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How can midlife nurses be supported to deliver bedside care in the acute clinical services until retirement? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the degree of Master of Philosophy (Nursing), Massey University, Turitea, Palmerston North, New Zealand
As the baby boomer generation move inexorably towards retirement and the
requirement for health care services increases, the supply of nurses available
to provide care at the patient bedside is forecast to fall significantly short of
demand. This thesis has explored the perspectives of midlife nurses, asking
what it would take to keep them in bedside practice until retirement. These
nurses have provided insights which offer employers of valuable senior
nurses, suggestions for maximising their potential.
Through the use of questionnaires and focus groups nurses aged 45 years and
over were asked what the employer can do to ensure that they are able to
continue to work at the patient bedside until they reach the age of retirement.
The results of this research demonstrate a workforce of nurses who are
passionate and committed to their profession, but feeling disillusioned and
disempowered. The nursing environment has changed over the span of their
career and they find the increased workload, together with increasing
professional demands, too hard to cope with. They feel they have no control
over their workload, their shift patterns, or the expectations of their patients
and colleagues. They want their experience to be recognized but they do not
want to have to prove competency; they want to have a voice but they are
unwilling to pursue postgraduate education to learn how to become visible and