In most hospitals, overtime is often the rule and not the exception. Industry-wide, more than 50% of full-time nurses work an additional 7 hours per week on averagei. For part-time nurses, 15% work an average of 5.4 additional hours per weekii. While overtime is pervasive, how much is too much? And, are healthcare executives considering the impact overtime can have on factors beyond labor costs? As the industry shifts, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand all of the consequences of overtime, many of which have been largely overlooked until now.
One such consequence is turnover. Studies have shown powerful indicators linking overtime and turnover among nurses. Specifically, nurses who work more than 40 hours in a week are prone to increased turnover and job dissatisfaction, and nurses who work shifts longer than 13 hours are 2.5 times more likely to quit within a yeariii. No one likes to lose a good employee. Not only is it disruptive, but also the cost to fill a vacancy left by a departed employee can be expensive.
In healthcare, particularly with respect to nurses, turnover is extremely costly. On average it can cost $82,000 just to replace a single nurseiv. If you consider that industry-wide nurse turnover averages around 14%, the average expense to manage these vacancies in a 300-bed hospital can equal as much as $4.4 million in a single yearvvi.
Keeping costs under control is a major initiative for any healthcare organization seeking long-term sustainability. When patient care quality and safety are of the greatest priority, factors such as overtime and nurse burnout/turnover must be brought under control. Proactive efforts to understand and manage overtime provide important opportunities to reduce turnover and yield positive financial returns.
For a closer look at the cascading effect of overtime, check out the white paper, “Unveiling Overtime’s Total Costs: How OT May Be Harming Your Business and Your Patients.”
i Bae, Sung Heui. “Nursing Overtime: Why, How Much and Under What Conditions?” Nursing Economics, 30, no 2 (March/April 2012): 60-71.
ii Health Resources and Services Administration. “The Registered Nurse Population. September 2010.” Accessed July 28, 2014. http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurveys/rnsurveyfinal.pdf
iii Stimpfel, Amy, et al. The Longer The Shifts For Hospital Nurses, The Higher The Levels Of Burnout And Patient Dissatisfaction. Health Affairs, 31, no.11 (2012):2501-2509.watch The Fate of the Furious 2017 film now
iv Jones, CB. Revisiting Nurse Turnover Costs: Adjusting for Inflation. Journal of Nursing Administration, 38, no 1 (2008): 11-18.
v KPMG. “KPMG’s 2011 U.S. Hospital Nursing Labor Costs Study”. Accessed July 2, 2014. http://natho.org/pdfs/KPMG_2011_Nursing_LaborCostStudy.pdf
vi Sage Growth Partners AnalysisBack to All Posts