgoing employees and take advantage of the opportunity to learn what changes or improvements might be possible.

* The article was published in Vol 29 No. 5. It was developed from an interview with Jaya Yohannan, who presented at SROA’s 36th Annual Meeting.



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