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Culver City Hospital Enlists Nursing Specialist to Drive the Retention of a Multigenerational Nursing Workforce



The United States is in the midst of a critical nurse shortage that is expected to continue for another decade. In particular, California is projected to be hit the hardest out of any state, with an estimated shortfall of 44,500 nurses by 2030. During this tumultuous time, keeping nurses happy and employed at their current organizations—ideally, until retirement—has become a major priority.

To this end, Southern California Hospital at Culver City has recently enlisted a nurse retentionist to help increase retention, using evidence-based strategies to operationalize a focused nurse retention program with measurable improvements. Dr. Laura Briceno, DNP, RN, who previously spent over two decades at Cedars-Sinai Medical Network Services, joined the hospital as director of retention and career development in December 2021.

“It is very important to retain our nurses because then we can avoid gaps in patient care,” said Briceno. “I'm a great believer in giving our nurses a sense of belonging and gearing them towards a career path, so that they will stay with us for the long term and hopefully retire with us."

The field of nurse retention uses evidence-based practice to support nurses and maintain their job satisfaction, which can contribute to a higher quality of care and improved patient experience. Briceno leverages her past experience in both leadership and direct caregiving to advocate for nurses’ best interests. Her time as a nurse early in her career means she can empathize with the common challenges of the job, such as short staffing and long hours.

At the same time, her more recent leadership roles translate to an ability to successfully negotiate with other directors and managers. In 2017, Briceno received a doctorate in nursing practice and healthcare leadership from Chamberlain University, where she learned tried-and-true strategies for nurse retention.

Much of her job as a retentionist involves active listening. For example, she performs “stay interviews” with staff members, asking them questions about why they choose to stay and what might cause them to leave. Instead of waiting for nurses to resign, stay interviews represent a proactive approach that has been shown to be very successful in retaining staff across multiple disciplines.

“I ask them about where they see themselves in the future as it relates to their career, what's most important to them, what are frustrations that they can't live with, and any professional goals or life events,” she said.

Briceno also does daily rounding with nurses, along with touchpoints, a concept borrowed from the corporate world. It refers to any interaction that a business has with its customers that help to clarify their needs and enhance their overall experience. In a hospital setting, touchpoints help retentionists get ahead of any issues that might cause nurses to leave the organization.

Her role also involves partnering with clinical education and human resources to help develop and retain younger nurses  In June, 10 Culver City nurses, nominated by their peers, received national DAISY Awards, and two nursing supports received the Petal Awards which recognize outstanding licensed nurses for their skillful and compassionate care.