Strategies to Retain Nurses Across Tenures | Edcor

Strategies to Retain Nurses Across Tenures

Hospitals have faced an average RN workforce turnover of 102.6% in the past five years. The turnover shot up to 27.1% during the pandemic, which has now normalized to a median of 18.7% nationally. Turnover rates vary anywhere from 5.6% to 38.8% depending on the size of the hospital according to the 2024 NSI National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report. The report also highlights how costly the turnover can get. Replacing a bedside RN, on average, costs $56,300 now – translating to hospitals losing between $3.9 – $5.8 million due to RN turnover.

Each 1% change in turnover costs or saves a hospital about $262,500 annually.

It’s also noteworthy that almost a quarter (23.8%) of newly hired RNs leave within the first year making the first-year turnover rate as high as 34.0%. Unsurprisingly,  most hospitals focus more on retaining new hires (69.9%) than on more tenured RNs (48.9%). Voluntary resignations make up 95.4% of all hospital separations. The main reasons nurses leave include career advancement, retirement, salary, education, scheduling, working conditions, commute, relocation, and workload or staffing ratios.

Making a Difference for Nurses

Healthcare being the niche for Edcor, Nurses Week garners a lot of attention and press internally for our focused brainstorming sessions on strategies to make life easier for our healthcare partners. Generally, a lot of data is churned and insights developed. Going with the theme for this Nurses Week “Make a Difference” let’s think about how healthcare providers can make a difference for nurses at all career stages.

Employer-provided Education Benefits:

Education benefits like Tuition Assistance, Student Loan Repayment Assistance, and Scholarships offset the cost of education and help nurses upskill, stay engaged, and secure a better financial future, thereby enhancing their happiness quotient. These are no longer nice-to-haves but must-haves to retain the highly mobile workforce. Education benefits up to $5,250 are tax-free for both employees and employers, making them even more attractive. An optimal combination of two or more of these benefits can yield an ideal retention strategy for Nurses of all tenures. The goal is to be holistic. Let’s briefly discuss each benefit.

Tuition Assistance:

Tuition Assistance is popular because of its high return on investment (ROI). This is even higher for the Healthcare sector considering the data presented above.  The benefit lowers hiring, training, and re-training costs by upskilling internal talent and offering them upward mobility also building up a leadership pipeline. Upskilling leads to motivated employees who focus on career growth within the organization, boosting productivity. The benefit works best for early-tenure nurses as well as fresh recruits or nursing students.

Student Loan Repayment Assistance:

Student Loan Repayment Assistance is becoming more and more important with the increasing burden of student loan debt, especially for healthcare degrees, and the focus on employee financial wellness. The benefit helps employees pay their loans faster thereby saving on interest dollars. Contributions are usually capped and tied to employment length, making it a great recruitment and retention tool. The benefit when combined with Tuition assistance works best for mid-tenure nurses.

Scholarships:

More and more employers, especially in the Healthcare industry, are now offering one-time or renewable Scholarships in conjunction with Educational benefits to employees and their dependents. Employer Scholarships help reduce the ticket price of the ever-increasing college degrees and are a great way to show that you care. The best practice around scholarships is to administer them through third-party benefit providers to alleviate bias and promote inclusiveness.  The former two may bear consequences of repayment on repartition or employment tenure expectations, but Scholarship dollars do not have to be paid back adding charm to the benefit. This also makes the dependent scholarships work well for most tenured nurses who may have acquired the highest degrees and paid up their student loans.

Edcor: Your Partner in Solving Healthcare Staffing Challenges

Healthcare organizations know that upskilling and reskilling through education benefits are key to solving talent shortages. That’s where Edcor comes in. As a leading education benefits administrator, Edcor works with many clients in the healthcare sector to tackle these challenges head-on.

These benefits are not just great for recruitment; they also help stabilize the workforce and boost engagement. Our Clients have been early adopters of the solutions that the rest of the industry is now leaning toward. Edcor saw a surge in the number of new healthcare clients in the year 2022 for Tuition Assistance, and many existing clients expanded their offerings to include Student Loan Assistance and Scholarships in their benefits portfolio.

The results speak for themselves: a 4.1% decrease in nurse attrition rates from 2022 to 2023 for the healthcare industry is indicative of a positive result of the efforts.  The results underscore the effectiveness of education benefits in stabilizing the workforce, enhancing engagement, and ultimately reducing turnover.

Edcor is here to help healthcare organizations retain their nurses and build a stronger, more engaged workforce. With our expertise in education benefits, we’re helping to make a real difference in the lives of nurses and the healthcare industry as a whole.

Think Edcor. Think Possible!

  By Spardha Khera, Edcor

Edcor is a woman-owned business and is the benchmark in education benefits administration. For 42 years, our customized service and solutions have allowed Fortune 500 Clients to use education benefits programs for employee recruiting, retention, and development. Please feel free to reach out to us!

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