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New Zealand Research On Nursing Turnover Costs

13 August 2002

New Zealand Research On Nursing Turnover Costs

The costs of nursing turnover in New Zealand, including costs to the quality of care, will be examined in a national study commissioned by the Ministry of Health.

The Health Research Council will carry out the research, which is part of an international study on the direct and indirect costs of nursing turnover, said Ministry spokesperson Frances Hughes.

Ms Hughes, Chief Advisor Nursing, said high nursing turnover is a concern in New Zealand and overseas.

"We want to find out what is happening in New Zealand and why, and give District Health Boards and other organisations an idea of the huge potential for cost savings in the turnover process."

Initial international benchmarking of the overall nursing turnover costs, not just advertising and recruitment, is about $22,000 (US) or $48,000 (NZ) per nurse.

"International research also shows that high turnover rates can not only destabilise work groups, but can also have an adverse effect on staff morale and may ultimately have a negative effect on patient care - so the costs of high turnover are obviously not just financial," said Ms Hughes.

"This research will provide valuable data on turnover costs in New Zealand and hopefully reinforce the need to retain our nurses."

New Zealand is part of an international consortium that includes Canada, USA, England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Once the research is completed it will be fed into the international arena.

The Ministry is currently working with the Health Research Council to develop the final specifications for this research.


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