Nursing Incentives To Improve Retention, Reduce Burnout

Transform your nursing workforce with proven retention strategies. Discover incentives that fight burnout.

Tom Dixon
Content Manager
Transform your nursing workforce with proven retention strategies. Discover incentives that fight burnout.

The U.S. healthcare system is facing a major problem: a nursing shortage of 200,000 to 450,000 workers by 2025. The pandemic has made things worse, with 56 percent of nurses reporting burnout.

The same dire trend holds true for travel nurses. As travel nursing has become an increasingly important part of healthcare delivery for medical facilities, healthcare administrators need to take a sharper look at how they can attract and keep travel nurses.

To start, it’s important to show nurses they are valued and respected through a mix of financial incentives, perks, recognition, and development opportunities. By investing in these strategies, hospitals can improve nurse satisfaction, patient care, and their bottom line.

Ways To Improve Work Performance In Healthcare

Nursing incentives are an effective strategy for boosting work performance.
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

By offering the right incentives, hospitals can not only improve the productivity of their travel nurses but also create a more positive and rewarding work experience. 

From performance bonuses to learning opportunities, there are many strategies that can help travel nurses excel in their roles and contribute to the overall success of the healthcare organization.

Offer Performance Bonuses

Give travel nurses a financial boost for meeting or exceeding key performance indicators (KPIs) like patient satisfaction scores, quality of care metrics, or efficiency targets.

You can also offer a referral bonus for travel nurses who refer other top talent to your organization. 

Digital gift cards are a simple, flexible way to offer these performance bonuses or spot rewards for exceptional work. Choose a digital gifting platform that allows you to streamline the process of recognizing top performers with personalized, custom gifts and tracking your spend.

Provide Learning Opportunities

Invest in travel nurses' professional growth by offering access to courses, workshops, or conferences that help them build new skills and stay up-to-date with industry best practices.

For example, provide access to online courses on topics like patient safety, infection control, or emergency preparedness. You can also offer tuition reimbursement for travel nurses who want to pursue advanced degrees or certifications in their field. 

Recognize Top Performers

Show appreciation for travel nurses who go above and beyond by featuring them in company newsletters, giving them shoutouts in team meetings, or awarding them with special perks like gift cards.

To do this right, make employee recognition programmatic, not an ad hoc thing you do when you think of it or feel like you have the time.

For example, create an "Employee of the Month" program that recognizes travel nurses who demonstrate exceptional patient care, teamwork, or leadership skills.

Foster A Positive Work Environment

Create a culture of support and collaboration by encouraging open communication, providing regular feedback and coaching, and promoting teamwork among travel nurses and permanent staff.

Hold regular team meetings where travel nurses can share their experiences, ask questions, and provide feedback to their supervisors. You can also implement a mentorship program that pairs experienced travel nurses with newer ones to provide guidance and support. 

Offer Flexible Scheduling

Give travel nurses more autonomy over their work by allowing them to choose their shifts.

Offer a mix of day and night shifts, as well as weekend and weekday options, to accommodate different scheduling needs. You can also allow travel nurses to request specific days off or swap shifts with their colleagues when needed.

Provide Top-Notch Equipment And Resources

Make sure travel nurses have access to the tools and technology they need to do their best work.

invest in electronic health record systems that are easy to use and navigate, and provide training and support to help travel nurses get up to speed quickly. Having the right equipment and resources can help travel nurses feel more efficient and effective in their roles

Nursing Incentives: 5 Keys to Retaining Top Talent

Healthcare facilities can retain professionals using incentive programs.
Photo by TopSphere Media on Unsplash

Keeping your best travel nurses on board for more than one stint is crucial for maintaining high-quality patient care and avoiding the costs of constant turnover. 

By offering a combination of financial and non-financial incentives, you can create a workplace that travel nurses want to be a part of. When you invest in your nursing talent, you not only improve retention but also build a reputation as an employer of choice in the healthcare industry.

1. Competitive Pay And Benefits

Offer salaries and benefits packages that are in line with or above industry standards to show travel nurses that you value their skills and experience.

Conduct regular market research to ensure your pay rates remain competitive, and consider offering additional benefits like health insurance.

2. Loyalty Bonuses

Reward travel nurses who stick with your organization for a certain period of time with financial bonuses or other perks like extra vacation days or priority scheduling.

 For example, offer a $1,000 bonus for travel nurses who complete two consecutive 13-week assignments with your organization, or provide an additional week of paid time off for those who stay for six months or more.

