Nearly 30% of RNs are at Risk of Leaving Their Organization, New Analysis Reveals

By Carol Davis

Nearly 30% of RNs are at risk of leaving their organization and millennial nurses are most likely to quit, according to a new national analysis by Press Ganey.

A recently conducted national Flight Risk Analytics assessment analyzing responses from 100,000 healthcare employees revealed a generational divide, leading factors shaping turnover risk, and low levels of engagement among front-line caregivers.

The study also revealed several trends, including:

  • New hires who don’t have a connection with their team, managers, or organization are at the greatest risk for turnover. About one in five nurses who fits this profile leaves their job.
  • Employee engagement ratings dropped at twice the rate among RNs compared with non-RNs in the past 12 months.
  • Shift schedules play a significant role in employee engagement: Nurses who work night and weekend shifts reported lower levels of engagement than their day-shift counterparts.

“Disconnection isn’t the diagnosis—it’s a symptom of a larger caregiver crisis that transcends turnover and retention,” Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, Press Ganey chief nursing officer, said in a press release. “The consequences of a critical shortage of early career nurses could reshape our healthcare infrastructure for generations to follow,”

The analysis shows promising results for spotting turnover risk and understanding how to address it. Among the strongest predictors of turnover risk is low participation in employee engagement surveys.

Additionally, low scores on questions that measure whether respondents feel a sense of belonging is a key indicator of disengagement among nurses. Improving a sense of belonging is a strong and effective retention strategy for health systems.

Redirecting these trends requires health systems to be proactive in understanding how their workforce feels about the organization’s ability to support them throughout the pandemic and beyond, according to Press Ganey.

The analysis recommends:

  • Measure often the pulse of your team. Knowing how your team members feel is instrumental in deciding on the appropriate next steps.
  • Once results have been collected through ongoing pulse surveys and an action plan has been established to address concerns, monitor any movement in the data. This allows challenges and opportunities to be noted and improved upon continuously.
  • Good, clear communication is key. Know which communication channels your team members are engaged with, and use those channels to share information as transparently and often as you can. Acknowledge what information was gathered through pulse surveys and document the actions taken to respond to employee feedback.
  • Ensure that each team member feels appreciated for the lifesaving care they help provide daily.

“Nurses who are on the fence about leaving the profession altogether are watching to see if leaders are really listening and willing to tackle tough issues,” Doucette said, “or just going through the motions.”

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