published on
February 27, 2024

5 nurse retention strategies for LTC homes

posted on
Healthcare organizations

In a survey of Ontario nurses, almost half (47%) said they’re considering leaving the profession and one in three say they will leave the long-term care sector (WeRPN, 2022). 

Nurse retention is a major concern for LTC homes, as high turnover leads to staffing gaps, lower quality of resident care, low staff morale, and high hiring and training costs for the organization. 

We’ve put together the top five strategies for nurse retention to help LTC home managers keep their best nurses from leaving.

1. Offer fair pay

In almost every survey conducted, wages come out as one of the top reasons nurses want to leave the profession or are actively seeking to leave their current workplace. 

Providing competitive wages is one of the top factors for attracting quality nurses who will stay. Low wages often attract those who are willing to take the job but will always be looking for “something better.”

Offering fair pay shows nurses that the organization they work for values their staff and wants to keep them for the long term. 

2.  Provide incentives

Following on with fair pay, if you’re unable to change the pay structure of your facility, offering incentives or bonuses to your nurses can go a long way in keeping and attracting staff.

These can include a signing bonus, referral bonuses for current staff, and retention bonuses after certain periods of time. Also important is including flexible scheduling to allow staff to book time off when they need to.

Robust benefits plans are also highly attractive, which can include extended health insurance that includes mental health support, paid time off or mental health days, maternity and paternity leave, professional development funds, and retirement savings plans. 

The above ideas are attractive upfront and encourage staff to stay long term. Be sure to highlight them in job postings and remind staff regularly about what you offer.

3. Assess workloads and breaks

Another top factor in high turnover (and nurse burnout) is high workloads. Nurses are asked to take on a lot of responsibilities over long shifts. Can any of these processes be more efficient? Better organized?

Nurses often report that they don’t get adequate breaks or that their breaks are interrupted. They can also feel uncomfortable leaving for a break if there is a staffing shortage (see point 7 below).

Making sure all staff get the breaks they deserve is essential for maintaining healthy staff who are more motivated to stay. Having someone in charge of ensuring this, and being strict about enforcing breaks, is a great way to encourage nurse retention. 

4. Establish career ladders

It’s difficult to stay with an organization if there’s nowhere to move as you gain experience. Establishing a clear ladder for nurses shows them that the organization wants them to stay and will provide resources to help them.

Paid training allows nurses to gain expertise – having this be a part of a career progression plan is a long-term motivator. 

Another idea is introducing a mentorship program. It can help differentiate nurses’ levels of knowledge and has been shown to be beneficial to both mentor and mentee. 

If you want nurses to view your LTC home as a long-term employer, you need to show them that you view them as long-term investments.

5. Maintain healthy staffing levels

Nursing shortages are a major problem in LTC homes. Having enough nurses for a safe staff-to-resident ratio, being able to fill staffing gaps, and finding coverage for sick staff at the last-minute can be logistical headaches.

But when staffing levels are consistently low and overworked nurses are habitually asked to cover for their colleagues at the last minute, it can lead staff to look elsewhere for employment.

Having an efficient way to fill shifts allows your organization to offer more flexible schedules and better manage time off requests. This allows nurses to have a better work-life balance and makes it more likely they’ll want to stay.

How to manage staffing 

Florence was built to help organizations like LTC homes ensure their staffing needs are taken care of.

We have a network of 7,000+ nurses and personal support workers that we can call on to help you out.

Unionized? No problem. Florence can support with your internal call out and send shifts in order of seniority or in rotational seniority.

Our network of care professionals are vetted first, ensuring high-quality nurses to choose from. And they’re so easy to access through the app:

  • Post available shifts
  • Watch as qualified staff apply
  • Choose the best candidate based on their profile (or hire someone you’ve worked with before)
  • Get on with your day!

Find out more about the app’s features or book a demo with our staff to walk you through how it works. 

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