December 1st, 2021 – Amidst high demand and a competitive market, nurses nationwide are earning raises worth thousands of dollars a year from hospitals. The need for nurses has risen so high that many have been able to leave the hospital environment and make a better living in temporary Emergency staffing roles. The average annual salary for registered nurses, not including bonus pay such as overtime, grew about 4% in the first nine months of the year to $81,376, according to healthcare consultants Premier Inc., which analyzed salaries of about 60,000 nurses for The Wall Street Journal. That’s up from the 3.3% increase in average annual nurse wages in all of 2020 and 2.6% growth the year before the pandemic, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. HCA Healthcare Inc. increased nurse pay this year to handle heavy Covid-19 pandemic caseloads and keep pace with rivals that are also trying to fill vacancies and hold on to existing staff, according to The Wall Street Journal. While raises varied by market, an HCA spokesperson declined to say by what amounts. The changes have increased both turnover and job openings at hospitals, leading to chronic staffing shortages as Covid-19 cases keep coming and many patients who had postponed care for other conditions seek treatment. Nurse turnover rates have increased to about 22% this year, compared with an annual rate of around 18% in 2019, the last year before the pandemic, says Premier.