If you feel like your facility is struggling to retain staff, you’re not alone. According to the American Health Care Association, 84% of nursing homes are facing moderate to high levels of staffing shortages1. Alternately, only 3% of nursing homes stated that they were fully staffed.
Why, in 2023, is retaining nursing staff such a challenge?
Below are the top five reasons your nursing staff is quitting.
Staffing shortages. Do staffing shortages lead to more staffing shortages? Yes, it’s true; staffing shortages are a vicious cycle. They are the number one reason that nurses consider leaving the profession, according to a 2022 survey conducted by the American Nurses Foundation (ANF)². In fact, in late 2021, the American Nurses Association called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to “declare the current and unsustainable nurse staffing shortage facing our country a national crisis.”3 Staffing shortages impact the nurses who remain on staff as they suffer the burden of a higher caseload or the expectation to work overtime. Unfortunately, staffing shortages seem to be increasing; nurse turnover rates were at about 22% in 2021, compared to 18% in 2019.4
Burnout. Burnout is the result of chronic workplace stress, and it’s typically characterized by feelings of exhaustion, negativity, and the inability to maintain efficiency at work. In recent years, burnout has been discussed extensively in the media due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even without the extra strain of the pandemic, nursing is an inherently demanding profession that puts its members at higher risk for depression and anxiety4. If nurses have trouble achieving work-life balance, they’re more likely to experience burnout and a subsequent desire to leave the profession altogether.
Lack of job satisfaction. Many factors impact job satisfaction, such as regular performance pay increases, the ability to work at the top of their license and positive manager relationships. For RNs and LPN/LVNs, regular performance pay increases are the most important element of job satisfaction, according to the 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report. For APRNs, the ability to practice at the top of their license took first place. Manager interactions were either second or third place for all nurses surveyed. It’s important to note that important elements of job satisfaction differed for minority nurses. For those nurses, tuition reimbursement, opportunities for overtime and advancement opportunities were all important elements of job satisfaction.4
Compensation. In response to industry challenges that have emerged since COVID-19, some employers have increased salaries in an attempt to retain staff or attract more candidates. In fact, 25% of nurses report that their salaries have increased since the pandemic, but 9% report that their salaries have decreased. In the current environment, employees could be lured to competitors by higher rates or sign-on bonuses. In fact, 22% of nurses in long-term care are actively looking to change employers.4 The percentage of nurses considering changing employers increased from 11% in 2020 to 17% in 2021, and the percentage of nurses who are not actively looking but are open to new opportunities increased from 38% in 2020 to 47% in the current ANF survey.²
Retirement. According to the 2022 ANF survey, of nurses who are already nearing retirement at age 55 and older, 43% said they intend to leave or are considering leaving their position.² Considering that the average age for an RN is 52, this foreshadows a significant impact on the industry over the next 15 years. It has been estimated that one million RNs will retire from the workforce by 2030.5
If you’re struggling to maintain adequate staffing levels at your facility, help is available. Staffing firms offer comprehensive solutions for companies needing per diem nurses, travel contracts and permanent staff. Per diem nurses work on an as-needed basis, whether it’s to fill a shift last minute, cover staff vacations or cover for a sick employee. Travel contracts are typically for longer, full-time coverage needs, such as one- to three-month assignments. When trying to fill a permanent position, using a staffing firm can help you find a high-quality pool of applicants the credentials you’re looking for.
Gale Healthcare Solutions provides all these options. As the first in the industry to offer “on-demand,” platform-based staffing, Gale now employs more than 60,000 clinicians and supports healthcare communities across 40 states. Our national footprint means that our nurses can meet a wide variety of needs – from per diem to permanent positions. Find out why so many healthcare providers choose Gale. Contact us here for more information about how we can provide an efficient, affordable solution to your staffing challenges.