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Retention and recruitment are important for ensuring a stable workforce with the ability to provide quality health care. The concern of shortages, especially of nurses, is a global concern, with many contributing factors. Hence, the issues with retention and recruitment are complex, and often require advocacy and different levels of policy support. Nursing leaders are well-positioned to advocate for change to support retention and recruitment, and to implement evidence-informed strategies within their organizations.


Many of the strategies to support retention focused on creating a healthy work environment, which included, but are not limited to, adequate staffing and workload, teamwork and collaboration, professional development, and Transformational Leadership. Engaging with staff to understand their concerns, suggestions, and support strategies is essential to improve both retention and recruitment. Additional challenges and considerations for new nurses, unregulated care providers, internationally educated nurses, and rural and remote workplaces were identified, along with recommendations to help address these challenges.


Efforts to improve retention need to be balanced with recruitment efforts. Interviewing approaches, such as values-based interviewing and using behaviour-based or future-orientated questions can help to assess if the values of the applicant align with that of the organization and team, which may later support retention. Onboarding of new employees, and developing strategies and plans to improve onboarding, provide an opportunity to create a healthy work environment and retain your newly recruited staff.


Key Takeaways:

  • Nursing leaders have an important role to play in retention and recruitment, including advocacy for policy and resources, and in leading change
  • Retention and recruitment are complex, and nurse leaders must work with the entire team and partners (internally and externally) to help address issues and develop strategies that contribute to a healthy work environment


What can you do next?

Become a member and follow The Canadian Health Workforce Network

Learn more about implementing best practice guidelines from RNAO

Interested in other organizations to follow?  Visit the International      Centre on Nurse Migration to find several resources and subscribe to their newsletter.

For additional learning and reading, please see the reference list (with links) used to help create this module. Among the readings are resources from international organizations, national associations, and organizations that can be followed for updates and staying informed on the issue of recruitment and retention.


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Leadership for Nurses in Clinical Settings Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kirsten Woodend, Dr. Catherine Thibeault, Dr. Manon Lemonde, Dr. Janet McCabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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