Straight talk: Nurse manager role stress

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Nurse managers have one of the most demanding roles in the hospital environment. Reimbursement changes, pay-for-performance, and an overall decrease in inpatient volume have pushed hospital executives to increase productivity while, at the same time, expecting higher quality. Examining nurse manager role stress is critical for retention in this turbulent age of healthcare reform.
Nurse manager turnover rates in 2010 were 8.3%.1 The turnover rate is higher among nurse managers than senior leaders, including CNOs, vice presidents, and patient care administrators. The cost of replacing nurse managers is estimated at 75% to 125% of their annual salary.2 A study done in 2014 revealed that 72% of the nurse managers surveyed reported plans to leave their positions in the next 5 years.3 The most common reason? Burnout. (See Literature review.)
However, nurse managers do find ways to cope with the stress of the position. Twelve nurse managers from various inpatient hospital systems were participants in a capstone project. Although 10 out of the 12 nurse managers thought about quitting the role at some point, most found meaning and joy in their daily work, which enabled them to “keep coming back.” The nurse managers interviewed were able to remember why they're in the position—to help their units achieve excellence and their nurses to grow professionally. One remarked, “I do enjoy my team. I absolutely enjoy the people... When I see that energy, it just makes me even more energized...
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