Silver Tsunami


A recent report from the Missouri Hospital Association shows trends in turnover and vacancy rates among certain health care professions, specifically with challenges regarding nurse staffing.

MHA surveyed 151 of its hospital members, 135 from Missouri, and found 27 with an employee vacancy of more than five percent of the 36 occupations surveyed. Nurse practitioners landed in that category as well as information technology project managers, radiology technology assistants, certified surgical technicians and sonographers/ultrasound technologists.

The study wasn’t able to pinpoint a specific factor related to vacancy rates and turnover but age came up over and over again.  The need for skilled health professionals, primarily nurses, will increase as the Baby Boomer generation ages and need more health attention.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, seniors are projected to be about a quarter of the state’s population by 2030. Among Missouri adults, about three-quarters are dealing with a chronic disease and more than half have at least two. Better health care access, the report states, is causing more people to have insurance and live longer.

There two factors contributing to the need.  First, the population is again and as baby boomers age they will consume more health care resources.  Second, the workforce is aging and health care professionals are exiting the workforce as quickly as they’re entering.

The large portion of nurses in the state are about the same age as their Baby Boomer patients. The report states about 44 percent of advanced practice registered nurses are ages 50 or older, and half plan to retire in 10 years. During the recession, older nurses put off retiring or switching from full-time to part-time. As the economy bounces back, they are starting to retire, the report states.

Missouri’s nurse staff employee turnover rate is at 15.7 percent. Of the 10 regions in the report, central Missouri had the highest nurse staff employee turnover rate at 20.4 percent.  The region also ranked second in the report for nurse staff employee vacancy at 11.7 percent. The St. Louis region was the highest in that category at 12.2 percent. As a state, the percentage came in at 9.9 percent.

GVMH is better than the average and our vacancy and turnover rate is less than central Missouri.  There are a few reasons why.  One is GVMH is committed to being a great place to work.  We have competitive pay and benefits but more importantly we listen to staff.  We ask staff to be engaged and we ask staff to tell us how we can be an even better place to work, just last week we completed an employee survey to get input from staff on how to better meet their needs.  We also work hard to create an environment that is conducive to growth and mutual respect.  We ask all staff to commit to our Behaviors of Excellence and we make it a point to ask staff for input.  Each month, during the rounding process, leaders connect with staff and ask staff to provide input on process improvement.  Most importantly we share goals and objectives.  Each year the organization sets goals, departments then create goals that will support the accomplishment of organizational objectives and staff create individual goals to help their departments be successful.

There’s a reason GVMH was named one of the 150 Great Places to Work in Health Care and the main reason is you!


Source: Missouri Hospital Association’s 2015 Workforce Report

About Craig Thompson

I am a young professional with two great sons, and I work in the healthcare setting. I am employed in hospital administration and serve as Chief Executive Officer at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton, Missouri. At GVMH we care for our families, friends and neighbors. We're committed to providing the safest, friendliest and most compassionate care to all we serve.
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