The average annual salary for registered nurses, excluding bonus pay such as overtime, has risen about 4 percent since Jan. 1 to $81,376, according to healthcare consultants Premier, which examined the salaries of nearly 60,000 nurses. The Wall Street Journal.
For comparison, average annual wages for nurses grew 3.3% in 2020 and 2.6% in 2019, according to Labor Department data cited by the newspaper.
Nurses’ salaries are increasing as hospitals and health systems grapple with staffing challenges during the pandemic. Many offer incentives to attract and retain workers, including providing a wage increase to workers who are in high demand.
On October 29, Lifespan announced it was raising base pay for nursing, paramedics, behavioral health professionals and residential care counselors in an effort to retain workers in those high-demand positions. Employees in high-demand positions, which include members The Providence-based health system said Teamsters Local 251 at a Rhode Island hospital will face a minimum wage of $20 an hour or receive a 3 percent pay raise, whichever is greater.
The company’s head of human resources said that Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare, one of the largest for-profit hospital operators in the United States, also increased nurses’ salaries in 2021 to remain competitive with others in the healthcare field, with increases varying by market. The Wall Street Journal. A spokesperson for HCA declined to provide the amounts to the newspaper.
Small hospitals are trying to stay competitive amid the high demand for nurses as well.
For example, Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar, Missouri, boosted nurses’ salaries by up to 5 percent in November after hospitals in Springfield, Missouri, raised wages, according to the The Wall Street Journal.
There are various reasons for the high demand for nurses.
Hospitals compete for nurses in the labor market with recruitment agencies that offer lucrative and temporary contracts. Some nurses are leaving their full-time jobs in hospitals to take up these temporary roles to travel, and some are leaving the profession entirely amid the fatigue and stress associated with the pandemic. Health care organizations have also lost some workers to vaccination mandates.
Overall, the prime minister said, nurse turnover rates rose to about 22 percent in 2021, up from an annual rate of about 18 percent in 2019, according to the The Wall Street Journal.
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