Nurse Turnover in the U.S. Doubles Since the Pandemic & 50% Report Feelings of Burnout

As patient volumes return to pre-pandemic levels, nurse turnover has doubled and 50% report feelings of burnout, according to a new report from Vizient, Inc. and Vaya Workforce. In addition, researchers found that while contract labor utilization continues to surge, the amount of time nurses are able to spend with patients dropped earlier this year to its lowest level since before the pandemic.

Employment data spanning Q1-2019 through Q4-2022 from the Vizient Operational Data Base (ODB), which contains data from 650 healthcare facilities representing over 164,000 nurses show a 20% increase in nurse overtime hours. The data also shows overtime doubling during that same period from approximately 4% to 8% for licensed nursing staff. Taken together with a 2022 benchmark from Safe and Reliable Healthcare of more than 26,000 nurses finding 50% have feelings of burnout, the report serves as a wakeup call for healthcare leaders.

Many hospitals and health systems continue to rely on contract labor to fill vacancies. Contract labor staffing, approximately 28,000 travel nurse jobs are currently open compared to 8,700 openings on average in 2019. Vaya’s data is representative of close to 80% of the total market. Vaya also forecasts demand for travel nurses to remain at least 20% above pre-pandemic levels throughout 2023. These predictions are based on historical travel demand, economic variables, acute care hospital census, nursing core vacancies and other public and private data sets.