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Motivation is the degree of willingness of an individual to exert themselves and consistently apply effort towards achieving a goal. According to HRH, motivation is important because it has been closely linked to job satisfaction. When nurses report higher levels of job satisfaction they are less likely to quit, and for nursing homes, a high nursing retention rate means less money is spent in recruiting, hiring, and training new nurses.

In addition to job satisfaction, nurses also want to be respected. Brian Colleran, owner and founder of Foundations Health Solutions, has witnessed this first hand. “When you treat people with genuine respect, not just lip service, they tend to stay,” he said. Colleran, along with colleague Bob Speelman, Vice-President of Business Development and Culture at Foundations Health Solutions, recently joined Peter Murphy Lewis on the LTC Heroes podcast to discuss Changing Company Culture in Long-Term Care

In the interview, Colleran and Speelman make clear that, as the US faces a nursing home staffing crisis, motivation in nursing is something all skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) should consider. This is because the loss of any worker, especially nurses, can seriously impact the quality of care of residents in long term care facilities.

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Nurses Bored At Work: Effects And Remedies

As if the staffing crisis wasn’t enough, there is another problem that long term care facilities currently face: nurses bored at work. According to Projections Inc, companies need to realize that employee satisfaction is simply not enough. If employees do not feel engaged enough in their work, they will not perform well and will be tempted to leave. If they are, however, engaged and feel that leadership in the company or organization recognizes and appreciates their efforts, this leads to reduced employee turnover. 

Colleran understands the importance of employee engagement, which is why he and Speelman have been working on an app that fosters employee engagement. “We’re getting ready to launch a workflow app, and we want to try this app because it’s an employee engagement app,” Colleran said.

5 Ways Motivation In Nursing Affects Healthcare

It is worth noting that, to some degree, nursing turnover is natural, as individuals often decide to move on in their careers. However, if nursing home management software records an unusually high nurse turnover rate, this should raise concerns. A high turnover can have negative effects on an SNF. These include:

Motivation in nursing will help improve the quality of care at your facility.
  1. Lower morale among other staff: If staff is constantly leaving, those left behind have lower morale as they are unsure of who will leave next. A culture of fear can be created in a nursing home as none of the workers are sure of how safe their job is.
  2. Decreased productivity: If a nurse leaves, their work will be transferred to a different nurse, and this can negatively affect productivity as the remaining nurses become overworked and possibly burn out.
  3. A drain of time, energy, and resources: A nursing home will have to exert great effort and time into finding a replacement nurse. All these resources would otherwise have been spent on improving the quality of life of its residents.
  4. Losing organizational processes: If an employee leaves, they may not pass on the organizational process to the new employee, leading to decreased quality of care for residents in nursing homes.
  5. Lack of experience: The new employees may are not as experienced in caring for the residents of a nursing home, hence errors and mistakes are likely to occur during the learning and training process.

So what can long term care facilities do to increase engagement and prevent nurses bored at work? 

11 Tips To Motivate And Engage Nurses In Nursing Homes

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Low stress nursing jobs help with motivation.
  1. Create a strong brand: A nursing home can get the right people in the door by building a strong brand. Building a strong brand means: Knowing your target audience, crafting the ideal message to deliver to your target audience, and delivering the message to your audience in the medium they frequently use (social media). The brand serves as a nursing home’s reputation and offers a value proposition to potential employees. Nursing homes should create a strong brand that clearly communicates their values, what makes the nursing home unique, and why it would be a great place for nurses to work. This ensures that nurses understand what the organization is about and how they can contribute to its success.
  2. Communicate your ethics and core values: The core values should be more than just words on a page – they should be a part of the culture of a nursing home. Newly-employed nurses should have training that includes the nursing home’s core values and the ethical code by which all employees should abide. This complete guide by Mo discusses the importance of work culture and how it improves employee engagement. The argument is that workers find their jobs more rewarding and motivating when their workplace is designed around its core values. 
  3. Create a seamless onboarding experience: New nurses must have a seamless onboarding experience that gives them a feeling of belonging from the start. They should clearly be shown the avenues of communication and be assigned a “mentor” that guides them as they learn what is required of them.
  4. Daily huddles: Led by nurse managers, huddles allow nurses to discuss any topics of relevance and raise concerns. According to Lippincott Nursing Center, patient and resident safety starts with teamwork. Huddles affect how teams in long term care facilities work and how care is provided to residents in nursing homes.
  5. Respect employees: Nursing is a tough job, and if nurses feel disrespected and underappreciated, motivation in nursing goes down. The lack of motivation results in lower quality of care for residents in nursing homes.
  6. Lead by example: Those in leadership roles must practice what they preach. Nurses who see those in leadership positions follow the values of their organization feel more motivated to follow the example set. Also, leaders should strive to create an environment that encourages nurses to do their best and receive constructive criticism.
  7. Provide growth and development opportunities: Learning should not stop after the onboarding of new nurses. According to Page Up People, when nurses are challenged and provided with opportunities to learn and grow their skills, the reported number of nurses bored at work decreases, as the nurses are engaged, motivated, and have something to look forward to.
  8. Organize events that promote connectedness: Simple team-building exercises—such as playing scavenger hunt or an office trivia with prizes to be won—can help to create a sense of togetherness and build teamwork. Additionally, conferences can help nurses meet their peers from other nursing homes, learn, and exchange ideas.
  9. Provide emotional support systems: Nurses in long term care can suffer emotional stress as a result of caring for residents suffering from terminal conditions, receiving verbal and physical abuse from patients, and dealing with resident deaths. Management must help arrange for counseling and therapy for nurses who may need it. Sometimes though, a sympathetic ear is all a nurse may need.
  10. Introduce rewards: If a nurse in a nursing home goes above and beyond in caring for residents, publicly rewarding the nurse can help to increase motivation among the other nurses. Creating formal reward programs can ensure that nurses are recognized and regularly rewarded for their efforts.
  11. Learn what motivates people: A simple one-to-one interview or anonymous surveys can help nursing home managers understand what nurses value at work and what keeps them motivated on the job. By knowing what keeps people motivated, nursing homes can create an environment that increases motivation in nursing.

