10 Ways to Motivate Nurses: A Guide for Facilities

Two nurses walking down the hallway of a healthcare facility
Written by
Jenna Elizabeth
April 15, 2024

Keeping nursing staff motivated and happy may seem easy enough. However, the reality is that it takes strategic planning and thoughtfulness to encourage collaboration among nursing staff members and promote engagement. 

Some effective initiatives that may increase nursing motivation include encouraging communication and feedback at the workplace—but this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Facilities struggling with nurse burnout, inadequate staffing, and demotivated nurses should start focusing their attention on what nurses need. Maintaining a positive workplace can significantly impact turnover rates. While there are numerous ways to maintain positive nurse motivation, some strategies are more effective than others. Keep reading to learn how you can motivate nurses at your healthcare organization. 

How Does Nursing Engagement Affect Patient Care Outcomes?

Think of engaged nursing care as the glue that holds a nursing team together. In other words, nursing engagement affects patient care outcomes by fostering a sense of teamwork and dedication among staff members. Likewise, an emotionally healthy nursing team can better provide compassionate, high-quality care, directly impacting patient outcomes. 

Engaged nursing care reflects a nurse’s level of commitment and satisfaction with their job. Engaged nurses offer facilities many benefits since they go above and beyond expectations. 

The overall benefits are clear: Engaged nurses provide excellent care. A study titled “The Impact of Nurse Engagement on Quality, Safety, and the Experience of Care: What Nurse Leaders Should Know” states the following: 

“The vital connection of nurse engagement to the care experience, and ultimately to nurse and patient outcomes is clear. Quality improvement efforts that equally emphasize initiatives to improve patient experience and create and sustain a highly engaged nursing workforce are key to achieving desired outcomes.” 

10 Ways Facilities Can Motivate Their Nursing Staff

Healthcare facilities that put nurses’ emotional well-being first are setting themselves up for success. To foster nurse engagement, facilities need to prioritize nurses' well-being, especially that of nurse leaders who, in turn, will motivate their teams and serve as role models to other nurses. 

Although all nurses will occasionally have bad days, there are still things facilities can do to help their nurses give their best. With this in mind, below are 10 ways facilities can start motivating their nurses today: 

1. Give Recognition and Show Appreciation

The connection between nurse engagement and optimal patient care is apparent. So, how can facilities keep nurses engaged and happy with their jobs? Naturally, one way to keep nurses engaged is by appreciating their daily efforts and dedication to their work. Recognition can be as simple as a nurse manager expressing their gratitude for the contributions of their nursing team or as formal as hosting celebrations and banquets to honor their nursing staff with rewards.

Furthermore, showing appreciation for nursing staff may involve hosting an appreciation dinner, a breakroom lunch, or activities outside the hospital where nurses can decompress from everyday responsibilities. When nurses feel appreciated and recognized for their work, they are more likely to be motivated to deliver high-quality care and go above and beyond for their patients.

2. Organize Staff Engagement Activities

Similar to showing recognition and appreciation, facilities can increase nurse motivation by organizing regular team-building activities or social events. Team building activities for nursing units may include icebreaker activities, group personality tests, theme days, or even a karaoke night outside the facility. 

Ultimately, getting a nursing team together and connected can boost morale and create a sense of camaraderie among the staff members. 

3. Provide Professional Development Opportunities 

Hosting social events and group activities is an excellent way to encourage nurse motivation informally. At the same time, providing professional development opportunities by offering ongoing training and education programs is a more formal way to increase job satisfaction and nurse motivation. 

For example, creating mentorship programs where more experienced nurses guide and support new staff can help seasoned nurses stay fresh with their skills and help facilities retain new talent. Moreover, offering on-site workshops and training programs can help nurses remain motivated to advance in their careers. 

4. Take Feedback Seriously

Nurses will feel heard if they see facilities taking their feedback seriously. A global survey conducted by the Workforce Institute of over 4,000 employees, managers, and business partners suggested that 86 percent of workers feel people at their workplace are not listened to fairly or equally. Even more discouraging, the study concluded that even when employees believe their voices are heard, they do not witness tangible changes in the workplace after the fact. 

The same study indicates that when employees feel heard, they are more likely to perform their jobs effectively and feel happy and engaged. So, what’s the major takeaway for facilities? Take feedback seriously. Facilities can do this by encouraging activities such as team huddles and regular meetings for nurses to express their concerns. From there, a facility should make positive and tangible changes based on a nursing team’s concerns and suggestions. 

