The Financial and Care Impacts of Healthcare Turnover

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

The impact of healthcare employee turnover is significant across the continuum of healthcare in the U.S. Every time an employee leaves, there is a negative effect on care quality, patient experience, and organizational operations.

The HealthStream article, 7 Common Reasons People Leave Healthcare Jobs and What to Do about It, addresses the impacts of health staff departures throughout an organizaiton. Here is an excerpt of the article:

Declining Retention is Extraordinarily Expensive

The annual cost associated with healthcare turnover is significant. Monster.com shares that, “In healthcare, declining retention is extraordinarily expensive. The cost of turnover at one major medical center represented a loss of more than 5 percent of the total annual operating budget, according to an article in Health Care Management Review.” According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “Nationwide, the cost of replacing a registered nurse ranges from about $22,000 to more than $64,000” (RWJF, 2009). Extrapolate that to other clinicians and non-clinical staff, and to care environments across the continuum, and the numbers are enormous.

For turnover’s effect on outcomes, an essential focus for healthcare, more research needs to be done to get a complete picture. Currently, “Most of the empirical research examining the relationship between turnover and quality has been conducted in the nursing home setting. High turnover rates of certified nursing assistants have been associated with poorer quality care for nursing home residents” (ASPE, 2015). Leaders should look closely at all turnover to improve organizational performance—especially voluntary turnover. Increases in voluntary turnover will continue to affect the ability of organizations to sustain profits and grow revenues. The cost of turnover, voluntary or involuntary, is estimated at one-third of a worker’s salary (Work Institute, 2018).


ASPE, “Abstract - Predictors of Job Satisfaction and Intent to Leave among Home Health Workers: An Analysis of the National Home Health Aide Survey. Overview of Job Satisfaction and Turnover Research,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 8/14/2015. Retrieved at https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/predictors-job-satisfaction-and-intent-leave-among-home-health-workers-analysis-national-home-health-aide-survey/over­view-job-satisfaction-and-turnover-research.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Excerpt from “Evaluation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Wisdom at Work Initiative,” 2009, Retrieved at https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2009/07/business-case-cost-of-nurse-turnover.html.

Work Institute, “2018 Retention Report: Truth & Trends in Turnover,” Retrieved at http://info.workinstitute.com/retentionreport2018.

Download the full article here.