HAP News Releases and Statements

Hospitals’ Efforts to Grow Workforce Are Reducing Turnover

Survey highlights progress and continued need to address workforce emergency

Harrisburg, PA (January 30, 2024) – Pennsylvania hospitals’ extraordinary efforts to develop, recruit, and retain health professionals helped reduce care team turnover by 28 percent over the past year, according to a report released today by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP).

Nearly all hospitals surveyed reported raising pay, offering flexible work schedules, and partnering with educators to develop the next generation of caregivers. HAP’s November 2023 survey also examined the ways hospitals are evolving care and enhancing staff safety.

Despite significant progress over 2022, hospitals continue to face challenges hiring direct care professionals, with statewide average vacancy rates exceeding 10 percent for most positions. Hospitals reported nearly 1 in 5 nursing support positions (19 percent) was vacant in late 2023 and close to 1 in 7 positions for direct care registered nurses (14 percent). Hospitals in rural communities reported even greater challenges with average vacancy rates of 28 percent for nursing support staff and 26 percent for registered nurses.

Pennsylvania is expected to have the worst shortfall of registered nurses nationally by 2026 and the third-worst shortfalls of nursing support professionals and mental health providers, according to projections from Mercer.

“Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems are leading solutions to attract and keep the caregivers they need to serve their communities today and develop the workforce that will meet a growing need as the commonwealth ages,” said HAP President and CEO Nicole Stallings. “We need comprehensive investments and public policies to build on this momentum and strengthen Pennsylvania’s health care workforce.”

Key findings from HAP’s survey include:

  • 97 percent of hospitals increased base pay, 95 percent offered flexible work schedules, and 89 percent provided professional development and/or tuition reimbursement. Additionally, 56 percent offered sign-on, schedule-based, and/or referral bonuses and 49 percent offered retention bonuses.
  • 39 percent of hospitals provide childcare, compared to fewer than 6 percent of all employers nationwide.
  • 99 percent of hospitals are partnering with community colleges and four-year colleges/universities to develop health care professionals, and 92 percent are working with high schools. More than 50 percent have partnerships with trade/technical schools and/or community organizations.
  • Hospitals are adopting innovative models such as team-based care, virtual nursing, telemedicine, and hospital-at-home programs to better meet the needs of patients, reduce strain on staff, and empower professionals to practice at the top of their licenses. The number of licensed practical nurses providing nursing care as part of team-based care models increased 68 percent from 2020 to 2023.

Detailed survey results and HAP’s workforce policy recommendations are available online.

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Media Contact

Chris Daley, Vice President, Strategic Communications

Additional resources can be found at HAP's Media page.


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