Retaining Nurses to Mitigate Shortages

Terri Gaffney, PhD, MPA, RN


Am Nurs Journal. 2022;17(1) 

In This Article

Innovative Models of Care

Organizations have developed new, innovative models of care to address emerging challenges resulting from the pandemic.

New Graduate Nurse Transition. As new nurse graduates entered the workforce during the pandemic, transition to practice programs adapted to the unique needs of those whose education had been disrupted by COVID-19. In some instances, new graduate nurse orientation programs were accelerated and moved online.

The Organization of Nurse Leaders – MA, RI, NH, CT, VT, and the Massachusetts Rhode Island League for Nursing published recommendations to support new nurse transition into practice during the pandemic. These recommendations include establishing virtual support groups to allow new nurses to share concerns and ask questions; debriefing sessions for reflecting on and critiquing their experiences; and incorporating reflection and storytelling tools to aid experience processing. Mentoring serves as another effective strategy to support new nurses. (See Mentoring.)

Virtual or Remote Care Opportunities. Interest in telehealth surged among consumers and providers during the pandemic. McKinsey and Company noted that 40% of staff nurses delivered care virtually during 2020.

In 2014, the Catholic Health System launched a virtual care model to leverage nursing expertise. This model uses a technology platform and a two-way camera to connect the expert nurse with patients and the care team. The nurse remotely monitors up to 12 patients simultaneously and supports the bedside nurse in aspects of care that don't require physical interventions. The remote nurse can appear on a monitor in the patient's room and answer patient questions or virtually join and consult with the provider during rounds. The virtual nursing role could potentially delay the retirement of Baby Boomer nurses by providing an environment that takes advantage of their clinical expertise while reducing the physical demands of the bedside. (See Leveraging experience.)