Nurse Retention: Are 30% of Your Nurses Leaving Within Three Years?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 6th, 2015

Nursing is a tough job…working long hours, sometimes going to work when it is still dark outside and leaving when it’s dark again. High patient volumes and insufficient staffing takes its toll. Eight in 10 nurses said in an American Nurses Association safety survey that they frequently experience muscle and joint pain. Some admit to compassion fatigue, a form of burnout not uncommon to caregivers.

These factors contribute to the ongoing shortage in available nursing staff. In fact, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported that nearly one in five nurses drop out of the profession in their first year on the job, and one in three leave within two years.

nurse turnoverNurse satisfaction and dropout is a crucial problem. According to the Journal of Nursing Administration, it costs roughly $82,000 to replace a nurse. That cost covers vacancy, orientation and training, the lowered productivity of a newly hired nurse, and advertising and recruiting.

With nurse turnover averaging 14 percent, the typical turnover expense for a 300-bed hospital approaches $4.4 million annually! Not only is turnover detrimental to a hospital’s bottom line, it’s a huge loss of intellectual capital and it dampens employee morale.

To learn how to decrease nurse burnout, nurse turnover, and improve nurse retention, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

2 responses to “Nurse Retention: Are 30% of Your Nurses Leaving Within Three Years?”

  1. Mona Chilcote,MSN,RN says:

    For years,the profession has attempted to place a “Band-Aid” on the “hemorrhaging” of nurses from the profession.The focus has been on recruiting more students for nursing school and increasing the numbers of nursing educators to address higher enrollment of students to halt the high nursing turn-over & vacancy rates.
    We need to examine basically two issues:
    1. Are the schools attracting dedicated students to the profession of caring and serving? Do the students have a realistic goal?
    2.Are the health centers providing the mentorship/guidance/support for these nurses?
    Are nurses matched appropriately for the skill set and job?
    The “revolving door” exits for nurses need to be studied closely as the goal should be nurse retention. If something is broken,it needs to be repaired not covered up. Healthcare Administration,HR and Nursing Management can play a significant role in reducing turn-over.
    It is important to identify the root-cause and repair it. We owe this to the nursing profession and our patients.

  2. Jan Shields says:

    It isn’t so much that we don’t like our nursing job. It is that we don’t get vested in pensions,and have a financial reason to stay in some hospitals. Or it could be another hospital pays better, or another hospital treats their nurses better. California is better with that. I stayed at my last job which paid less due to the fact that they treated their nurses so well even if they did pay less.

    It is always the politics that plays into it. The great nurse that gets promoted into a horrible manager. Two different skill sets. Why not hire managers who are great leaders and look for that skill set instead of promoting a great nurse who won’t be a good manager? You lose a great nurse and have a horrible manager all at once otherwise. That happened to my first job after i had left due this lousy manager. The hospital kept losing staff in that department when she took over and no one above her seems to catch on to that. You can check the numbers…she is still there making nurses’s lives hell. But she was a good nurse….

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