December 6, 2022

Study: Decisions by retirement-age nurses to continue working

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

This study by nurse researchers at Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut, finds that passion for patient care dominates decisions by retirement-age nurses to continue working.

The analysis included data from 49 nurses in eight focus groups. The nurses ranged in age from 54 to 75 years and were working or recently retired.

Results show that decision making for retirement was predominantly influenced by the:

  • love of nursing
  • joy of caring for patients
  • personal identity of being a nurse.

These reasons to remain working trumped the stress of rising patient acuity, competing workplace demands, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The findings suggest that organizations can retain nurses near retirement if they embrace scheduling, work roles, and employment expectations with greater flexibility, the researchers say.

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