|Ocala, FL -
December 7, 2011|
Published: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 5:26 p.m.
Dan O'Connor, Munroe vice president of human resources, told hospital officials during an executive committee meeting this week that Munroe's registered nurse turnover rate was 18.8 percent, up from about 15 percent in 2009 and higher than the national average, which ranges between 8.5 and 14 percent.
Munroe's rate also is higher than the average for Florida at 12.3 percent, according to the Florida Hospital Association. The average nursing turnover rate for southeastern states was about 11 percent, according to Nursing Solutions Inc., a nursing recruiting company.
Hospital president and CEO Steve Purves and other committee members asked O'Connor to further investigate the cause of the exodus among registered nurses from the 421-bed facility. The hospital has about 500 full-time registered nurses.
O'Connor said there appeared to be no one underlying cause.
Nursing Solutions Inc. cited in its survey that the top reasons for nurses leaving jobs were personal, such as taking care of children or parents and marriage issues, followed by career advancement and relocating.
O'Connor told committee members one of the contributing possibilities for the high turnover could be Marion County's high unemployment. He said some nurses may be leaving so unemployed spouses can get jobs out of the area.
"I'd be very concerned about that," said Kulbir Ghumman, a Hospital District trustee and committee member, of the turnover rate.
Purves agreed, saying the rate was "costly and going in the wrong direction."
Munroe Chief Financial Officer Rich Mutarelli warned that the cost of training new nurses to familiarize them with the hospital's new equipment and technology was expensive. He also asked about the average age of the hospital's nurses and how their retirement would affect the facility's nursing pool.
In Florida, the average registered nurse is more than two years older than the national median age of 48.6 years, and only one quarter of registered nurses are younger than 40, according to the Florida Hospital Association. Hospitals that took the FHA survey reported it took between 30 days and 60 days to fill vacancies. Munroe's nursing vacancy rate is 6 percent, typical of Florida hospitals vacancy rate of 6.5 percent in 2011, according to the association.
Purves said the high turnover rate for registered nurses also could be due to a change in how temporary, or "traveling" nurses, were calculated.
Ocala Regional Medical Center and West Marion Community Hospital fared better in retaining registered nurses.
JoAnn Ankoviak, Ocala Regional's chief nursing officer, said her hospital's turnover rate was kept at 13 percent and that they use a variety of programs to encourage nurses to stay. Ocala Regional and West Marion have nearly 400 nurses.
She also said there was no one leading factor in why nurses leave the two facilities.