Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

The Mather Institute Awards Clara Berridge a 2020 Bronze Award

Posted: 5/17/2020 (CSDE Awards and CSDE Research)

The Mather Institute awarded a 2020 bronze award to CSDE Affiliate Clara Berridge, Julie Lima, Margot Schwartz, Christine Bishop and Susan Miller (Brown University) for their 2020 publication in JAMDA, “Leadership, Staff Empowerment, and the Retention of Nursing Assistants: Findings From a Survey of U.S. Nursing Homes.”  The study team has donated the award money to the Pike Market Senior Center. A description of the study will be featured in a brief report written for a senior living audience, highlighting key findings and implications for operations. Click below to see a summary of the team’s findings.

Summary of findings: Nursing assistant (NA) retention is a critical, universal issue. Attempts to empower NAs and to transition away from a top-down management approach represent disruptions to the status quo. It is important to know whether implementing these strategies is meaningful and contribute to NA stability or whether they are counterproductive given the possibility of resistance to change. This study used a nationally representative nursing home survey to thoroughly examine whether practices focused on leadership and empowering NAs are associated with retention. Data are from the nationally representative Nursing Home Culture Change 2016-2017 Survey of nursing home administrators merged with facility-level indicators. Our analysis includes 1,513 nursing homes. The 23 items capture 2-way communication, staff involvement in decision making, staff education and training, respect for workers, positive leadership-staff relationships, and coaching, as well as NA involvement and participation in care planning, independence, and practices that communicate that their care role is valued. We found that the leadership and staff empowerment level was the factor in our model most significantly associated with high NA retention. Nursing homes with a high level of leadership and staff empowerment practices had a 6-fold increase in the likelihood of being in the highest relative to lowest retention category. Our study findings strongly support the notion that interventions focusing on improving leadership and staff empowerment practices may help retain NA staff.

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