Missouri Hospital Association report shows need for more nurses

The report shows a slight decline in the high vacancy and turnover rates experienced in 2021 but were still higher than historical rates.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 9:36 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A new report from the Missouri Hospital Association says Missouri needs more nurses.

MHA says the vacancy rate for 2022 is 17.4 percent and in the Ozarks, we’re a little under the state average.

The researchers say an estimated 97,000 Registered Nurses left the workforce in the past two years due to stress, burnout, and retirement.

KY3 spoke to both CoxHealth and Mercy about the way they’re approaching the problem.

”There are some structural problems in terms of workforce right across the country, and southwest Missouri is not immune to that,” said Mercy Springfield Vice President Mark Moir. ”Nursing is obviously always going to be an area where we’re going to be looking for a better inflow of potential candidates.”

”We are really choosing more of a proactive approach to address these issues in the short and long term,” said Katelyn Lenhart of Cox Health. “We know that we still have to be proactive in investing in our workforce, supporting our current employees, and then also developing ways that we can retain and attract new talent to healthcare.”

Lenhart says its vacancy rates for nursing are lower than the MHA 2023 workforce report.

The researchers say the state could lose another 600,000 nurses in the next five years.

Despite the numbers, both Mercy and CoxHealth are confident they can keep staff.

”We will constantly focus on different ways to fill our open positions because we want to get ahead of this,” said Lenhart.

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