direct care workers walking down the hall

Nurse residency programs, which are popular among nurses, could alleviate turnover among long-term services and support services nurses, according to a research brief from the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMassBoston.

“Many nursing students will not accept a job in an acute-care setting unless that setting offers a nurse residency program,” Robyn I. Stone, DrPH, senior vice president of research at LeadingAge and co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, wrote in a blog post in conjunction with the report. “This national trend convinced [my friend and colleague Barbara Bowers, PhD, RN] that the LTSS field needs its own residency program, specifically designed for nurses who care for older adults.”

Stone co-authored the report with Natasha Bryant, senior director of workforce research and development at the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston.

“Research suggests that RN and [licensed practical and licensed vocational] nurse managers lack adequate preparation and do not have the resources they need to carry out their supervisory responsibilities,” the authors wrote. “RN supervisors who do not feel prepared for their leadership positions are more likely to leave their jobs or experience lower levels of job satisfaction.”

Recommended actions:

  • Nursing programs at educational institutions must take steps to develop faculty expertise in LTSS, prepare students for LTSS careers and create leadership curricula specifically for LPNs and LVNs.
  •  LTSS providers must work with academic partners to create meaningful clinical placements for nursing students, define the role of the nurse manager, make organizational changes and develop quality improvement initiatives aimed at improving the quality of nurse management, and build nurse management principles into nurse training and educate directors of nursing about the importance of nurse management.
  • Policymakers and regulators must define and develop core competencies and standards for nurse managers, use incentive payments to strengthen the frontline nursing workforce and understand and operationalize nurse delegation and scope of practice policies.

Several strong examples exist, according to the report’s authors. One, they said, is the Geriatric Nurse Leadership Academy for Long-Term Care, which was one component of a research grant aimed at improving the competency and enhancing the leadership skills of RNs in nursing.

Another is the Pacific Northwest Nurse Leadership Institute, a consortium of nurse leaders formed to support the development of nurse managers in home settings. According to the authors, the institute provides a two-day retreat and seven, one-hour seminars that address a variety of topics.

Finally, the LeadingAge Nurse Leadership Enrichment and Development (Nurse LEAD) program program is “an online education curriculum designed to help nurse managers become more effective coaches, leaders, and supervisors of direct care professionals.”