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Staff Turnover in Healthcare Is on the Rise — Here’s What You Can Do About It

Written by , Healthcare Workforce Trends
August 30, 2023

Many industries have seen an increase in turnover in the last few years, healthcare included. 

Labor gaps and staff turnover have emerged as critical challenges for hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. These issues not only disrupt workflow and patient care but also present significant financial burdens.

How can healthcare facilities identify the areas that are particularly susceptible to turnover and enact change to slow turnover rates?

In this article, we will delve into the key factors contributing to staff turnover in healthcare and share tips and steps your facility can take to: 

  • Increase retention
  • Mitigate staff turnover; and
  • Foster a more sustainable work environment 

 

healthcare staff turnover rate

 

Table of Contents

 

Healthcare Staff Turnover Rates in 2023

According to the 2023 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report, the hospital turnover rate decreased by 3.2% and currently stands at 22.7% nationally, with the median and mode recorded at 23.0% and 21.4%. 

Given varying bed size, hospital turnover ranged from 7.3% to 40.5%. In the past 5 years, the average hospital turned over 105% of its workforce. 

Read on to learn what factors are contributing to the increase of staff turnover in healthcare.

 

Why Are Healthcare Staff Turnover Rates on The Rise?

The root of the current climate of high staff turnover in healthcare is multi-faceted. Many factors contribute to dissatisfaction among healthcare professionals that ultimately leads to resignation, including:

  • Heavy workloads
  • Long hours
  • Emotional stress
  • Burnout; and
  • Limited career advancement opportunities 

The consequences of staff turnover are far-reaching and extend beyond the individual level, affecting the quality of care provided to patients, overall team morale, and ultimately, the financial stability of the organizations.

 

healthcare staff turnover rate

 

Healthcare Workers Are Experiencing Burnout

A recent study found that nearly 75% of surveyed healthcare executives reported feeling burned out during the last six months of 2022, compared to 60% of respondents who reported burnout symptoms in 2018.

Understanding the underlying causes of the rising staff turnover in healthcare and implementing actionable steps can help healthcare organizations battle low staff counts. 

The demanding nature of healthcare work, coupled with long hours, emotional stress, and increased patient loads creates an environment ripe for burnout. 

Prioritizing the well-being of healthcare workers not only improves their job satisfaction and mental health but also enhances the quality of patient care provided and helps aid retention. 

 

Work Schedules Are Demanding

One of the primary causes of burnout is the heavy workload imposed on healthcare workers coupled with the need for round-the-clock care. 

With nursing shifts ranging from nights, weekends, evenings, and other hours that make socializing difficult or unrealistic, nurses often have a difficult time creating a work-life balance.

 

Staff Shortages Increase Stress

Stress is a significant contributor to staff turnover in healthcare. Many nurses and healthcare workers are stretched thin, working extended shifts and experiencing a constant sense of urgency. 

The nature of the position and the emotional toll of witnessing patient suffering, dealing with life-or-death situations, and making difficult decisions further contributes to burnout. 

Moreover, staffing shortages have increased the work for those staff members who remain and impact the quality of care that patients receive.

Additionally, a lack of flexibility over their work environment coupled with administrative burdens can further contribute to stress levels.

 

A Large Segment of Healthcare Workers Are Retiring

Voluntary terminations accounted for 94.7% of all hospital separations, according to the 2023 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report. To further understand turnover, respondents were asked to identify the top five reasons why employees resigned.

Personal reasons, career advancement, and relocation were at the top of the list, followed by the list of top ten reasons why employees left, including: 

  • Salary
  • Retirement
  • Education
  • Scheduling
  • Workload/staffing ratios; and 
  • Commute

In 2020, the median age of RNs was 52 years with more than one-fifth indicating intent to retire from nursing over the next 5 years, according to the 2020 National Council of State Boards of Nursing and National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers national survey of the US nursing workforce. 

 

healthcare staff turnover 2023

 

How Does Staff Turnover in Healthcare Affect Your Organization?

According to a recent survey, the average cost of turnover for a bedside RN is $52,350, a 13.5% increase, resulting in the average hospital losing between $6.6-$10.5 million.

Staff turnover in healthcare can have significant effects on organizations, with the biggest impact being increased costs, including recruitment and training of new employees.

Others may also include:

  • Quality of care
  • Decreased staff morale
  • Impact on patient satisfaction
  • Organizational reputation
  • Training and loss of knowledge
  • Medical costs 
  • Lost wages

Not only can MSPs save healthcare providers money, but they can also save tons of time and help mitigate any blocks in workflow that can occur when hospital administrators have to manage everything themselves. 

By making an initial investment with a managed service provider, hospitals and clinics can experience extreme cost savings and increased revenue.

