Why are hospitals raising nurse pay?

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Registered nurses make roughly $75,380 a year in Georgia, according to an Incredible Health report. That is roughly 8% lower than the national average, and — according to Indeed — only 63% of registered nurses across the U.S. are satisfied with those salaries right now. While registered Georgia nurses have seen over a 16% pay increase over the past six years, decades-high inflation and debilitating workplace burnout have left nearly half of active nurses wanting more.

Now in the wake of high turnover rates and consequent staffing shortages, many nursing workforces across the country are seeing another wave of pay increases.

“[Wages] have been increasing drastically faster than they typically do based on inflation,” Greg Till, chief people officer of Renton, Washington-based Providence, told Becker’s Hospital Review. “It’s worse in healthcare than in most other industries.

“If we negotiate a contract for four years and there’s three percent raises every year and that feels pretty good in 2019, that certainly doesn’t feel great in 2022. You’ll see pretty significant raises [in] year one to make up for the gap that’s accumulated, and then more reasonable raises in the out years.”

According to Therese Fitzpatrick, PhD, RN, senior vice president of Kaufman Hall, inflation and staffing shortages are just two of the three major reasons for recent registered nurse pay raises. The final major reason is the continuing pandemic.

“I would suggest that all boats have risen, that COVID-19 really took a toll on the healthcare workforce, across all spectrums of the healthcare workforce,” she told Becker’s Hospital Review. “So, I think this is in response to sort of general employee engagement and getting a foot up in a market in terms of recruitment and retention.”

Healthcare systems looking to increase recruitment and retention of registered nurses pay raising pay have a tough challenge ahead. According to a survey by NSI Nursing Solutions, RN turnover rate as roughly 27% in 2022. Meanwhile, RN vacancy rates were 17.1%.

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