Optimizing Registered Nurse Retention through Strategic Staffing

Apr 18, 2024

Nurses are the backbone of patient care, providing comfort, expertise, and crucial support. But what happens when these vital caregivers keep changing? That’s the challenge hospitals face with nurse turnover – when registered nurses leave their jobs. It’s not just a problem for hospitals; it impacts patients’ quality of care and can cost hospitals a lot of money. Explore the financial impact of nurse turnover in hospitals with these insightful facts:

RN Turnover Rates:

The turnover rate for staff Registered Nurses (RNs) decreased by 4.6% in 2023, resulting in a national average of 18.4%.
RN turnover can range from 5.6% to 38.8%, depending on the bed size of the hospital.
Every region in the 2024 report recorded a decrease in RN turnover, ranging from -1% to -5.1%. The South Central region experienced the upper limit of this range, whereas the North Central region observed the lower end.

Cost of Turnover:

The average cost of turnover for a staff Registered Nurse increased by 7.5% in the past year to $56,300.
Each percent change in Registered Nurse turnover costs or saves the average hospital $262,500 annually.

Registered Nurse Vacancy Rates and Recruitment:

The Registered Nurse vacancy rate sits at 9.9% nationally.
Hospitals hired an additional 153,000 RNs in 2023, lowering the vacancy rate by 5.8%.
The average time to recruit an experienced RN ranges from 59 to 109 days, with the average for 2023 sitting at 86 days — nine days quicker than the year prior.

Turnover Rates by Department:

Over the past five years, RNs in step-down, emergency services, and telemetry were most mobile, with a cumulative turnover rate between 112% and 119%.
RNs in pediatrics, surgical services, and women’s health were less mobile, with 2023 turnover rates of 13.3%, 15.4%, and 16.3%, respectively.

Impact on Healthcare Facilities:

High turnover rates among RNs present a multifaceted challenge for hospitals, extending beyond mere staffing fluctuations. These high turnover rates, when left unaddressed, can significantly impact staffing stability, patient care quality, and overall operational efficiency within healthcare facilities. Moreover, the mounting cost associated with turnover exacerbates the financial strain on hospitals. The resources allocated towards recruitment, onboarding, and training of new RNs, underscored by the increasing costs, drain financial reserves and divert funds away from other critical needs within the healthcare system. Compounded by high vacancy rates, hospitals face prolonged understaffing issues, imposing heavier workloads on existing staff and potentially jeopardizing patient care quality. While quicker recruitment times may provide some reprieve, they could further strain already stretched resources.

Understanding turnover rates by department becomes imperative for hospitals to pinpoint areas of vulnerability. With this knowledge, hospitals can then implement targeted retention strategies to mitigate staffing challenges and uphold standards of care delivery. Ensuring the right staffing partner by your side is crucial in preempting and navigating these issues.

Discover how iQuasar’s healthcare staffing services streamline recruitment, providing access to a pool of qualified RNs. By partnering with iQuasar, hospitals can reduce turnover risks, safeguard operational efficiency, and uphold high patient care standards. Contact us today to learn how our tailored solutions can address your facility’s unique staffing challenges.


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