To further mitigate the negative effects of staff turnover, your organization might focus on:

  • Improving employee engagement
  • Providing competitive compensation and benefits
  • Implementing effective onboarding and training programs; and 
  • Addressing any underlying issues contributing to turnover, like excessive workload or limited career advancement opportunities

 

4 Tips on How To Deal With Staff Turnover in Healthcare

By combining efforts to retain existing staff and strategically hiring additional staff, healthcare organizations can create a more stable workforce and mitigate staff turnover rates.

 

#1: Utilize Contingent Staff

Staff nurse burnout, especially in a post-COVID pandemic world, is a prevalent problem many nurses today face. 

Approximately 50 percent of all respondents reported burnout, with the highest levels among nurses (56 percent) and other clinical staff (54.1 percent) reporting burnout, according to a study led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital investigators.

Contingent staff can come in and help alleviate some of the burdens on staff nurses and to supplement units that may be experiencing high patient ratios or increased workload. By ensuring reasonable staffing levels, facilities can help prevent burnout among permanent nursing staff.

Healthcare facilities that utilize a managed service provider (MSP) along with a vendor management system (VMS) have access to multiple vendors with a single line of communication. 

An MSP can help reduce turnover rates by increasing workforce efficiency and providing a reliable and fully-managed source of temp workers. Reducing the workload for your full-time staff allows them to focus more on their job roles and capabilities — without experiencing burnout.

With an MSP like Trusted Managed Services, healthcare facilities gain access to staffing partners throughout the industry and the full recruitment resources of Trusted Nurse Staffing. Request a demo today.

 

healthcare staff turnover rate

 

#2: Improve Staff Safety

Improving staff safety in healthcare is crucial for ensuring the well-being of healthcare professionals and maintaining a safe work environment. Supporting existing staff and fostering a secure workplace might contribute to an increase in staff retention. 

Improving staff safety could include:

  • Developing and implementing comprehensive safety policies and procedures that address various aspects of staff safety, including:
    • Infection control
    • Hazardous material handling
    • Violence prevention
    • Ergonomics
  • Establishing protocols to prevent and respond to workplace violence incidents, including training to recognize potential warning signs, de-escalation techniques, and reporting procedures. 
  • Implementing strict infection control protocols to minimize the risk of healthcare-associated infections. 
  • Evaluating and optimizing workstations, equipment, and patient-handling techniques.
  • Regularly assessing and maintaining appropriate staffing levels to prevent excessive workload and fatigue, which can contribute to compromised staff safety.
  • Encouraging a culture of reporting incidents, near misses, and hazards without fear of reprisal — this might include establishing reporting mechanisms and using the data to identify trends and implement corrective actions. 
  • Providing resources and supporting staff members who experience traumatic events or workplace injuries, including counseling services or debriefing sessions.
  • Regularly evaluating the effectiveness of safety measures and policies through incident analysis, staff feedback, and safety audits. 

 

healthcare staff turnover rates

 

#3: Provide More Staff Support

Ready to help promote your staff’s well-being, job satisfaction, and overall effectiveness? 

Prioritizing additional support for your staff can go a long way toward minimizing staff turnover in healthcare settings.

This might look like offering:

  • Emotional and mental health support, including access to confidential counseling services or Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to help healthcare workers cope with stress and burnout.
  • Peer support programs where healthcare workers can connect with fellow coworkers and help foster a sense of community throughout your facility.
  • Ongoing training and professional development opportunities to enhance healthcare workers’ knowledge, skills, and career advancement prospects. 
  • Physical health and wellness initiatives, including gym memberships, wellness challenges, healthy food options, and/or encouraging regular breaks and rest periods. 

 

#4: Provide Adequate Staff Training

Did you know 86% of professionals say they would change jobs if a new company offered them more opportunities for professional development?

Employees who feel their employers are invested in their career growth and professional advancement tend to stay with the company. 

If your facility is looking to up retention rates, consider embracing personal and professional development as part of your company culture. 

 

Alleviate Healthcare Staff Burden With Trusted Managed Services

Staffing shortages are a significant challenge for healthcare organizations. But with an MSP like Trusted Managed Services on your side, leaders and nursing directors are able to focus on providing staff members with the support they need to best care for their patients.

By streamlining the onboarding process, your managed service provider takes over and automates onboarding details like …

  • Employee data and paperwork
  • Distribution lists; and
  • Policies

… become automated, which takes all the weight off of your stall and helps decrease workload (and staff turnover).

Trusted Managed Services offers a comprehensive solution to your facility’s staffing shortages and challenges.

Move from barely managing to staff your facility to creating one where your staff thrives with the help of an MSP.

 

how to increase hospital efficiency

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