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Hospitals More Inclined to Offer $$$ Incentives to Fill RN Openings

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   May 17, 2022

67% of hospital leaders surveyed are offering sign-in bonuses and 57% have improved their pay packages.

Improved pay packages and sign-on bonuses are being used more aggressively now than in the past four years to fill RN openings, a new annual report says.

Some 67% of chief nursing officers and other hospital senior leaders surveyed are offering sign-on bonuses and 57% said they have improved their pay packages. Those percentages are significantly higher than in 2019, before COVID-19, when just 28% said improved pay packages were part of their recruitment and retention strategy.

Such strategy is crucial when more than one-third (34%) of nurses surveyed said they likely will quit their job by the end of 2022, primarily because of burnout and a high-stress working environment.

Staffing agency Avant Healthcare Professionals surveyed more than 100 senior leaders from various health systems across the United States in February and March 2022 to collect data on the most recent trends in nurse staffing.

Though pay packages are being offered more than in past years, most hospitals and health systems are counting on new graduates (87%) or looking to staffing agencies to fill their RN openings (69%), the report says.

Hospital executives also are looking at external advertising and internal recruitment to help fill positions.

Slightly more than one-third (33%) of respondents anticipate having more than 25 RN openings this year, while 25% claim they will have more than 100 RN openings. Last year, only 11% of respondents said they would have 100 openings or more.

The RN specialty most in demand is the medical-surgical RN (78%), followed by emergency room nurses (69%), intensive care (53%), and operating room (43%), the report says.

COVID-19's impact

Clinical burnout and mental health issues already were issues in the nursing profession, but they increased dramatically in number and severity as COVID-19 exacted its catastrophic toll.

The survey indicated that 73% of respondents stated that the pandemic would have a long-term impact with the loss of bedside nurses to other careers.

The long-term impact response is a sharp 40% increase from Avant's 2021 study when 33% of survey respondents said COVID-19 would have a long-term effect on the well-being of their staff.

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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