Nurse turnover can cost hospitals between $1.7 million and $5.4 million a year, but as a priority among executives, nurse staffing lags behind issues such as reimbursement, quality and uncompensated care, a healthcare consulting giant said in a report on the industrys workforce.
Nurse and physician staffing ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, on a list of key issues, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of roughly 240 hospital C-suite executives and human resources vice presidents. Executives surveyedincluding chief executive, chief nursing, chief operating, chief medical and chief financial officersreported that temporary nurses, on average, filled 5% of hospitals nursing hours. By 2020, healthcare will need anywhere from 400,000 nurses to 1 million nurses to meet demand, the report said, citing various projections. Federal estimates show a shortage of 24,300 doctors by 2020.
The telephone and e-mail survey was conducted in February by Porter Research. Some 4,000 hospitals were contacted initially, and 237 hospitals responded. -- by Melanie Evans