Monday, 28 July 2014

Nurse turnover is costly and inconvenient

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Christine Duffield
An Australian team led by Christine Duffield from the University of Technology, Sydney has published a study titled 'A comparative review of nurse turnover rates and costs across countries' in JAN.

Nurse turnover is expensive for health services in terms of both a loss of investment and the costs involved in hiring and investing new staff. It can also represent staff dissatisfaction with their workplace. High turnover and the subsequent vacancies and the need to integrate new staff can lead to further dissatisfaction.

The study by Duffield et al. (2014) is a review of the evidence on turnover from Canada, New Zealand, USA and Australia. The study recognises the variability in reporting turnover across the world and, from my own work in the area, I know that there are different definitions of turnover. Therefore, the study included only studies using a method called the Nursing Turnover Cost Calculation Methodology. Four papers were reviewed and they showed that Australia had the lowest turnover rates whereas New Zealand had the highest. What contributed towards costs differed across countries. In their own words the authors concluded that there is a: 'need for a minimum dataset to define and measure turnover across departments, hospitals, states and countries. In addition, a greater focus on nurse retention is suggested as findings indicate that a significant proportion of turnover costs are attributed to temporary replacement.'


Duffield C, Roche M, Homer C, Buchan J, Dimitrelis S (2014) A comparative review of nurse turnover rates and costs across countries Journal of Advanced Nursing doi: 10.1111/jan.12483

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