Turnover for nurses is notoriously high, and long-term care facilities see some of the highest rates, ranging from 50% to 100%. While having nurses come and go is disruptive to the facility itself, jumping from one place to the next can also complicate nurses’ careers. One reason is that it hinders growth: instead of advancing within one facility, nurses wind up moving laterally. Plus, it causes them to miss out on the perks of becoming a long-term employee, such as better benefit packages, strong working relationships, and the ability to excel in a familiar environment.
Rather than getting stuck in the job-hunting process time and time again, here’s how to break the cycle and build a lasting career at a facility you love.
Plan Your Career Thoughtfully
Many nurses find themselves thinking only about short-term objectives. After all, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day responsibilities without thinking too far ahead. Yet, when you begin to take a step back and think about long-term career goals, staying at one facility makes sense. Your dream job is out there, and one of the best ways to score it is moving through positions within a company in the right succession.
Determining your dream role, finding a facility that offers it, and mapping out a career trajectory to get there will take some careful planning. It’s well worth the effort, however. With this approach, the employer will get to know you over time, and you’ll prove that you’re hard working, determined, and the perfect candidate for your goal position.
Cultivate Great Working Relationships
You don’t have to be best friends with your coworkers, but building strong working relationships has its benefits. Supportive coworkers can be a sounding board when you need to vent about a particularly tough day. Fellow nurses may also be more willing to cover your shift if you’re friendly with them, which can make it easier for you to plan vacations and take time off in a long-term career. You may also be more inclined to feel settled in at a facility if you’re working among people you know and like. Of course, this goes both ways—you’ll want to be a coworker who others can depend on, too.
With that said, strong working relationships aren’t just about getting to know other nurses. You might also seek a mentor within the company who can give you pointers for career advancement, thus enabling you to move up through the same company over time. And, don’t overlook the value of getting to know your patients. Simply asking them about their day, family members, and happening in their lives can go a long way in making their days brighter—and perhaps yours, too.
Work Through Job-Related Challenges
Nurses face their share of difficult days. Yet, if you’re feeling like you might be ready to walk away from a job, give yourself time to think about it first. It’s possible you could be experiencing burnout, a combination of emotional exhaustion and lack of energy that nearly all nurses experience at least once in their careers.
If you feel burnout coming on, give yourself grace. Take breaks as needed, and adopt coping methods for your time off such as meditation or journaling. Practice self-care by getting ample sleep, nourishing your body with healthy foods, and taking a day off, if needed.
Burnout is often caused by a high number of patients and long shifts. While facilities may need to temporarily increase nurses’ workload due to staffing shortages, you shouldn’t face long shifts and high patient volumes all the time. Ask to have your schedule adjusted if you’re feeling exhausted.
Explore Growth Opportunities
A facility with opportunities for growth will allow you to pursue a career trajectory beyond your current title. Even if you’re satisfied in your role now, you may find yourself wanting to advance later. Learn about the different positions available in your company, and what type of education or training would be needed to be considered for them.
Start with the Right Fit
While settling into a long-term career at one facility certainly has its benefits, there’s no sense in trying to force a fit that just isn’t right. Don’t stay put just for the sake of it; instead, look for an employer that has everything you want from the start. You might have specific requirements for shifts, growth opportunities, or a supportive workplace culture. By identifying these needs first and then seeking the facility that can meet them, you’ll be more likely to find a work environment where you can thrive.
This is precisely where Mutual Nursing excels. Our team gets to know nurses and their needs to pair them with the perfect facility for a satisfying long-term career. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you find the right fit from the start.