Missouri hospitals see record turnover in nurses

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

Turnover rates among many hospital-based healthcare professions, have increased, while vacancies have decreased for several positions, according to the Missouri Hospital Association's 2016 workforce survey.

The survey provides a snapshot of the 36 occupations that make up a hospital's workforce and five clinic and physician practice occupations. This year's survey included 136 hospitals in Missouri, 10 in Kansas and five in Illinois.

Of the 36 hospital occupations surveyed, 11 indicated an employee turnover of more than 15 percent, the survey found. Professions with the highest employee turnover are housekeeper (29.6 percent), behavioral health nurse (RN) (29.2 percent), unlicensed assistive personnel (25.9 percent), licensed practice nurse (I.V. certified) (21.8 percent), certified occupational therapy assistant (20.8 percent) and staff nurse (RN) (17.9 percent).

As far as vacancy rates, 24 of the 36 hospital occupations surveyed indicated an employee vacancy of more than 5 percent. Positions with the highest vacancy are behavioral health nurses (12 percent), medical laboratory technicians (10.5 percent), physician assistants (10.1 percent), staff nurses (9.2 percent), nurse practitioners (8.4 percent) and non-certified surgical technicians (8.4 percent).

This year's turnover for staff nurses represents the highest level since the survey began in 2001. Last year, the turnover rate for staff nurses was 15.7 percent. However, vacancies slightly decreased for staff nurses, from 9.9 percent last year to 9.2 percent this year.

The MHA states that the vacancy and turnover rates for staff nurses "are indicative of the problem in the current workforce." Factors impacting the healthcare workforce in Missouri include sicker hospital patients, expanded access to healthcare, new positions created by the Affordable Care Act, an aging patient population, retirement of baby boomers from healthcare professions and lack of Medicaid expansion, among others.


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