To provide the best patient care, maintain the optimum workforce, allow nurses to have a work-life balance, provide more job satisfaction, and lower work-related stress and burnout, keeping the nurse turnover rate at bay is a must.

Nurse turnover is the biggest contributing factor to the financial loss of healthcare organizations.  As per the report, the average cost of nurse turnover to an organization is $37,700-$58,400 per nurse. Turnover for the bedside costs the average hospital between $4.9M-$7.6M, and hospitals may lose some $5.2M-$8.1M annually.

Along with financial losses, it impacts patients, other staff, and the reputation of the healthcare organization also. And therefore working towards reducing nurse turnover is essential. In this blog, we are going to discuss some strategies to reduce nurse turnover, read on to know more.

Table of content

  • What is nurse turnover
  • Current nurse turnover rate
  • causes of nurse turnover
  • How to reduce nurse turnover

What Is Nurse Turnover?

The nurse turnover rate can be defined as the rate at which nurses move in and out of the hospital. This metric is measured by the number of separations in a month, divided by the average number of nurses on payroll, divided by 100.

Current Nurse Turnover Rate

Nurse turnover is a burning issue all healthcare organizations are facing today. As per the NSI nursing solutions, the nurse turnover rate reached 30% in 2021, which was considerably higher than in the year 2020.

Registered nurses in certain specialties namely, stepdown, telemetry, and emergency also had higher turnover rates than usual in the year 2021.

Over the period of the last five years, registered nurse in this specialty has seen a cumulative nurse turnover rate between 101.3% to 111.4%.

5 Causes Of Nurse Turnover

To encounter nurse turnover, recognizing and addressing the cause of nurse turnover is a must. Let’s discuss each of these factors briefly to get more clarity. 

1) Difficult Workplace Culture

Workplace culture has a direct influence on the willingness of nurses to continue working in a healthcare organization.

If the nurses have to face criticism, bullying, and disrespect towards their work, then they would definitely consider leaving the hospital.

For them, their self-respect, as well as mental well-being, are far more important than any amount of money they earn.

2) Long Working Shift

The average length of the shift for nurses is 8-12 hours. And if any of the nurses is absent on some days, then they have to do double shifts too. 

These long working hour impacts their work-life balance. They don’t get enough time to spend with their family. This makes them physically and mentally tired and may also experience burnout.

And physical and mental tiredness due to long working hours urges them to leave the hospital.

3) Limited Opportunities for Job Advancements

Like every other employee, nurses also aspire to achieve great heights in their professional life. Along with monetary gain, they also seek professional accomplishment. The fulfillment of this goal is the biggest fuel that keeps them going in their professional journey.

But when hospitals fail to provide enough opportunities for professional development, they leave the hospital.

4) Disrespect Towards Their Job

Nurses don’t hesitate to put their lives at risk of infection or disease to save the life of patients. They give their 100% while serving the nurses. And for these, they just expect little respect and recognition. And when they fail to achieve this, they lack the enthusiasm to work for the hospital and look for a change.

5) Emotional Exhaustion

Very often while taking care of patients, nurses get attached to them. They take care of them like their own family members. And that’s why nurses can’t bear the pain when patients don’t survive even after putting effort to save them.

Seeing patients and their family members suffering often takes a toll on their emotional health.

So to reduce the turnover rate you must focus on resolving these factors. Let’s discuss how to reduce the nurse turnover rate.

How To Reduce Nurse Turnover

It’s no secret that nurses are in high demand and short supply. The nursing shortage is projected to reach 1 million+ by 2023. With such a large shortage, it’s no wonder that turnover rates are so high. In fact, the average turnover rate for nurses is 17%. That means that for every 100 nurses you have on staff, 17 of them will leave each year. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate nurse turnover, there are steps you can take to reduce it.

1) Allow them flexible working hours

Flexible working hours have a great influence on the productivity of employees, and nurses are no exception. As per the report, 43% of people accepted that flexible working hours have helped them to achieve more productivity.

Allow nurses to do some work at home if possible, this will save their commuting time, and in the hospital, they will be able to focus fully on patients.

This will give them some control over their work schedule and help with work-life balance. And taking care of their comfort will urge them to work in your hospital for a long time.

2) Restrict overtime

Overtime for prolonged periods of time will impact the productivity and efficiency of nurses.  This makes them irritated in small matters, and insensitive towards patients’ sufferings, and that results in poor patient care.

That’s why restricting overtime is a must to keep up the high efficiency of nurses. A regular work schedule will help them to have a work-life balance and work for your hospital for a long time

3) Be mindful during the hiring

The method of hiring nurses also affects the nurse turnover rate. When hiring nurses, along with technical skills, consider soft skills like compassion, problem-solving, and patience which will help them to sustain in stressful conditions. 

Also look for important attributes such as teamwork, positive approach, and friendliness, this will help them to build a good workplace environment and help to reduce the nurse turnover rate.

4) Allow them to communicate openly and honestly

The major cause of the nurse turnover rate is nurse burnout. In the stressful environment of hospitals, feeling overwhelmed, burnout, and stress is quite common. But hospital management should encourage nurses to come forward and discuss their problems. 

To prevent the nurses from feeling burnout, they should allow and encourage and discuss their problems openly. Hospitals should encourage nurses to discuss their problems either with their peers or management. Hospitals should be proactive in taking action to solve the problem of nurses.

5) Allow them professional opportunities

Provide your nurses enough chances to level up their professional skills. And for that, encourage your nurses to opt for online learning modules and refresher courses, earn an important nursing certification and attend workshops and conferences. 

Allowing employees to grow professionally is important for your growth. This makes them feel that their employer’s interested in the development and success of their employees and also improves patient care. And this helps them to work longer for your organization and reduces the nurse turnover rates.

6) Appreciate longevity and excellence

One of the best ways to reduce nurse turnover is to appreciate and reward their efforts. Appreciating nurses for the efforts they put in, makes them feel valued and respected. This motivates them to work with double energy and enthusiasm. 

Also, consider regular rises and increased allowances for time off. This will resist your nurses to choose other high-paying employers and reduce the nurse turnover rate

7) Encourage them to take breaks

Preventive maintenance is better than breakdown. Like machines, humans also need some time to relax and rejuvenate.

Nurses are constantly up with some or other work. They constantly have to work in stressful situations. During their shift, they hardly get any time to relax. Even they have their food in a hurry. And this is not for a day or two, but they always have to work in such conditions. And this makes them exhausted.

And that’s why before they experience symptoms of burnout that urge them to leave their job, hospitals should allow them to take some days off. Hospitals should also encourage them to take frequent breaks during the shift, and for them, they should provide special rooms for them.


Thus, reducing the nurse turnover rate is a must to deliver the best patient care, and by following the above-mentioned strategies one can definitely reduce the nurse turnover rate. Reducing nurse turnover in 2023 obviously requires a concerted effort from management and all staff members.

Working to create an environment where nurses feel valued and appreciated, provide competitive salaries and benefits, adequately communicate with the team, offer professional development opportunities, and improve work-life balance can all help reduce nurse turnover.

By utilizing these strategies, healthcare organizations can ensure that their staff are committed to providing quality patient care while working towards a successful future.