3. Employee Assistance Programs

Partner with a third-party employee assistance program provider to offer confidential counseling and support services, and promote these resources regularly to your travel nurses. Offer stress-reduction workshops or mindfulness training to help travel nurses manage the unique challenges of their role.

Consider offering digital gift cards for self-care activities or experiences like massages, spa days, or yoga classes as part of an employee assistance program.

4. Housing And Relocation Assistance

Make the transition to a new location easier for travel nurses by providing help with finding housing, covering moving expenses, or offering temporary accommodations.

Partner with local apartment complexes or extended-stay hotels to secure discounted rates for your travel nurses, or offer a housing stipend to help cover the cost of rent and utilities. Provide a relocation allowance to help cover the cost of moving expenses, such as transportation, packing supplies, and storage fees.

5. Regular Check-Ins And Feedback

Show travel nurses that you care about their experience and value their input by conducting regular check-ins, soliciting feedback, and acting on their suggestions for improvement.

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with travel nurses to discuss their goals, challenges, and overall job satisfaction. 

Use anonymous surveys or focus groups to gather feedback on your organization's culture, policies, and practices. You can use digital gifting to incentivize travel nurses to participate in surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings designed to gather feedback and improve the organization's culture and practices.

Create an action plan based on the feedback you receive, and communicate the changes you're making to your travel nurses to show that their input is valued and taken seriously.

5 Ways To Fight Back Against Travel Nurse Burnout

Employee recognition is an important antidote to nurse burnout.
Photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash

By taking a proactive approach to preventing burnout, hospitals can create a more positive and sustainable work environment for their travel nurses. When nurses feel supported and empowered to take care of themselves, they're better able to provide high-quality care to their patients and contribute to the overall success of the healthcare organization.

Implementing strategies to combat burnout can also help reduce turnover rates and improve job satisfaction among travel nurses.

1. Encourage Work-Life Balance

Make sure travel nurses have enough time off between shifts to rest, recharge, and explore their new location. Offer flexible scheduling options when possible, such as allowing nurses to choose their preferred shift times or work a compressed schedule. 

Encourage nurses to use their paid time off and create a culture that values self-care and work-life balance.

2. Provide Mental Health Resources

Partner with a mental health provider to offer on-site counseling services or telehealth options. 

For example, you can provide free or discounted subscriptions to mindfulness apps like Headspace or Calm. It’s also a good idea to host regular stress-management workshops.

3. Foster A Supportive Work Environment

Encourage open communication, teamwork, and a positive workplace culture. Make sure travel nurses feel welcomed and included by their permanent colleagues.

To integrate travel nurses onto the team, create a buddy system that pairs travel nurses with experienced staff members who can provide guidance and support.

Help travel nurses build relationships with their co-workers by organizing social events, group activities, or mentorship programs.

4. Provide Adequate Training And Orientation

Make sure travel nurses have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their new work environment. 

Start with comprehensive orientation programs that cover topics like hospital policies, procedures, and technology systems. Then, provide ongoing training opportunities, such as in-service education sessions or online learning modules. 

It’s also helpful to assign a mentor to each travel nurse to provide one-on-one guidance and support during their first few weeks on the job.

5. Recognize And Address Signs Of Burnout

Train managers and supervisors to identify signs of burnout among travel nurses, such as increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, or changes in attitude. Encourage them to have open conversations with nurses and offer support when needed.

Unlike many industries that have seen a lull in turnover rates in 2024, nearly 1 in 5 RNs are expected to leave their jobs in the next few years. In that environment, it’s even more important to create a culture that encourages self-care and supports nurses in taking time off when needed to recharge and avoid burnout.

Start Your Travel Nurse Incentive Program With Giftly

Implementing a comprehensive incentive and retention program for travel nurses is essential for healthcare organizations looking to attract and retain top talent. By combining competitive compensation, career development opportunities, and support for work-life balance and mental health, hospitals can create a work environment that e mpowers travel nurses to thrive.

To take your travel nurse program to the next level, consider partnering with Giftly to streamline your incentive and recognition efforts. Giftly is a digital gifting platform that allows you to easily send personalized rewards to your travel nurses, whether it's a loyalty bonus, a spot reward for exceptional performance, or a gift to celebrate a milestone or special occasion.

With Giftly, you can customize your gift messages to make each reward feel personalized and meaningful. The platform makes it easy to track your gifting activity and budget in one centralized location to simplify administration and reporting.

By leveraging Giftly's digital gifting capabilities, you can create a rewards program for travel nurses that not only attracts and retains top talent but also fosters a culture of recognition and employee appreciation. Want to learn more? Let’s talk about how Giftly can give your nursing incentives program a boost.

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