9 Low Stress Nursing Jobs

Every job comes with stress. From teaching to administration, no job has absolutely no stress. Because nursing in long term care involves working directly with—or sometimes one step removed from—residents, the stakes are much higher. It is worth noting, though, that stress can be relative. What one person may find stressful, another may find to be a breeze.

Motivation is important in stressful nursing jobs, and the National Library of Medicine states that there are different types of motivation in nursing, namely:

  1. Support: Does the nursing management care about the well-being of the nurses?
  2. Relatedness: Do the nurses feel a sense of belonging to a group or organization?
  3. Autonomy: Are nurses empowered to act on their own experience?
  4. Competence: How capable does one feel in their ability to perform a given task?

Rasmussen University notes that a lack of motivation in nursing can come from stressors that include:

  • A high number of assigned patients per shift
  • High-pressure healthcare decisions
  • “Shared trauma” from patients or residents
  • Mental and physical fatigue,
  • Poor culture of safety in the nursing home
  • The level of technical skill needed to perform a task
  • Conflict with co-workers
  • Administrative pressures
  • Bureaucracy interfering with resident care

Hence, nursing is not completely free of stress. There are, however, low stress nursing jobs that tend to have far less high-pressure situations than other nursing jobs. These jobs are:

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Nurses bored at work may need to move from the floor to behind the computer.
  1. Nurse educator: A nurse educator is a registered nurse with an advanced education who also teaches. Nurse educators train nurses and aspiring nurses and can be hired by healthcare systems to provide continued education for licensed nurses or be hired by academic institutions to train nursing students. Payscale estimates the average nurse educator salary to be $77,580 per year.
  2. Nurse administrator: Nurse administrators are more focused on administrative duties in healthcare facilities. According to Nurse Practitioner Schools, a nurse administrator supervises and oversees the work of other nurses. They earn a median salary of $81,962 per year
  3. Clinical research nurse: When a new medical device or a new drug is undergoing clinical trials, clinical research nurses play an important role. Some of their responsibilities include screening and recruiting patients for the clinical trials, recording patient information, and maintaining regulatory and study protocol compliance. Zip Recruiter states that the average salary for a clinical research nurse is $74,906 per year.
  4. School or summer camp nurse: These nurses provide basic care for kids and adults in schools and summer camps. This type of job is ideal for someone interested in nursing and who also loves working with children. The nurse can expect to handle basic first aid as well as administer medications. The salary for a school nurse falls between $41,500 and $65,574.
  5. Clinic nurse: Working as a nurse in a general physician’s office is considered to be one of the least stressful nursing jobs. Clinic nurses assess patients, administer medical tests (drawing blood), and inform patients on medical topics they should be aware of. Zippia states that the average clinic nurse can make $65,000 per year.
  6. Nurse informatics: Here, the nurse serves to connect the IT professionals developing nursing home software or EMAR software, and the nurses who will be using the developed software. They help the IT professionals understand the medical jargon and requirements while also helping communicate what the nurses would like the software to be able to do. Nursing Process states that the average salary for an informatics nurse is $102,230 a year.
  7. Lactation consultant nurse: These nurses assist new mothers who have breastfeeding concerns, e.g latching issues and pain while nursing. Glassdoor lists the average base pay for an RN lactation consultant at $72,667 per year.
  8. Telehealth nurse: These nurses spend their time answering patient questions or monitoring patients with long-term needs. For example, a patient undergoing chemotherapy may have a home monitoring system installed. The telehealth nurse will observe and keep track of these health readings and conduct quick check-ins with those whose vital signs have suddenly changed. According to Zip Recruiter telehealth nurses have an average salary of $72,201 per year.

Importance of Motivation In Nursing

There are a complex set of economic, social, and professional factors that can affect motivation in nursing. Nurses that are more motivated express higher levels of job satisfaction and generally feel that they are performing well at their job. This leads to a lower nurse turnover rate. At a time when nursing homes and other long term care facilities are facing a nursing shortage, nurses must be motivated and encouraged to stay. According to Relias, the average national nurse turnover rate is 17.1%, with a current rate of 8.8% to 37%

Nursing homes and other long term care facilities should consider implementing motivation strategies, such as daily huddles, leading by example, and rewarding exceptional workers, as motivated workers are less stressed and less likely to quit.

For more on recent trends in long term care, read our blog and subscribe to the LTC Heroes podcast.

Elijah Oling Wanga