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Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN

Flight Risk Analysis of 100,000 U.S.-based healthcare workers underscores the importance of addressing the nurse staffing crisis

A new analysis by Press Ganey, the national leader in healthcare consumer and workforce engagement, reveals key drivers of voluntary nurse turnover through a recently conducted national Flight Risk Analytics assessment. Responses from 100,000 healthcare employees across the U.S. reveal a generational divide, leading factors shaping turnover risk and low levels of engagement among front-line caregivers. The study also points to clear actions health systems can take to shift these trends.

  • Survey results showed that, nationally, nearly 30% of registered nurses (RNs) are at risk of leaving their organization.
  • Nurses younger than 35 who have been at their current employer for less than a year are most likely to leave voluntarily. Specifically, new hires who don't have a connection with their team, managers or organization are at the greatest risk for turnover--approximately one in five nurses who fits this profile leaves their job.
  • Employee engagement ratings dropped at twice the rate among RNs compared with non-RNs in the past 12 months.
  • Shift schedules also play a significant role in employee engagement: Nurses who work night and weekend shifts reported lower levels of engagement than their day-shift counterparts.

"Disconnection isn't the diagnosis--it's a symptom of a larger caregiver crisis that transcends turnover and retention. The consequences of a critical shortage of early career nurses could reshape our healthcare infrastructure for generations to follow," said Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, chief nursing officer, Press Ganey. "We are committed to helping health systems retain top talent during what very well may be the last straw for nurses at their breaking point after 18 months of pandemic operating conditions."

Despite unveiling worrisome realities of a disengaged workforce, the analysis shows promising results for spotting turnover risk and understanding how to address it. One of the strongest predictors of turnover risk is low participation in employee engagement surveys. Additionally, low scores on questions that measure if respondents feel a sense of belonging is a key indicator of disengagement among nurses, and improving that sense of belonging is a valuable retention strategy for health systems.

"Nurses who are on the fence about leaving the profession altogether are watching to see if leaders are really listening and willing to tackle tough issues--or just going through the motions," said Doucette.

To offset these trends and drive meaningful, sustainable change, health systems must be proactive in understanding how their workforce feels about the organization's ability to support them throughout the pandemic and beyond.

It's critical to measure the pulse of your team and measure it often. Knowing how your team members feel, regarding specifics you can or cannot control, is instrumental in deciding on the appropriate next steps.

Once results have been collected through ongoing pulse surveys and an action plan has been established to address concerns, monitor any movement in the data so that challenges and opportunities can be noted and improved upon continuously.

Communication is key and should happen frequently and efficiently. It's important to know which communication channels your team members are engaged with and share information as transparently and often as you can. In ongoing communication, acknowledge what information was gathered through pulse surveys and document the actions taken to respond to employee feedback.

Through it all, ensure that each team member feels appreciated for the lifesaving care they help provide daily.

Only when all voices are accounted for, communication is transparent and workers feel appreciated in their roles will the healthcare industry be able to combat looming staffing shortages.

To learn more about how Press Ganey's Employee Engagement Surveys, Pulse Surveys and Flight Risk Analytics can help, visit


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