Report from Pennsylvania details hospital challenges, including vacancy rates and agency costs

Health Staffing Report: March 10, 2022

Impression

Hospital workforce challenges — from rising vacancy rates to rising agency worker costs — are put into perspective in a new report from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, an association industrial. In a conclusion, he said hourly rates for nursing support staff from recruiting firms increased by 444% from 2019 to 2021.

The report is based on a survey of Pennsylvania hospitals from Nov. 10 to Dec. 21 and it found that hospitals are facing increased vacancy and turnover rates as well as difficulty hiring staff. The vacancy turnover rate for registered nurses was 27% in 2021, compared to 21% in 2019.

At the same time, the vacancy rate for clinical nurse specialists increased to 32% in 2021 from 15% in 2019.

Hospitals also continue to have difficulty hiring staff despite the incentives offered:

  • 66% identified offering recruitment and retention bonuses and incentives as their primary recruitment and retention strategy.
  • 90% said finding qualified candidates was their biggest barrier to hiring needed staff.
  • Emergency departments and medical-surgical units have been identified as the main clinical staffing needs.

He also looked at the use of placement agencies and the rates paid:

  • Hourly rates paid to staffing agencies for registered nurses providing direct patient care in medical/surgical and other units increased 108% from $59 per hour to $123 per hour in 2021, while the average number of shifts per day by temporary staff increased to 11 from five.
  • Hourly rates paid to staffing agencies for registered nurses providing direct patient care on specialty units increased 82% from $66 per hour to $120 per hour, while the average number of shifts work per day worked by temporary staff increased from four to nine.
  • Hourly rates paid to employment agencies for nursing support staff have increased by 444%, from $9 to $49 per hour, while the average number of shifts per day for temporary nursing support staff is went from three to five.

A summary of the survey is online.


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