5. Handle Disputes Quickly

Promptly handling disputes is an effective way to motivate nurses by showing them their concerns are taken seriously. When a facility handles complaints and disputes promptly, it can prevent conflicts from escalating. By ensuring that conflict doesn’t fester, a facility contributes to maintaining a positive work environment. As a result, higher morale and job satisfaction among nurses are more likely to occur. 

6. Offer Employee Wellness Programs

Facilities can motivate their nursing staff by implementing wellness programs that focus on improving their staff’s physical and mental well-being. Wellness programs could incorporate exercise and other activities that help nurses decompress from their nursing responsibilities. 

Examples of programs that can help a nursing team reduce stress and take some time to tend to their well-being are gym memberships, yoga passes, and stress management workshops. Furthermore, a facility might consider providing access to on-site counseling services or financial assistance to help cover the costs of mental health services. Subsequently, caring for a nurse’s physical and emotional well-being can lead to better patient care. 

7. Create Flexible Scheduling 

Creating flexible scheduling options for nurses is a highly effective way to help with nurse fatigue and burnout. Flexible scheduling can also help a nurse establish a better work-life balance. One of the reasons nurses experience burnout is inadequate staffing. When a facility is under-equipped with nurses, team members will inevitably have to take on the workload of the missing links. Consequently, this can increase stress and exhaustion and decrease nurse job satisfaction. Over time, burnout can also negatively affect patient care and overall job performance. 

To combat this situation, a facility could offer more nursing autonomy by providing a flexible schedule that caters to nurses’ preferences and needs. Facilities may choose to offer options like part-time positions or varied shift lengths. Moreover, facilities can use Nursa to schedule per diem nurses looking to pick up local nursing shifts. Offering flexible scheduling and ensuring that your healthcare facility has enough nurses are practical ways to keep staff members motivated to show up to work, ready to give their all. 

8. Prioritize Nurse Safety 

When nurses feel taken care of and safe in their work environments, they are more inclined to provide a secure environment for their patients. Therefore, to help with overall nurse motivation, facilities must protect healthcare workers from all forms of violence, such as physical assaults, verbal threats, and any other type of harassment that could make a member of the nursing team feel uneasy. Additionally, strategies that help keep medical errors at bay and curb the spread of infection in the workplace are also part of prioritizing nurse safety. When facilities implement these strategies, nurses can feel confident that their health is as important as that of their patients. 

9. Foster a Culture of Teamwork and Respect

Focusing on honest and open communication and showing appreciation for a nursing team can help create a culture of teamwork and respect. In turn, teamwork and collaboration are vital in ensuring that a nursing team is cohesive in its approach to patient care. As mentioned before, facilities can aim to foster a culture of teamwork and respect by encouraging their nursing staff to share their concerns openly. Furthermore, facilities can encourage nurse leaders to be highly involved in day‐to‐day issues in the workplace. Mutual respect among team members is essential to fostering a positive work environment and keeping nursing staff motivated to do their work with integrity. 

10. Follow Up and Track Progress

Keeping nurses motivated in the workplace is the first step to increasing nurse retention, decreasing burnout, and boosting morale among team members. However, following up and tracking progress to ensure that strategies are working is also vital to nurse engagement. One way to track nurse engagement is by using anonymous feedback or survey forms to evaluate the overall satisfaction levels of staff. Organizations can also monitor progress by examining turnover and absenteeism rates as employee engagement measures within the nursing workforce. In the end, monitoring and evaluating these metrics can assist nurse leaders in identifying potential areas for improvement. 

What Motivates Nurses? Facilities That Care

Time and time again, research supports the close link between motivation and job satisfaction. When your nursing staff feel valued and supported in their work, they’ll be more supported to to provide compassionate, high-quality patient care. 

Nurses are a special breed, showing resilience and dedication even in times of adversity and suffering. Essentially, facilities need to understand the intricacies and worth of the care that nurses provide every day they show up on shift. The best way to honor and motivate nurses to do their best is by showing them they are cared for, too. 

Explore more staffing resources for healthcare facilities and discover how Nursa can assist with short-term staffing demands by contracting per diem nurses in your local area.

Blog published on:
April 15, 2024

Meet Jenna, a contributing copywriter at Nursa who writes about healthcare news and updates, empathy and compassion for nurses, how to show staff appreciation and increase retention, and guides that help nurses navigate career pathways.

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81
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2584
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Prestige at Coast Fork Nursing Center
Registered Nurse RN - Inpatient Rehab Long Term Care Skilled Nursing $80.74 per hour
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81
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2584
View Shift
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Prestige at Coast Fork Nursing Center

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