A nurse with money in their pocket
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Thanks to the conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing home nurses averaged double-digit pay increases this year, as virtually all titles notched healthy increases, according to the industry’s largest annual salary survey. 

The national average hourly rate for certified nurse aides soared by 11.15%, rising from $15.23 in 2021 to $16.87 in 2022. Registered nurses, meanwhile, were right behind with an hourly rate that jumped 11.1% (to $34.58). Licensed practical nurses saw a 9.4% increase, rising to $26.46 per hour. 

The findings were included in the 45th annual HCS Nursing Home Salary & Benefits Report, which was released Thursday by Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Services (HCS). The annual reference book is created annually in cooperation with LeadingAge and the American Health Care Association. 

Experts credited the large salary jumps for CNAs, RNs and LPNs to staffing shortages caused by the pandemic.

“Pay increases for caregivers were long overdue. This year with all of the positions receiving increases, turnover rates are starting to slow,” said Rosanne Zabka, director of reports for Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service. “But for how much longer can long-term care facilities continue these increases?” 

Nursing home leaders saw smaller pay jumps then caregivers between 2021 and 2022. National average salaries for nursing directors increased 5.4% to $108,799; while nursing home administrator salaries rose an average of 4.9%, up to $124,297. 

Turnover for CNAs, LPNs, and RNs also increased. The rate for CNAs was 54.8% in 2022, compared to 51.4% a year earlier. LPNs and RNs had lower turnover rates than CNAs, but experienced greater increases. LPN turnover jumped to 41.3% from 37.7%, while RN turnover was 46.2%, up from 41.1%. 

The national turnover rate for all nursing home employees was an eye-popping 48.5%, up significantly from 39% in 2021. That’s a more than 25% net rise. 

“For a number of years, we’ve seen increases alternate between management one year and caregivers the next. Last year, top executives received small increases of 1% to 3%, while direct care workers got the bulk of the increases, which helped slow the dramatic turnover rates of the direct care workers,” Zabka told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Thursday. 

“However, the small increases for the top execs resulted in their turnover going from 23.55% in 2021 to 32.03% in 2022. So, of course to stem that turnover, top executive salaries increased 4% to 6%,” she added. 

The full report includes data from 1,283 nursing homes, covering more than 119,000 employees. It is available for purchase on the HCS website.