Recruiting and Retention Strategies: Critical Care

Type of retention strategy Benefits of using this strategy Challenges of using this strategy Evidence-based Reference
Role modeling and mentorship This strategy has been used in faculty and practice settings to assist nurses acquire professional skills, increase social connectedness and motivation, foster independence, and stimulate critical thinking. Additionally, the strategy is easy to implement and does not require huge financial resources. Lastly, it assists nurses in dealing with the challenges that characterize practice settings and also to assimilate new knowledge and skills that enhance job satisfaction and productivity. There is overdependence on the mentor to a point where turnover rates may exacerbate when the mentor leaves the organization or department. Additionally, the specialty area runs the risk of being micro-managed by the mentor. Lastly, there is a negative “halo” effect among nursing professionals in the event of failure by the mentor or role model. Murray, Pole, Ciarlo, and Holmes (2016)
Supportive work environments This strategy involves “creating a positive public image, improving financial and non-financial rewards, increasing job satisfaction, and providing appropriate role models” (Hutchinson, Brown, & Longworth, 2012, p. 448). The benefits of this strategy include (1) increased staff engagement and job satisfaction through open communication and clear channels for feedback, (2) capacity to lower absenteeism and turnover levels, (3) capacity to reduce mental health challenges for nurses, (4) orientation to attract and retain the best talent, and (5) propensity to reduce social isolation in practice settings This strategy may be challenging to implement in practice settings due to cost implications. Additionally, the strategy may experience structural, operational, and implementation barriers based on the fact that most healthcare institutions are publicly funded. Lastly, it is dependent on the goodwill of nursing managers and nurses to succeed, as some nurses may choose not to cooperate with colleagues even after the strategy has been implemented. Cziraki, McKey, Peachey, Baxtes, and Flaherty (2014); Hutchinson et al. (2012)
Interprofessional collaboration (IPC) IPC is defined as “the process through which different professional groups work together to positively impact healthcare” (Suter et al., 2012, p. 261). Evidence shows that IPC is effective in enhancing provider satisfaction and ensuring positive shifts in job design and responsibilities, which in turn act to reduce nurse turnover. Additionally, IPC provides nurses with an opportunity to build strong teams and engage in participatory decision making. Lastly, the strategy motivates nurses through efficient work processes and improved patient care outcomes. These benefits reduce nurse turnover and act as a strong pillar of strength for nurses to continue providing services in practice settings. The strategy may be limited by a shortage of qualified nursing personnel to engage in interprofessional collaboration contexts. Additionally, it is dependent on the policies and rules governing how nursing professionals operate in practice settings. Suter et al. (2012)
Career Development Nurses who are provided with opportunities for career development show more engagement and commitment to the organization, in addition to accumulating more knowledge and skills that could be used in practice settings to improve patient care outcomes. Additionally, this strategy reinforces feelings of empowerment, job enrichment, and recognition in work settings, which in turn reduce turnover intentions. The strategy may be difficult to implement due to cost implications and nurse shortage concerns. Additionally, heavy workloads prevent nursing professionals from pursuing opportunities for career advancement. Duffield, Baldwin, Roche, and Wise (2014); McLemore, Levi, and James (2015)


Cziraki, K., McKey, C., Peachey, G., Baxtes, P., & Flaherty, B. (2014). Factors that facilitate registered nurses in their first-line nurse manager role. Journal of Nursing Management, 22(8), 1005-1014.

Duffield, C., Baldwin, R., Roche, M., & Wise, S. (2014). Job enrichment: Creating meaningful career development opportunities for nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 22(6), 697-706.

Hutchinson, D., Brown, J., & Longworth, K. (2012). Attracting and maintaining the Y generation in nursing: A literature review. Journal of Nursing Management, 20(4), 444-450.

McLemore, M.R., Levi, A., & James, A. (2015). Recruitment and retention strategies for expert nurses in abortion care provision. Contraception, 91(6), 474-479.

Murray, T.A., Pole, D.C., Ciarlo, E.M., & Holmes, S. (2016). A nursing workforce diversity project: Strategies for recruitment, retention, graduation, and NCLEX-RN success. Nursing Education Perspectives, 37(3), 138-143.

Suter, E., Deutschlander, S., Mickelson, G., Nurani, Z., Lait, J., Harrison, L.,…Grymonpre, R. (2012). Can interprofessional collaboration provide human resources solutions? A knowledge synthesis. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 26(4), 261-268.