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January 12, 2023

The High Cost of Nursing Turnover

Kristine Shepherd, MSN, RN   
Nurse Consultant, Omnicell Point of Care Solutions

$7.1 million annually. That’s what an average US hospital loses due to nursing turnover, according to the 2022 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report.

While nursing turnover has historically trended below the hospital average across all staff, in 2021 it actually increased 6.4 percent.

The domino effect of fewer nurses on the floor means their already limited time is stretched even thinner. And if a hospital is still relying on outdated processes for medication retrieval, controlled substance management, and compliance, conditions for burnout are exacerbated.

For many nurses, direct patient care is at the heart of meaningful work. Catherine Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Dean and Styles Professor of Nursing at UCSF School of Nursing, as well as the Associate Vice-Chancellor for Nursing Affairs at the University of California San Francisco. She has led several programs for second-career students, where dissatisfied professionals from investment banking, law, and other areas of healthcare realized they wanted to pursue more meaningful work, seeking it in nursing. According to Dr. Gilliss, this trend is now under threat as nearly a third of newly hired nurses are quitting in their first year.

Improving job satisfaction – and therefore staff retention – has impressive financial benefits. The NSI report revealed that dropping just one point from the annual turnover rate can save a hospital $262,300 a year.

53 percent of nurses surveyed by Hospital IQ said they want streamlined processes that ensure visibility into patient needs and communication. Optimizing existing technology, such as automated dispensing cabinets, with features like EHR interoperability, for example, enhances clinical efficiency with remote queueing of medications so nurses can reduce time spent at the cabinet by 57%. And importantly, a comprehensive technology strategy acts as an extension of pharmacy and nursing, providing seamless medication management.

Hospitals like Torrance Memorial Medical Center have embraced technology solutions to give their nurses more time for patient care. Learn how they not only improved efficiency but also reduced medication discrepancies with interoperability between their EHR and the Omnicell XT Automated Dispensing System:

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Assumptions made in the analysis do not reflect the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.