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North Carolina: Nursing turnover impacts nursing homes

A recent report released by the North Carolina Center for Nursing claims the state faces costly problems related to turnover rates among RNs, LPNs and nurse aides in long-term care.


The Daily Record of Dunn reports that the 2004 survey of nurse employers, "Turnover Rates and Related Spending," found the highest turnover rates of any nurses to be in LTC facilities.


These rates are expected to increase as the baby boom generation ages. The number of approximately 1 million North Carolinian residents age 65 or older currently in the state is expected to be more than 2.1 million by 2030, according to the state's Data Center.


According to the Record, the government estimates the state's nursing shortage to reach 18,000 RNs by 2020, as a result of a large proportion of the workforce reaching retirement age, as needs for services are expected to increase.


The report, conducted by the North Carolina Center for Nursing, also shows that approximately 45 percent of RNs, 38 percent of LPNs and 58 percent of nursing assistants staffed in long-term care within the state resigned their positions in 2004, the Record reports. Meanwhile, hospitals had turnover rates of 15 percent (RNs), 26 percent (LPNs) and 30 percent (CNAs). Home health and hospice agencies reported turnover rates of 29 percent (RNs), 18 percent (LPNs) and 28 percent (CNAs), while public health departments saw the lowest average turnover rates at 15 percent, 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively.


The study also shows that while hospitals and nursing homes spent about 2.5 percent of their nursing budgets on temporary staff, nursing homes spent an average of 13 percent on staff overtime, compared to about 5 percent in hospitals, according to the Record.


An additional series of reports from the center reveals that 65 percent of nursing homes had one or more adverse consequences due to an inadequate supply of nurses during the past year. These included high patient-to-staff ratios, increased use of overtime, increased turnover and a higher rate of "nurse burnout."

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