Nursing home nurses enjoying a hot salary market: survey

Pay rates for registered nurses working in skilled nursing facilities rallied in 2016, with employers awarding raises at levels not seen in years. It's a reflection of the competitive market for RNs, believes Rosanne Zabka, director of reports for Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service, which annually conducts the largest annual nursing home survey of its kind.

“With RNs, we saw a lot of increases, up to 10%,” Zabka told McKnight's on Monday. “We saw a lot of 4%, 5% and 6%. It's been years since we've seen a four.

“They leveled themselves out when it got to the average (2.86%). But a lot of employers were striving to be competitive, ahead of their competition. They are increasing salaries to attract, or keep, RNs.”

The Nursing Home Salary & Benefits Report 2016-2017 was released Friday by HCS, which produces the annual publication in cooperation with LeadingAge and support from the American Health Care Association. It includes data from more than 155,300 employees of 2,076 participating nursing homes

The average pay hikes for RNs in 2014 and 2015 were just 1.27% and 2.27%, well below this year's mark of 2.86%.

The jump comes amid rising turnover rates among RNs, according to HCS. RN turnover was pegged at 27.55% in 2014; 29.0% in 2015; and 31.17% in 2016.

Average hourly pay for RN staff nurses rose from $26.43 to $27.19 among facilities that took part in both the 2015 and 2016 surveys. The national average for staff RNs among all facilities taking part was $27.62 (gauged at the 50th percentile).

Other averages at the 50th percentile for all facilities nationwide were: Charge Staff Nurses (RN level) — $26.97; Practical Nurses (LPN) — $21.42; Charge Staff Nurses (LPN) — $20.70; and Certified Nurse Aides — $12.33.