Nursing team earns state retention award

Year-round recognition, training perks help retain vital workforce

 ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The University of Michigan Health System has been recognized for its creative efforts in retaining an experienced nursing staff.

The Michigan Health Council granted UMHS a Building Michigan's Healthcare Workforce Award. The award acknowledges the Health System's evidence-based approach to celebrations and recognitions such as Nurses Week. In surveys, nurses said they valued opportunities for professional development more than token gifts and cookies.
As a result, the Health System offered nurses educational bus trips, free online continuing education units, on-site credentialing review courses, and dinners featuring prominent trendsetting lecturers.
"We are continually talking with nurses, seeking input through surveys and ‘adjusting our sails' to the needs expressed by our nursing staff," says Juanita S. Parry, R.N., director of nurse recruitment and retention at UMHS.  
"A stable workforce strengthens our ability to provide the quality care patients and families expect. Investing in the professional growth of nurses is key to nurse satisfaction and retention as well as the provision of excellent patient care," she said.  
UMHS employs more than 3,500 nurses. A nurse retention team made up of 18 nurses has designed activities that boost staff development and morale. For example, over five months, 11 educational bus trips were chartered from Ann Arbor to Chicago.
During the four-hour trip, nurses earn three continuing medical education units while listening to speakers and engaging in discussion about timely topics. Upon arrival, nurses depart to enjoy the Windy City. The earned educational units are required for licensure.
The Health System will offer tours and discuss job opportunities during its Spring Nursing Career Fair, noon-3 p.m. March 8 in the University Hospital's Towsley Center.  New graduates are welcome and the Health System is looking for experienced nurses in a variety of departments including critical care, medical/surgical, cancer center and management.
The Michigan Health Council has created the Building Michigan's Healthcare Workforce Award to recognize Michigan's healthcare organizations and educators who are designing and implementing creative approaches to recruit and retain a skilled and diverse healthcare workforce in Michigan.
For more information about nursing at the UMHS, go to

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