By Lori Chovanak King, DNP, RN, APRN-BC

Approachability is important – sometimes a matter of life or death.

In healthcare, research supports approachable leaders likely being the key to improving nurse retention rates and achieving optimal patient outcomes. How, you might ask?

Leaders who are approachable have happier staff. The research supports these happier staff have higher intention to remain in their jobs, are more satisfied with their leaders performance, and are more inclined to go above and beyond at work.

Over the past several years a significant body of research substantiates that appropriately managing healthcare staffing - including turnover rates - is critical to systems delivery of high-quality patient care.

One study demonstrated the correlation of low nursing turnover to decreased patient falls, the cohesion of the healthcare team positively impacting patient satisfaction, and connected low turnover to increased group learning - ultimately leading to a decrease in medication errors.

Studies also show the link between work environment and nurse retention. A 2014 study found that most nurses cite workplace climate over wage level when resigning a position.

It is up to the healthcare managers and directors to create and maintain a healthy organizational climate. It’s good news that you can recruit and retain quality staff without dramatically increasing labor costs, but it is requires vigilant effort.

If you have it, it’s easy to throw money at staffing issues. It takes intentional focus to create healthy and respectful work environments and continue the effort to maintain them.

In short, a commitment to approachable leadership leads to improved retention; improved retention leads to better patient outcomes, improved patient satisfaction, and better quality of care provided.