Massachusetts Hospitals Report Jump in RN Hiring

Massachusetts hospitals hired registered nurses in record numbers last year, outpacing growth in patient volume. A recent Mass. Hospital Association (MHA) analysis shows that hospitals increased the ranks of RNs by nearly 6{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}, the largest single-year increase in more than a decade. The past year caps a decade of growth, which saw the total number of RN full-time employee equivalents (FTEs) increase by 28.4{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}. Nurse salaries are also on the rise, increasing 32{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} since 2002.

“What you are seeing is a clear trend here in Massachusetts of hospitals bolstering the ranks of RN staff caring for our patients,” said Karen Nelson, MHA’s senior vice president for Clinical Affairs. “Even though patient volume may not be growing as quickly as it once was, hospitals continue to recognize the important role RNs play.”

The MHA analysis shows that, according to state figures, more than 1,700 RN FTEs were added in FY ’06, a jump of 5.9{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.

Since 1996, acute-care hospitals have grown the ranks of RNs by 28.4{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}. During this same time period, inpatient days increased by just 5.2{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}. Outpatient visits during the same period grew by 5.8{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}.

As quickly as RN hiring has grown, salary growth has been more dramatic. In FY02, the average statewide weighted average for hourly RN pay stood at $28.65. In FY ’06, the rate was $37.75, which translates into an average annual salary of $78,520. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RN salaries in Massachusetts rank second in the nation, lagging behind only California.