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Why Staff Don't Stay

The Care sector is synonymous with low staff retention, yet service users in this area probably have the greatest need of staff continuity. So why do staff leave?


What steps can Managers take to keep their staff? Studies suggest a number of avoidable factors have staff handing in their notice...

  • Frequent verbal and physical abuse at work.

  • Regular unpaid overtime

  • Staff Shortages, resulting in increased workloads and high stress levels

  • Long Shifts and bad working conditions leading to demoralisation

Ultimately, the compounded effects of these problems impact upon the service user. Residents with a need of continuity in staffing find themselves regularly being cared for by a 'new face' who must get to know them, their needs and requirements. Furthermore, breaks in the communication system as a result of new staff unaware of protocol lead to mistakes which can have devastating consequences.

" staff learn from existing staff, each generation passing down a 'revised' version of guidelines"

One way to reduce the likelihood of such incidents is to have a 'rule book' for each category of staff . Whilst all Care Homes will have some form of protocol to satisfy Care Commission standards, far fewer ensure that new staff are well informed. In most care situations, new staff learn from existing staff, each generation passing down a 'revised' version of guidelines. So take control! The less ambiguity that exists in urgent situations, the greater the likelihood that appropriate action will be taken.

  • Hold regular meetings between staff and management to help identify problem areas. Keep them as informal as possible, encouraging relaxed conversation.

  • Promote complete confidentiality and the importance of service users' wellbeing. This will encourage staff to speak up should they feel that a service user is being treated inappropriately.

  • Show progress! Any area of work which improves should be yodelled from the hilltops.

  • Good team work and supportive management are key factors in mediating workplace stress. The qualities cited as supportive in managers were invariably approachability, a willingness to listen and ability to respond in a way which was not perceived as undermining to staff.

. Posted in Care Staff Articles