The need for more skilled staff in rural healthcare poses a critical challenge. My extensive research for a Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) dissertation uncovered crucial insights into the intricate relationship between pay satisfaction and the intention to leave among registered nurses in rural and urban acute care hospitals. What became evident is the scarcity of healthcare workers in rural areas, which intensifies the struggle to maintain a competent workforce.
The findings shed light on the unique dynamics of rural healthcare: while pay satisfaction is a factor, it's not the sole determinant of staff retention. Contrary to assumptions, rural nurses are willing to tolerate lower pay satisfaction due to intrinsic motivators. They find fulfillment in their work, the supportive environment, and the opportunities for personal and professional growth. This emphasizes the significance of Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory in retaining healthcare professionals in rural settings.
However, despite these intrinsic satisfiers, the projected workforce deficit looms large. The challenge is twofold: balancing the inherent factors that motivate rural healthcare workers and ensuring competitive compensation that meets their needs. Satisfying both aspects is crucial to fortifying the healthcare workforce in rural areas.
The projected deficit in rural healthcare workers demands urgent attention. Focusing solely on competitive pay might overlook the intrinsic motivators significantly impacting staff retention. It's imperative to create an environment that compensates fairly and fosters a supportive and growth-oriented culture. By aligning Herzberg's theory with these findings, we can construct strategies catering to intrinsic motivations and equitable compensation, ultimately securing a resilient healthcare workforce in rural communities.
The focus of this post is to shed light on factors that healthcare leaders can influence. Leaders can advocate for pay and compensation; however, when budgets are tight, fixating solely on salary and compensation can lead to failure points and continued costly turnover. If you are a rural healthcare leader, here are some creative ways to attract and retain healthcare workers.
By combining these strategies, rural hospitals can create an environment where nurses feel valued and part of a close-knit and supportive work family. Thank you for reading and participating in the regained stabilization of our precious healthcare workers. Please reach out for a copy of my dissertation or with your thoughts and ideas.