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Report: Total Nurse Cost is $98,000

June 09 2011

The total cost of a full-time registered nurse at a hospital averages $45 per hour, or $98,000 a year — significantly higher than the average base wage of $26 per hour, or $56,000 per year, according to a study by KPMG that was released Wednesday by the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO).

“The study offers an unbiased view of the comprehensive costs associated with full-time, direct care nurses and the financial impact of utilizing direct care staff to manage a hospital’s fluctuating demand for clinicians,” said Mark Stagen, NATHO president. “The study seems to confirm what many of our members have said all along: that the cost of a permanent RN isn’t that different than the cost of a travel nurse.”

Total cost for nurses, in addition to base wages, includes: payroll taxes; overtime pay; holiday pay; pension contributions; training costs; recruiting costs; and costs for nonproductive hours such as training, education and personal Internet use.

The study also looked at hospitals’ use of temporary nurses: Among the findings:
• "Seasonal needs" were cited as a key reason to hire temporary nurses according to 45 percent of respondents. It was followed by “local nursing shortage” (41 percent) and facility growth (28 percent).
• Quality of temporary nurses was ranked as the most important consideration regarding the use of travel nurses by 63 percent of respondents.
• Seventy-one percent of respondents said they use between one and five different staffing providers for their temporary nurses.

The study included responses from 120 hospital executives.

Click here to access a copy of the study.

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