By Tammy McCausland
A recent article* published in Radiation Oncology News for Administrators offers suggestions on how to fix a nursing turnover problem.
A radiation oncology nurse job description—or any description for that matter—must clearly outline the job responsibilities and the training and competencies needed. If you find that applicants lack the competencies, you may need to consider developing them in-house or paying for a new hire to get the training needed.
In the case of nursing, new hires need the opportunity to get to know the workings of nursing in the radiation oncology department. Figure out who can serve as preceptors for new hires. Fine-tune as needed based on each new hire’s feedback.
Be upfront with candidates about what the job requires and ask them to be frank about whether the position as described is of interest. Doing so can help you avoid wasting your time interviewing candidates who might not be a good fit.
Have conversations with staff, listen and ask nurses for their input. Adopt and maintain two-way communication—don’t opt for a top-down, “we’re doing it this way” approach. And be willing to ask for feedback for improvements and be prepared to abandon an idea that’s not working.
Beyond framing the job description, consider whether you have what’s needed to retain a new hire. For example: Do you have training for all the competencies? Will the nurse have the support needed? Will they get what they need out of the job?
Trying to change employees’ minds is likely only a temporary delay to their inevitable departure. Be supportive of outgoing employees and take advantage of the opportunity to learn what changes or improvements might be possible.