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New Jersey is hoping to rebuild its workforce of nurses — including those in assisted living communities — due to high turnover, according to a new report. 

The 2024 edition of the annual Nursing Data and Analysis report by the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing (NJCCN) pointed out that the state beats the nationwide average in turnover rate for registered nurses. Nationally, the rate is 22.5% and New Jersey’s is 26%. The turnover rate for licensed practical nurses in the state is 46% and nurse practitioners is 24%. At the same time, nurses are planning on retiring; that is 6% of RNs, 4% of LPNs and 3% of nurse practitioners will call it quits in the next two years.  

The nursing education system also needs a boost, as 10% of full-time faculty positions aren’t filled. For LPN programs, the percentage of vacant faculty spots is at 20%. 

“The data from this 2024 report makes it very clear that our population is aging — which means an increase in chronic conditions — and the availability of nurses isn’t keeping up,” Edna Cadmus, PhD, RN, the executive director of NJCCN. “We need both major investments and innovative solutions to address this situation, so we can create a more robust healthcare system that produces positive health outcomes for all residents.”

The report also highlighted the need to focus on retaining existing nurses working in the state. This should include supporting the well-being of nurses by making resilience an organizational responsibility; supporting the transition to practice for new graduates; promoting nursing career opportunities; ensuring adequate staffing; forming new models for delivering care virtually; and sustaining healthy work settings. 

One point that officials say is vital to rebuild the state nursing workforce is to remove advanced practice nurse restrictions. Officials also want to see the team-based approach to care re-evaluated, technology for telehealth solutions utilized, methods to engage retired nurses back into the workforce, and outdated healthcare policies revisited.

The news comes as New York approved a measure to encourage nursing homes to reduce their dependence on nurses from agencies.