Hospitals struggle to afford enough nurses

Hospitals are the largest employers of registered nurses, with nurses accounting for 61 percent of hospital labor.

Nevada ranks in one of the top states for paying registered nurses with a mean wage of $84,900. Clark County employs 15,620 registered nurses with a mean wage of $87,200.

Nurses’ time is not a billable labor cost. Todd Sklamberg, CEO of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center and Sunrise Children’s Hospital, stated 75 percent of the hospital’s patients are covered by either Medicaid or Medicare. Medicaid reimburses the hospital 57 percent of the cost to perform services, and Medicare covers slightly less than the cost of services. These low Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates cause hospitals to struggle. Sklamberg said Sunrise is the largest volume of patients served in the area, with 690 beds, one-third, in intensive care and pediatrics.

“It poses a significant challenge,” Sklamberg said. “Over the last eight years, five of the eight hospitals collectively across the state show a negative margin.”

Low reimbursement levels, combined with the cost to bring a new nurse on staff, presents significant financial challenges to hospitals.

“It costs us $25,000 to train a nurse from day one until they have an assignment of their own,” Sklamberg said. “It’s a pretty significant investment.”

Nurses comprise one-third of Sunrise Hospital 3,500 care team employees. Currently there are 120 nursing positions open. Last year, Sklamberg said the hospital employed 250 nurses. The hospital recruits from the area’s nursing programs as well as nationally and internationally, seeking higher level of experienced nurses.

NURSING SCHOOLS

UNLV, University of Nevada

Undergraduate

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Graduate

• Master of Science in Nursing; Family Nurse Practitioner

• Master of Science in Nursing; Nurse Educator

• Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing; Nursing Education

• Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing; Post Doctor of Nursing Practice

• Doctor of Philosophy Interdisciplinary Health Sciences

• Doctor of Nursing Practice

Roseman University of Health Sciences

College of Nursing

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing

• Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science

• Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

• Veteran to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

• Plans to add a Master of Science in Nursing; Family Nurse Practitioner and accelerated RN to MSN program in next two years.

WGU-Western Governors University

Undergraduate

• Bachelor of Science in Nursing

• Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science

• Bachelor of Science Health Information Management

• Bachelor of Science of Business; health care management

Graduate

• Master Degree in Nursing (RN to MSN or BSN to MSN options)

• Master Degree in Nursing; Leadership and Management (RN to MSN or BSN to MSN program options)

• Master Degree in Nursing; Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN or BSN to MSN program options)

• Master Degree of Health Leadership

• MBA health care management

Chamberlain University

College of Nursing

Undergraduate

• Bachelor of Science of Nursing — three years/nine semesters

• Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science

Graduate

• Master Degree in Nursing — five tracks of Master of Science in Nursing, including Family Nurse Practitioner, Informatics, Education, Executive and health care policy

• Doctor of Nursing Practice

• Master in Public Health

College of Southern Nevada

• Associate of Applied Science Degrees in Nursing

• Associate of Applied Science Degrees in Nursing; Licensed Practical Nurse to RN