October 13, 2014

Bracing for mass retirements, Mayo Clinic struggles to recruit nurses

Daily Briefing

    Mayo Clinic is struggling to recruit bedside health care workers as it prepares for a wave of retirements coming this year, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

    According to Pamela Johnson, the head of nursing at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, the system is struggling with a nursing shortage at the same time as it looks to expand nursing roles and faces a wave of retirements. Altogether, about 2,000 U.S. employees of the health system's 56,000-person staff are expected to retire before the end of 2014.

    In Rochester alone, Mayo will need more than 850 new employees in 2015. The nursing division in the region will be particularly hard hit.

    To free up staff for patient care, Mayo has asked nursing departments to delay or eliminate meetings until at least the first quarter of 2015. Mayo has also started to accept applications from nurses with two-year associate's degrees—provided they earn their bachelor's degree within five years of hire.

    Many hospitals ask nurses to complete a BSN in five years. Find out more.

    Why the wave of retirements?

    In 2009, Mayo announced plans to change its retirement benefits program effective Jan. 1, 2015.

    Starting then, the Clinic will calculate retirement investments via a "career-pay" formula instead of the "final-average-pay" formula it has been using. The changes were implemented to provide "long-term sustainability" by allowing Mayo to invest based on actual instead of estimated earnings. It also will add employer-match to the 401(k) and 403(b) plans.

    Retired health care professionals could help with physician shortage

    David Schuitema, director of Benefits and Allied Health Compensation, says that about 1% of employees retire in a given year. Changes to benefits typically push that rate up to 2%, he says (Hansel, Rochester Post Bulletin, 10/11).

    How to navigate mass retirements of frontline staff

    For decades, the health care industry has operated with an older-than-average workforce. And now many organizations find themselves facing the very real risk of mass retirements across the front line. Use our research to encourage high-value staff to delay retirement and cost-effectively capture critical institutional knowledge.

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