Tip of the month: Healthy work environments boost nurse retention

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Although we are in the midst of great financial challenges, do not let this mislead you regarding retention. Do not lose focus on retention because you feel there are less job opportunities available for your staff.

We may have a temporary ease in the number of openings, but the projections do not look good for the future.

Estimates are that there will be more than 250,000 nurse vacancies by 2025. To retain the nurses you have, you need to build or maintain healthy work environments.

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) has done an outstanding job of publishing standards that guide organizations through establishing and sustaining an atmosphere where nurses thrive.

AACN focuses on six areas:

  • Skilled communication
  • True collaboration
  • Effective decision-making
  • Appropriate staffing
  • Meaningful recognition
  • Authentic leadership

You can order the AACN standards through its Web site at


American Association of Critical Care Nurses (2005). “AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments.” American Journal of Critical Care 14: 187–197.

Buerhaus, P., et al. (2009). “The Recent Surge in Nurse Employment: Causes and Implications.” Health Affairs 28(4): w657–w668.


Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN, Health Resources Unlimited, Adapted with permission.