Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
Once, when I worked for a managed care company, I rode down a packed elevator with the CEO, who commented drily on the crowd, saying, “It must be 5:01.”
What I thought, but did not say, was that there were reasons his staff members weren’t staying more than a minute past the hour. It was a reflection of a disengaged workforce without connections to the job or each other that might extend to a post-work conversation. (It should come as no surprise that I left my position shortly after this elevator ride.)
To stem the tide of departures, it’s important to find out why certified nursing aides are flying out the door either for the evening or for good. Here are some methods for getting the inside scoop:
1. Ask them — It might sound obvious, but it isn’t often done. The National Nursing Assistant Survey (NNAS), conducted in 2004, is an eye-opening view into the lives and challenges of working as an aide on a national level. Adapting the NNAS questions for use in a particular facility — or using an assessment company to measure employee satisfaction — can help determine, among other things, whether the initial training programs you offer meet the needs of your staff or if transportation problems are interfering with their ability to report to work. Such information could lead to relatively easy fixes that reduce turnover.
2. Join them — I spoke with Sarah Poat Stewart, LNHA, CNA, an administrator who trained as an aide and recently worked the 3-11 shift. Stewart, who is based at Signature HealthCARE’s Oakview Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Kentucky, finds her participation as an aide reduces the barriers between management and employees and leads to more respect on both sides. In a video about Signature’s goal to have all staff trained as CNAs, managers who worked on the floor had a better understanding of the jobs done by aides and the tools they need to do so.
3. Read the minds of those who stay — If you can’t roll up your sleeves and help a resident into a Hoyer lift yourself, reading CNA Edge is the next best thing.