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DALLAS (July 30, 2009) – We are the middle of a deep recession. The staggering job losses – and the rising unemployment rate – seem to be in direct conflict with this factoid: hospitals need RNs. This issue may have fallen from public view, but healthcare organizations know that this is a real problem – today and for the future.

Cheryl Clark, one of HealthLeaders Media’s excellent writers, reports today negative trends that may surprise those who are not involved with patient care on a day-to-day basis.

“By next year, more than half of the nation’s registered nurses will be over age 50 and many will be considering retirement.

“Surveys reveal that 116,000 registered nurse positions are now unfilled in U.S hospitals; another 100,000 job vacancies exist in nursing homes. Although the recession has caused some nurses to delay retirement, the aging demographic means an increasing demand for nurses looms, and may outpace the supply of nursing school graduates.”

Ms. Clark reports that it cost more than $36,000 to replace a departing RN. Other industry staffing specialists say that cost can be more than $50,000 when you include the cost of recruitment. Highly specialized nurses in areas where the shortage is more profound, the replacement costs may approach $75,000. These so-called “soft” costs can, in reality significantly impact an organization’s bottom line.
Hospitals have dealt with this challenge for years. However, many are now investing in creative retention strategies to address the looming crisis that, in fact, has been looming for so long, no one can remember when we weren’t concerned.

What are your thoughts? What is your organization doing to reduce the rate of turnover AND improving the professional satisfaction for your RNs?

John G. Self is Chairman and Senior Client Advisor of JohnMarch Partners. He is a Co-Founder of the Firm. A former investigative reporter and crime writer with more than 30-years of healthcare leadership experience in public relations, national marketing, business development and as Chief Executive Officer of hospitals and consulting firms, Mr. Self is highly regarded for his keen insight into operations, business culture and for his ability to consistently select the right leaders.

You can contact Mr. Self at 214.220.1234 or Or you can follow him on Twitter at Self_JohnMarch.

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