BOSTONFocus groups, mentoring, and expanded recruitment efforts have helped Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) keep its vacancy rate low in the midst of a nursing shortage, said Denise Rutkowski, MS, RN, CRC, OCN, nurse recruiter and retention coordinator at RPCI. "The average age of our nurses is 44. Our average length of service is about 11 years. Our current vacancy rate is 6.5%, compared to 20% nationally," Ms. Rutkowski said at the Oncology Nursing Society 31st Annual Congress (abstract 284).
To increase retention, focus groups are held with new nurses and the Human Resources Department, to determine why the nurses selected RPCI, which factors helped them become acclimated to their new position, and what needs to be changed to help with the next round of orientation. In addition, Roswell Park connects new nurses with mentors.
Roswell Park is beginning to focus its recruitment efforts not only on the Western New York region but across the country, to attract nurses who have family in this region or wish to relocate. "We believe we can offer oncology nurses a dynamic work environment and one in which they can be professionally satisfied," Ms. Rutkowski concluded.