Quality matters when optimizing nursing labor costs

April 10, 2014 by Vickie Anenberg

Quality matters when optimizing nursing labor costsFilling a permanent Registered Nurse (RN) position takes a healthcare facility over seven work weeks (37 days), on average. When a hire is made, an average of 28 days is then spent on orientation and training.

Taken together, that’s a 65-day loss in productivity each time a healthcare facility must replace a full-time RN.

Those numbers are from a study of nursing labor costs in the U.S., conducted by the KPMG Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Institute a couple of years ago. More than 100 senior executives of U.S. hospitals and healthcare facilities were surveyed, including CEOs, chief administrators, COOs, CFOs and directors of human resources. They represented facilities of various sizes throughout the country.

That impact on productivity was one of the key findings of the survey, and was especially significant given the average annual attrition rate for RNs at those facilities was 14 percent. As healthcare facilities work to optimize their nursing labor costs, the importance of travel nurses, as a resource to help cannot be underestimated.

In fact, two-thirds of those who responded said they hire travel nurses to work at their facilities. And the ongoing turnover and drain on labor productivity that occurs when an RN must be replaced is an important consideration.

However, for all of its importance, the stable productivity they provide was not the No. 1 attribute executives said they look for when hiring a travel nurse. Quality was rated as the most important factor by 63 percent of respondents, with cost ranked next most important (45 percent).

Those findings led the study’s authors to the following conclusion: “The importance of quality in the selection of travel and other temporary nurses suggests hospitals and medical facilities should make an informed decision in the selection of their service providers.”

For more information about how Cross Country Staffing can help you manage nursing labor costs at your facility, contact us today.