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Tips to retain clinical talent through high-performance teams


In the complicated healthcare system in the U.S., one thing remains clear: retaining the clinical talent needed to deliver high-quality patient care is essential.

In the complicated healthcare system in the U.S., one thing remains clear: retaining the clinical talent needed to deliver high-quality patient care is essential. To be successful in the industry, care providers must demonstrate the behaviors of a high-performing team. Therein lies a challenge, however. The landscape’s uncertainties can put healthcare organizations at risk of losing talent. 

High-performing teams are critical to transforming an organization into a reliable one. Ernst & Young’s strategic collaboration with Johns Hopkins University on high reliability aims to reduce preventable harm and save lives. Through this collaboration, we know that advancing clinical performance requires innovative ways of teaming that will call for clinicians to learn new behaviors and competencies for high-performing results.

High-performing clinical environments can be created through shared accountability, a clearly articulated purpose and strong leadership. The table below describes some of the elements of high-performing teams, the challenges encountered and the strategies that result in greater job satisfaction and talent retention.


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Creating an environment that enables these conditions can help organizations avoid three common trouble spots in effective teaming and clinical talent management. Let’s look at each trouble spot individually:


Aligned purpose: It is critical that clinical teams are aligned on outcomes. However, when communication is not streamlined within a healthcare system, clinical talent cannot work to its greatest potential to provide the best possible care. Misaligned clinical work streams can lead to disruption in patient care coordination, poor discharge planning and delays in care from handoff miscommunication, or to medical errors that could result in harm to the patient.

Patient readmissions are often a result of inadequate patient care management caused by breakdowns in communication that lead to clinical inefficiencies and financial waste.

Workflow environments should be set up to support seamless communication among team members and across care settings. This can be accomplished by communicating clear direction, defining roles and responsibilities and implementing effective planning strategies to engage team members (along with the patient and his or her family) toward common goals for the patient. 

Next: Burnout


Burnout: Workplace satisfaction has a direct effect on talent retention and the quality of patient care. Unfortunately, many healthcare workers face long hours, high demands and daily stressful situations that may lead to burnout. By implementing high-performance teams, healthcare organizations can create working environments that bring satisfaction to employees, leading to increased retention. 

Emphasizing team collaboration and structuring processes to resolve conflicts, increase workflow efficiency and decrease variation in care consistency can lead to better alignment in patient care coordination and, in turn, sustainable employee satisfaction.


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Structured accreditation programs, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition Program, have demonstrated positive results in quality and patient outcomes. These programs provide a pathway for healthcare organizations to follow to create healthy work environments that score high on satisfaction surveys and attract and retain workers.


Technology: Advances in technology drive innovation in healthcare delivery but do not replace the clinical talent that produces high-quality care. Disruptions in care may exist if technologies are not integrated in a way that makes sense to the clinician or supporting team or are not used as intended. For this reason, healthcare organizations should: 

  • ensure that appropriate technologies are selected to support changes in care delivery models and workflows

  • train team members to use technology in the context of workflows and provide change management to achieve  adoption. 

This will allow a high-performing environment to quickly adapt to technological innovation. As the healthcare landscape evolves, attracting, retaining and motivating clinical talent will grow increasingly important. Proactive healthcare leaders will see high-performing teams as a key part of the solution and will coordinate across their organizations to design and launch these teams. 


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The result can be a successful, growing and highly reliable organization that retains talent by encouraging communication, preparing for innovative technologies and reducing employee burnout. Care delivery teams that perform together across episodes of care and across the healthcare continuum will be key to delivering high-quality, value-driven care. 

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